Final Destination 5

Discussion in 'High Def' started by Chunkblower, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Chunkblower

    Chunkblower Member

    Apr 17, 2005
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    Calgary, AB

    [​IMG] Reviewer: Chunkblower
    Review Date: December 31, 2011

    Format: Blu-ray
    Released by: New Line
    Release date: December 27, 2011
    MSRP: $35.99
    Region ALL
    Progressive Scan
    Codec: AVC, 1080p
    Widescreen 2.40 | 16x9: Yes

    inline ImageI enjoyed The Final Destination more than most, it seems, but by the time it was over even I had the feeling that franchise had run its course. That’s never been a barrier to continuation, however, and as long as people are willing to plunk down their hard earned cash for more of the same, sequels will remain a sure thing. It’s kind of a cynical attitude, yes, and I didn’t approach Final Destination 5 expecting much. A funny thing happened as the film’s first act drew to a close. I found myself genuinely surprised and delighted. Its largely back to basics approach really works and our familiarity with the formula allows the filmmakers the opportunity to pull the rug from under you with a couple of clever, well-timed surprised. What should have been a dull, tired cash grab winds up being one of the best entries in the long-running series. It seems that death still has a lot of life left in him.

    The Story

    inline ImageBy now there’s little point in describing the story, such as it is, of a Final Destination movie. The template is as set in stone as the Friday the 13th films were in the 80s: a group of attractive youngsters narrowly avert their death in an elaborate disaster thanks to an 11th hour premonition experienced by one of the group. Their relief is short lived, however, when they start to die under mysterious and increasingly elaborate circumstances. Enter coroner Bludworth (Tony Todd), perhaps the personification of death itself, who fills them in: death does not take kindly to being cheated and has come to settle accounts by claiming the victims denied in the order they were originally supposed to die.

    inline ImageThere’s very little deviation in the series; the uniqueness comes somewhat from the group of characters (mostly just pretty faces with an affectation or two to discern them from one another), but mainly from the opening set piece (this time, it’s a collapsing suspension bridge) and the Rube Goldberg-ian deaths that befall the cast. In this case, we have Drippy nice-guy Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto), pretty but conflicted Molly (Emma Bell),tough-guy Peter (Miles Fisher), gymnast Candace (Ellen Wroe), bitchy rocker-chick Olivia (the hot, Megan Fox-like Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), hornball comic relief Isaac (P.J. Byrne), token minority Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta) and loutish boss Dennis (David Koechner). By the end of the film you know most, if not all, of them will have met ironically sadistic ends.

    inline ImageI’ve already expressed my mild dislike when Final Destination films take themselves too seriously. To me, the series has always been at its best when it dealing out death in a flippant, cheeky manner. Final Destination 5 dials back the tongue in cheek approach of part 4 a shade but, unlike part 3, it never crosses the line into portentous posturing. In the end, it knows why we’re here and what we want and delivers it in a way that’s not mocking or arch, but cognizant that the audience wants a fun time. There are none of the tortuous ruminations on the nature of death or fate eating up the running time.

    inline ImageDirector Steven Quale is a visual effects man making his feature debut, but you’d never know it. Perhaps it’s his experience in the realm of digital effects that enables him to stage the elaborate death sequences with such effect. Final Destination 5 is one of the most assured, confident debut films you’re likely to see. The bridge collapse that opens the film is easily the most epic and ambitious inciting incident that the series has yet seen. Its grandiose scope is something few genre films even aspire to, much less attempt to say nothing of accomplishing so spectacularly. Given that these openings set the tone for what’s to follow, it sets high standards for the rest of the film to live up to. Luckily for us, the rest of the movie proves worthy of the opening. A lot of up and coming directors see genre films like this as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, and I’m certainly not going to begrudge them their ambitions. I do hope, however, that Quale slums it in genre films for a bit longer. I’d like to see what he comes up with next. Horror could use more craftsmen with the technical prowess and breezy, storytelling confidence that Steven Quale displays here.

    inline ImageFD5 can claim one of the most cringe inducing, certifiably horrible death scenes in any horror franchise: the death of Candace, the gymnast. The way the scene is set up with multiple possible avenues for carnage and how each element is skillfully sidestepped is positively masterful. The sequence doesn’t cheat, either. In the end, the frayed cord, the loose screw, the puddle of water all come in to play, but in a way that I’m confident nobody will be able to predict. The gruesome finality of the scene leaves us with a “Did I just see what I think I saw?” moment and when the film cuts back to the corpse we are shown that we did, indeed. There’s even an effective death twitch that serves as grisly punctuation. Simply brilliant.

    inline ImageThe cast gives more to the film than the script asks of them. The characters are a bit more sharply drawn than the utter ciphers from the last film and their personal drama is well integrated into the story. By the end of the film, yeah, I kinda did care whether Sam and Molly lived and I could empathies with Peter’s anguish at the tragic injustice of it all. They don’t carve out indelible, iconic characters but they create ones that are as believable as they need to be in the moment.

    inline ImageThe whole affair feels like a concerted effort was made not to do the same old thing. In short, it was made by people who cared about what they were making because they knew that the audience that would be watching it cares about the series. Even the effectiveness of the 3D imagery doesn’t suffer in the conversion to two dimensions since, even without gimmicky glasses, the kills in the FD movies have always been of the in your face variety.

    inline ImageNow, if you’ve seen Final Destination 5, you already know about the ending. Plot twists are not anything new in this series but there’s never been a final twist quite like the one that closes out FD5. At first, I felt certain that the film was cheating but when you think back on it, or watch it a second time, you can spot the clues and groundwork that paves the way for the finale. It’s an absolutely 100% legit twist that the filmmakers carefully set up and completely earn. Maybe there are a couple of possible plot inconsistencies with the ending – I don’t want to say too much, since the surprise is part of the fun – but the cleverness of the concept is enough to fill in any minor holes.

    Image Quality

    inline ImageFinal Destination 5 was shot in digital HD. Warner almost always does a bang-up job with their new releases and this is no exception. Detail is great, even in shadowy areas of the frame, making it easy to pause the film and revel in the gruesome details. In exterior scenes colors are still strong despite the downbeat, wan palette of the film. If I have any complaints, it’s that colors on the red end of the spectrum look a tad oversaturated, with skin tones being the elements most adversely affected by the shit. Minor objections aside, Final Destination looks every bit as flawless as you’d expect a film not even six months out of theatres should look.


    inline ImageAt the risk of sounding blasé, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track included here is pretty standard. This is a Warner release, though, so the “standard” in this instance is actually very high. The track starts out typically restrained and front heavy during the opening dialogue and exposition scenes, but is still well mixed. Dialogue is consistently intelligible, in both quiet and chaotic scenes and Brian Tyler’s pulsing score peppered with re-orchestrations of Shirley Walker’s nigh iconic theme is well reproduced. The audio really comes alive during scenes of full scale carnage. Especially impressive is the panning effects during the bridge collapse; the way the support cables seem to swing across the reach channels is particularly memorable, as is the squooshing of entrails as a girl is impaled on a sailboat. The track is anything but subtle in these scenes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Subtlety is not something I associate with the Final Destination films.

    Supplemental Material

    inline ImageObnoxiously, the title Final Destination 5: Circle of Death (5:39) nearly gives away the best twist in the movie. Still, if it hasn’t spoiled it for you, and you’ve not already seen Final Destination 5, DO NOT WATCH THIS FIRST. The first thing this featurette does is give away the final twist. Other than that it’s always fun to get a glimpse behind the curtain and see what effects were practical and how they were executed, but there’s nothing terribly in depth here and nothing you haven’t seen a million times already. Biggest transgression: talking about how the gymnast’s death was shot, but not showing any legit footage of it being done.

    inline ImageLooking at the running time for the collection of Alternate Death Scenes (15:48) might get your hopes up, but they will quickly be dashed when you find that the majority of the sixteen minute running time is dialogue leading up to the actual kills. There are only two scenes, Isaac and Olivia’s, and the added and alternate footage barely adds up to a minute. Have the remote handy and your thumb on the fast forward button for this one.

    inline ImageVisual Effects of Death: Collapsing Bridge (9:16) and Visual Effects of Death: Airplane Crash (3:02) are side-by-side comparisons of the raw dailies for the scene and the finished film. I thought these, especially the bridge collapse, would wear on my patience but it’s actually a lot of fun to see what effects they did in-camera. When talking about the Final Destination movies and their appeal, I think a lot of people tend to overlook (or simply don’t know about) the strong emphasis since day one on practical effects over digital. It’s one of the series greatest strengths and these features serve as a reminder of that.

    And that’s all she wrote. Ever since Warner took over New Line, we haven’t seen the same kind of feature laden special editions that New Line gifted us under the Platinum and InfiniFilm banners. What we get here is a collection of odds and sods with little effort put into their compiling. We don’t even get an audio commentary or trailer. It’s kind of sad that horror series with significant followings, like Final Destination or Nightmare on Elm Street, get the shaft special feature wise and expensive turds like Jonah Hex get the full-on, In-Movie Experience treatment. Come on, Warner. Horror fans are some of the most loyal cinephiles out there. It would behoove you to cater their fancy. Do that and they will repay you in spades, I guarantee it.

    Final [strike]Thoughts[/strike] Destination

    inline ImageDespite being a surprisingly strong sequel and garnering some of the series’ best reviews since the original, Final Destination 5 was easily the series’ least attended entry. It still did the same kind of blockbuster business overseas that The Final Destination did, so I have no doubt we’ll see FD6 sooner rather than later. If they can find similarly clever ways of exploiting the Final Destination formula as the makers of part 5 did, I’m all for it. In many ways part 5 is the perfect horror franchise film.

    The Blu-ray release is no slouch in the presentation department, but comes up thin in the supplements. Fans will want to pick it up, regardless and I’d even recommend at least a rental to viewers who’ve been lukewarm on the series thus far. It’s not great art, but it’s great entertainment and a lot of fun. This is high tech horror executed with consummate skill and craftsmanship.


    [​IMG] Movie - B+

    Image Quality - A-

    Sound - A-

    Supplements - B-

    Technical Info.
    • Colour
    • Running time - 1 hour and 32 minutes
    • Rated R, 18A
    • 2 Discs (1 Blu-ray, 1 DVD/Digital Copy Combo)
    • Chapter Stops
    • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • French 5.1 Dolby Digital
    • Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
    • English SDH subtitles
    • French subtitles
    • Spanish subtitles
    Supplemental Material
    • Alternate Death Scenes
    • Visual Effects of Death: Collapsing Bridge
    • Visual Effects of Death: Airplane Crash
    • Final Destination 5: Circle of Death” Featurette
    Other Pictures

  2. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2008
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    Toronto, Canada
    the first half of this film was fantastic, but i thought that it kind of blew its load early and couldn't maintain that level of quality throughout the second half. worth seeing for the first few kills alone, however.
  3. rhett

    rhett Administrator

    Jul 30, 2000
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    I liked the second half because of the way the Tom Cruise-looking dude was questioning the parameters of fate and death. I thought the choices he made were pretty interesting in the end and the outcome was clever. Then there was the twist ending, which rocked the house too. Definitely agree with good ol' Chunk, definitely one of the best entries in the series, if not the best.
  4. othervoice1

    othervoice1 Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2004
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    I really enjoyed this at the theatres and thought the 3-D worked really well also. Kept my interest all the way through and to me is the second best in the series - best was the first and this one was just a tad better then the second (because of the ending). I ordered the Best Buy exclusive 3D blu-ray version- cant wait to check it out again
  5. Hatchetwarrior

    Hatchetwarrior Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2007
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    Farmingdale, New York
    Watched this last night and found it surprisingly entertaining. It's a huge step up over part 4 which I felt was incredibly lazy and forced. Although I did enjoy the 5th installment I can't say I'm really thrilled about seeing another one, the series has really exhausted all possibilities at this point.

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