Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Even Final-er Destination?

(Spoiler Warning! This article contains plot points and spoilers for the film Final Destination 5, so in the rare chance that you do actually want to watch it sometime soon, skip this article.)

So, I watched Final Destination 5 the other night. Now most of you are screaming: Why? Why? Would you do such a thing? Well hey - I love the art form and will give most films a chance. Well, except Sex and the City 2 - thems two hours of my life I definitely wouldn't be getting back.

The basic structure of each Final Destination film is pretty much identical and is as follows:

A group of kids escape from some large scale accident due to one of them inexplicably having a vision of it beforehand and then convincing the others to get out of there before it all goes down.

‘Death’, somehow personified as a mysterious force (sadly not as a grim reaper), feels they have cheated him/it and so gets them back by killing them in a series of bizarre ‘accidents’, mostly involving household items or in everyday, unsuspecting locations.

What originally started as a creepy, almost science-fiction horror premise with the first Final Destination movie has ballooned into an increasingly gory montage of elaborate death scenes primarily designed to scare you into thinking that anything and everything around you can somehow conspire to kill you.

Similarly to the Saw franchise, the originality and freshness of the first movie becomes null and void with sequels that solely increase their focus on the deaths at the expense of any meaningful story development. And since the formula appears to sell, who can blame them? Just substitute ‘aeroplane explosion’ for ‘motorway pileup’, ‘rollercoaster malfunction’, ‘NASCAR pileup’ or ‘suspension bridge collapse’ and off you go.

The plots are almost identical each time. In Final Destination 2 they sort of tried to explain the mechanics of it a bit more but then it appears they said screw it - lets just go for more gory and elaborate deaths each time. In this regard, Final Destination 5 doesn't disappoint. The deaths here are possibly the most over the top and gory in the series yet (now in eye-popping 3D, kids! Yay!)

They even get to kill Champ Kind!

However what really bugs me is that some things are just never explained. For example why do these main protagonists (different in each film) have these visions? It cant be ‘Death’ granting them these as then why would he/it get upset and feel the need to redress the imbalance of fate that has been caused?

And what’s Tony Todd’s character have to do with any of it apart from appear randomly and creep them out with gravely exposition?

And why is the fourth entry in the series actually (and rather confusingly) called The Final Destination. What does that make the fifth one? ‘The More Final Destination’?
The Even Final-er Destination?

A trite answer would be – ‘they thought the fourth would be the last one, but then they decided to make more’, - but there is actually a reason for it.

You ready?

Its because the film is actually… A PREQUEL!

Oh Em Gee! Just like The Thing!

For some reason (that again is never explained – save for the filmmakers shouting a-ha gotcha! in the audience’s face), two characters that think they have cheated Death’s plan at the end of the film - board a plane for France.

Which is the same plane that blows up in the first one.

In fact it shows you (with footage cleverly cut from the first film) the original group of kids kicking up a ruckus and getting kicked off the plane shortly before it departs. The plane takes off, blows up and the two ‘survivors’ die horribly, thus spitting in the face of any ‘rules’ about how to survive that the films have tried to establish for the sake of a cheap gimmick.

So the fourth one really was the final one – chronologically speaking anyway. And they couldn't have called this one Final Destination: Origins or Final Destination: Beginnings, as that would have ruined the whole ‘twist’. So they just thought, meh, lets just call it: ‘Final Destination 5’ instead.

So the fourth one remains the awkwardly titled, non-numbered sequel: The Final Destination – but hey, there exists out there Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (the sixth out of nine Nightmare on Elm Street films) and Friday the 13th The Final Chapter and Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (The fourth and ninth of eleven films), so its not uncommon.

The question is, will they keep making Final Destination movies? As the franchise is so lucrative and the story template is becoming simply a matter of copy and paste, this is a very distinct possibility.

But in my view more importantly… will there be numbers in the titles?

27 Dec 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment