I know I can come across as a little bit of a movie snob at times, but I must confess that the Final Destination movies became a guilty pleasure for me. The original movie of 2000 was dark, tense and exciting but most of all, it never pretended to be anything that it wasn’t. It was, essentially, a black comedy about annoying teenagers being killed … and the more elaborate and unnecessarily complex the means of death became, the more entertaining the movie became.
OK, there was no variation in the original trilogy. The movies were formulaic and rather uninspired … but this is what we tuned in for. Mindless violence and comedy deaths. We didn’t expect anything else, anything good! And really, the original was only starting off as a three-star movie. The films that followed could only get worse, surely!
Well, here’s the surprising part. While the original trilogy was never going to break any records or gain any real praise from the critics, they actually stood up well as a trilogy and maintained that three-star level throughout. This is unprecedented in a horror trilogy, some would say impossible. To maintain the same level, albeit an average one, deserves some credit!
But they couldn’t leave it, could they? They couldn’t leave well enough alone. When will movie makers finally realize that three is the magic number? Apart from James Bond, I can think of no movie franchise, horror or otherwise that continued with any amount of measurable success or forward movement after the third installment. In fact, much of the time, even the third installment can only be described as “ill-advised“.
The process goes like this:
Film #1: “Woah, great movie! Gimme more!”
Film #2: “Nice! More of the same with a few added extras. Not QUITE as good as the original, but still excellent!”
Film #3: “OK! One final blow out! Throw everything this franchise has at us for the finale and then we’ll have closure!”
And EVERY movie that follows produces a reaction in the form of a one-word question: “Why?”
Friday The 13th Part IV.
Shrek Forever After.
Die Hard 4.0!
No matter what the genre, or how good the original movie, fourth installments are simply never worth the effort!
The Final Destination, 2009 is another example of this. It brings nothing new to the franchise. It rehashes the exact same plot of the first installment, practically scene-for-scene with slightly different actors … and the methods by which the characters are killed aren’t even slightly funny!
And, as if all that were not enough, it’s in F*£^^%9 3D. So, not only are we presented with a parade of scenes ripped directly from earlier movies, but we also have a slew of unnecessary effects shots which add nothing to the film apart from unconvincing CGI and those strange, unnatural lingering shots that seem to dog every 3D production ever made.
A guy being killed by a plank of wood slicing through the back of his head, just so we can have the plank sticking up out of the screen for what seems like 10 seconds … In the middle of an ACTION sequence!
The pathetically obvious insertion of a champagne bottle’s cork being popped, viewed from above JUST so we can have the cork pop out of the screen!
These attempts to justify the movie being made in 3D were so frequent that they made me want to stand up and swear at the screen! Had I been playing a “Cheesy 3D Effect Drinking Game”, I would have been wasted within the first 10 minutes!
Also, there is a complete lack of imagination in the methods of death in this fourth installment. Throughout the first three, there was a clear delight in the ridiculous chains of events that led to the demise of the characters. They played out like morbid Rube Goldberg machines …
A gust of wind from the window blows a pencil off the table. The pencil hits the ‘On’ button on a remote controlled car. The car lurches forward, hitting a chair leg. The chair movement spooks a dog, which leaps onto the bed. Occupier of said bed sits up a bit too fast and hits his head on a toy aeroplane that hangs above it. Slightly blinded, he staggers up off the bed, only to trip on the flex of his CD player and fall head first out of the room and down the stairs only to be impaled on an umbrella sticking out of the stand in the hallway …
What do we have in The Final Destination?
Racing cars crash, sending debris into the crowd.
Man hit by a car.
Canisters explode in cinema.
And of course, scaffolding falls over forcing a truck to swerve into a coffee shop!
Wow! Such THOUGHT went into those(!) … What, was this movie’s script written in 10 minutes?
In most instances of my criticising a movie, at this point, I usually think “Well, give them a break. You couldn’t do any better.” But the fact here is that I really believe that I could do better than this myself! As could almost anyone reading this! Hell, the sequence I just rattled off a couple of paragraphs ago was totally made up on the spot and it’s 100 times better than any scene in this 4th movie.
This rant has been set of by my noticing that a fifth installment is in the works. I just hope that they make a little more effort this time, or not bother at all. Like I already said, even some of the BEST concepts ever in movies have lost all imagination and originality by their third movie. Final Destination only started as ‘average’ and had completely run it’s course over 4 years ago. It’s just a shame that the studios can get away with rehashing everything like this, as the public pay blindly over and over again to see the same tired old concepts trotted out year upon year.
The movie industry used to be the world’s biggest source of creativity. More and more, that creative spirit is being drowned out by sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots. Is there no end to this horrible trend?
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