Sunday, September 13, 2009

Done to Death

I went to see The Final Destination this week, with the interest of seeing if Death had really “Saved the best till last” as the trailer triumphantly tried to jam down my throat. Instead what I saw was the flagging remains of a premise that has been done to death (puns ahoy!). I think the only things that I can safely say are different about this film compared to the other three films in the series are the change of scenery, a fresh batch of forgettable teens and the addition of the ‘The.’

So we begin as ever with the usual group of carefree and unrealistically attractive teens hanging out somewhere (this time it’s at a racing circuit). Suddenly one predicts that all were about to be brutally slaughtered in an unlikely chain reaction disaster; averts death only for each survivor to be picked off in even more ridiculous circumstances (seemingly by death himself), and in the original order of the initial premonition. Of course all this exposition in the film is totally wasted on someone who has seen all of the previous films, and is even boring. That is the key problem with this film, is that it drags on re-hashing the premise, when really it would have saved a lot of time and effort just cutting to the chase and showing each surprisingly improbable death in sequence, back-to-back, and getting it over with!

The characters on the whole are pretty forgettable. Few of them are particularly sympathetic, as they include amongst them a redneck racist, a ‘soccer mom’ of two detestable children, two girls with absolutely zero personality, a recovering alcoholic, a mechanic and a cock-jock who will have you yearning for his grizzly death even before he opens his mouth. The main character Nick (Bobby Campo) is a bit better than the others although not much, and is pretty indistinguishable character-wise to the predecessor leads, although Campo does a fairly good job on what is now a rather well trodden path.

Another problem with this movie is also that the writers seem to have no concept of suspense. Most of the deaths are foreshadowed so excessively that when it does come to the punch-line it’s not surprising or scary, it’s just a bit gory; also unlike other films in the Final Destination franchise, this wasn’t as funny. Maybe I was thinking to hard during the movie, I don’t know, but for some reason it wasn’t as funny as before. I don’t think it helped either that some of the most genuinely surprising death moments were already shown or hinted in the trailer too. All in all you may as well of had the director loudly shouting what the eventual deaths were going to be over the scene, with additional diagrams as only that would have made the deaths less obvious.

Another mention is also due to how the deaths seemed to highlight the absolute incompetency of pretty much any appearing workman, as the deaths all appear to be caused by someone being careless somewhere or faulty equipment: be it a clumsy building site worker, or an unfortunate fire juggling incident. Still incompetence and shoddy workmanship on this level in a society as litigation wary as the USA is totally unbelievable.

Maybe I’m being too hard on this film, as I wasn’t expecting anything particularly different to the past outings, and for what they were worth, the improbably deaths are fairly funny. But there I think this kind of film has just been done too many times now, and any shred of credibility to it that was there before has been long lost. Still love it or hate it The Final Destination is still mindless fun although it isn’t good for much else.

No comments: