Review No. 628
If the movie theater is your final destination, pray to Thy Deity that this has not been reissued.
|Devon Sawa||Alex Browning|
|Ali Larter||Clear Rivers|
|Kerr Smith||Carter Horton|
|Tony Todd||William Bludworth|
|Producer||Glen Morgan — Warren Zide — Craig Perry|
|Screenplay||Mr. Morgan & Mr. Wong and Jeffrey Reddick|
|Distributor||New Line Cinema|
|Premieres||16 March 2000 (USA)|
|Wide Releases||17 March 2000 (USA)|
|Releasing Studio(s)||Hard Eight Pictures|
|Producing Studio(s)||Zide-Perry Productions|
|Language||English — French|
|Country||USA — Canada|
|Running Time||1:38 (theatrical)|
|MPAA Reason||violence and terror, and for language|
FINAL DESTINATION WAS WATCHED ON OCTOBER 27, 2013.
Final Destination is based on an unproduced X-Files episode, called “Flight 180″. If you already knew this, who’s to say whether you’ve even seen the movie. That one factoid is, as far as I’m concerned, the only interesting point in Final Destination, and you can find it anywhere free of spoilers. Let’s consider that The X-Files didn’t want to produce “Flight 180″. Now I must wonder, why would anyone waste over $20 million making a movie out of something that had the dramatic depth of an X-Files episode, refuse to enhance it from that, and cast the druggie side of Hollywood teens (those from Varsity Blues and American Pie).
I don’t know how James Wong does on The X-Files, but he’s not exactly a formidable director. I still remember laughing at a scene in his 2002 film The One, a martial arts movie where he matched an escapee lab rat with Disturbed’s “Down with the Sickness”. I might be wrong, but since I saw it five years ago, I think the rat was lip-syncing. He certainly has a style, but I’m not sure I’ll ever figure it out. I digress. Wong’s got the gimmicks going from the very start. He tries to scare us by showing us a fan moving back and forth. But it’s no ordinary fan. Its motor sounds like a creature roaring. This appears later on. Not to insult The Evil Dead, but the credits roll over the Necronomicon and the sound editing tries to make us feel schizophrenic. Except I don’t think schizophrenics hear constant shrieking. That would mean constant headaches.
But back to the movie. I’ve heard it billed as both horror and thriller. It’s not thrilling, but it does have a lot of horror gimmickery in the setup. Let’s not forget, teenagers. Teenagers who will probably die later on, but I won’t spoil anything for sure. They all get together in the Charles de Gaulle airport, and one of them notices his boarding pass is marked “final destination.” You’d think he’d say “Excuse me! Is this a misprint?” But this is a horror movie, and he has spells of paranoia. It’s God’s hidden agenda to destroy an aircraft, he decides. His aircraft, to be certain. He gets kicked off the aircraft when he has a vision filled with explosions and blood, both of which appear in excess throughout the movie, but not constantly, or else the screenplay is marked “plotless” and doesn’t earn a copyright from the Writer’s Guild of America. But we’re past all four stages of production, so let’s not worry about the first stage. When this guy gets kicked off the aircraft, they have to move the plot along. His friends come with him, which is confusing. What did they do? Why can’t they be, to employ an impromptu Marsellus Wallace quote, “kickin’ back in the Caribbean?”
That’s the first twenty minutes. Maybe less, but that’s not the point. The point thereafter is to decide whether the protagonist is insane or precognitive. Both sides flirt with the inevitability of a predictable ending, and if you read that back too carefully, or completely misread them, you might spoil it for yourself. But this review isn’t about misreading. It’s about reading. And unfortunately, it’s about Final Destination.
The events start with the explosion of a plane. How was there only one person looking, regardless of whether or not he was hallucinating? Let’s consider some statistics about the Charles de Gaulle airport. It’s the busiest airport in all of France, the second busiest airport in all of Europe, and the tenth busiest in the entire world. Funny how they think they can cheat: there’s only a small handful of people at this airport. So maybe it’s the extras who are precognitive. They know the movie’s bad, so they just go to a different airport set.
Final Destination functions just like Saw and Scream in the way it attracts its audiences and proceeds in its lucrative mindset to open a door for a few sequels that are bound to be exactly the same. There’s a difference, though; a few, actually. One, Final Destination isn’t fun. I shiver–no, I yawn at the thought of this being repeated even once. Two, the series is predictable before the sequel. And it’s not acceptably predictable, it’s genuinely, exhaustingly predictable. Three, it just isn’t inventive. It’s kind of the bizarre, eventfully random movie Uwe Boll yearns to direct, but then again, what will that ever mean.
I’ve been told that one has fun laughing at the unintentional comedy in Final Destination. Sad that even that failed a willing audience like myself. For every nine shifts between eye-rolling, yawning, and eyebrow-furrowing, there was one laugh to ease the boredom. Maybe two.
Then there were times I would wonder aloud, “What the hell is going on.” And then I’d realize, I just didn’t care anymore.