Thursday, September 1, 2011

Final Destination 5 – 3D

I’ve got to admit, I’ve never been a big fan of the Final Destination franchise throughout its run of films in the last eleven years. I saw the first one in theaters back in 2000, but the rest I’ve only seen on my television, renting them from Blockbuster or Netflix. Even the last one, touted as the last one in 3D, I saw two dimensionally on my TV. But I did regret not watching that one in the theater because the deaths seemed like it must’ve been awesome in 3D.

So, when Final Destination 5 was released, once again in 3D, I decided I’d take a chance to sit through some poor character development and superfluous plot just so I can get some overwhelming death scenes jumping out at me.

But this outing surprised me.

Sure, we get the same outline for a Final Destination movie: big giant-scaled premonition of a death scene, a small group of characters saved from said scene, one-by-one said characters are killed in elaborately styled demises, main character figures out how to cheat death, and the movie ends with a stinger. But Final Destination 5 seemed a tad more interesting and smarter than that.

First off, the movie begins with a remarkable credits sequence with 3D extravagance, getting the audience ready for what’s to come. It kind of slows down a bit to introduce us to some of the characters, as the film opens with a paper manufacturing company getting ready for an employee retreat. Every character is two-dimensional (pardon the pun), but they’re easy to remember as each one has a specific trait that differentiates them from the rest.

The main character, Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto), is a temp for this paper company, but his main job is an apprentice chef at some local restaurant. His girlfriend, Molly (Emma Bell), also a temp at the company, announces to him that morning of the retreat that things aren’t working out with them, that they should call it quits. There’s Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta), the young black manager of the production side of the company who is having trouble with one of the employees under him—probably angry that a young kid is his boss. Peter (Miles Fisher), the Tom Cruise look-a-like, is another employee on the office side of production. Candice (Ellen Wroe)—Peter’s girlfriend—is another temp with aspirations to become a gymnast. Olivia (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) is the looker of the bunch, although her one flaw is that she wears prescription glasses. Dennis (David Koechner), the boss of the office, is the typical employer who can’t remember his employees’ names. Finally, there’s Isaac (P.J. Byrne), the womanizer who doesn’t look like a womanizer, but a nerd who you’d think wouldn’t be sure of himself and is put here for the comedy relief.

Okay, with all that said, here’s the synopsis…

Final Destination 5 opens with the employees of Presage Paper getting ready for their employee retreat. Traveling by bus, they come to a suspension bridge that’s under construction with crews cutting into the asphalt and jack hammering away. The wind picks up and along with all the cutting and hammering on the floor of the bridge, things start to go horribly wrong. Everyone tries to get out and off the bridge but, one by one, the main characters are seen falling to their demise or getting impaled or exploded or sheared…you get the point. Of course, Sam wakes up back in his bus seat and things look all too familiar. He exclaims that the bridge is going to collapse and is able to get some of his co-workers off the bridge and to safety.

Throughout the rest of the film, we see some incredible death scenes, a little over-the-top and kind of silly (most of these people explode into a bloody mess when they fall), but cringing nonetheless. But a new concept is brought to the table as the few remaining characters find out that if they kill someone when it’s their time to die, the person they kill takes their place and they’re skipped.

Without giving too much away, there’s actually a twist to this story. You may be able to figure it out if you watch the movie carefully, but you really need to pay attention and remember the story of the first film. Although I noticed the strange items and had the first movie in mind, I didn’t see the ending coming.

Overall, the film was fun and the 3D was pretty vivid, making me duck and wince at times as I reacted to what was going on in the film. It was good to see Tony Todd reprising his character of William Bludworth, but he didn’t do much and only had a few minutes of screen time. I can’t say enough of how intricately detailed the deaths come to be, making you think the characters were going to die one way, but bit it in a whole different way. I feel that the filmmakers really made up for how silly the franchise was getting, bringing it back to the level of the first film, making it believable and squirm-inducing.

My final “bit” on Final Destination 5? Definitely see this if you’re a fan of the genre, but don’t wait until it’s released on Blu-Ray and DVD. Although I’m not a big fan of 3D, this movie will lose a lot if seen in 2D. The film’s writing was pretty good, but genius when it comes to the ending—it makes part 2, 3 and 4 obsolete...sort of.

See it in 3D now…before it leaves the theaters! You’ll thank me for it.