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FINAL DESTINATION, 2000
Movie Reviews!

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FINAL DESTINATION MOVIE POSTER
FINAL DESTINATION, 2000
Movie Reviews

Directed by James Wong
Starring: Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Chad Donella, Sean William Scott and Tony Todd
Review by Andrew Kosarko



SYNOPSIS:

Death is coming and Alex Browning (DEVON SAWA) is blessed with the curse of knowing when, how and where the grim reaper will strike.

Alex's bone-chilling gift reveals itself just as the teenager embarks on a trip to Paris with his high school French class. In the plane's cabin, buckled-in and ready for take-off, Alex experiences his first powerful premonition. He sees the plane explode in a fiery blaze moments after leaving the ground. Sensing imminent doom, Alex panics and insists that everyone get off the plane. In the melee than ensues, seven people including Alex, are forced to disembark.

Back in the airport terminal, Alex is surrounded by those who were kicked off the aircraft: his friends Billy (SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT) and Tod (CHAD E. DONELLA); Clear (ALI LARTER) a young woman who instinctively heeded Alex's warning; Carter (KERR SMITH), who ends up in fisticuffs with Alex and is ousted off the plane along with his girlfriend Terry (AMANDA DETMER); and Ms. Lewton (KRISTEN CLOKE), the teacher who volunteers to stay with the ejected students.

As each fumes about their lost opportunity to visit Paris, Alex's horrific premonition proves tragically accurate. The ill-fated plane explodes in midair. Shocked and confused, the survivors struggle to understand how Alex was able to anticipate the catastrophe. Some are drawn to his eerie clairvoyance, but most of the group is scared of his gift. As skeptical FBI Agents question his every word, Alex tries to reconcile the tragedy and return to a normal life but portents of doom surround him. Ultimately Alex comes to believe that somehow he and the others cheated death. One by one, as each of these fugitives of fate meets an untimely end, Alex and his remaining friends must band together to change the course of destiny and outwit the untamable forces of death.

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REVIEW:

The problem with the original is that itís a good story. Thatís right. Itís problem is that itís a good story. One the plot begins unfolding you begin to embark on a roller coaster ride with the cast trying to figure out what the hell is going on. By the end of the film everything is pieced together nicely and it all makes sense by the credits. The problem here is that horror movies are franchises from day one. They are cheap to make and easy to make a quick buck off of. So if itís even moderately successful then the sequels begin to spawn off before week 2 of itís box office run. Whatís great about this film is that it not only contains a mysteriously invisible grim reaper and gruesome unexpected deaths, but it has great character relationships to pull us through the down time. Mostly, horror plots need to be simple Ė like Halloween. Stay alive. Thereís your characters motivation. Done and done. But with Final Destination, thereís a

touch more to it. The trust the characters have to have with each other to believe whatís happening is the heart of the story. It stems down to let us know what each character is about and what they believe in. Fate. Supernatural occurrences. Post Traumatic stress syndrome. Itís all there. As the story unweaves and we begin to understand it all we begin to understand who we should side with and the movie concludes with a wondrous and thrilling ending. The mystery of it all is revealed and weíre sent home with a heavy feeling of euphoria on our lungs. The sequels lack that because no new elements are incorporated to make a new mystery appear and intrigue the audience. The characters become one dimensional and it becomes all about the shock value. Itís all the cool fluff without anything else to love.

The Story: The story is well told because the characters are very real. Theyíre immature and stubborn. When one of them is forced to grow up and starts preaching about responsibility and looking out for yourself, heís viewed as a crazy uptight teenager who should either be locked in an insane asylum or arrested for murdering people. The best part of the film is the blame game that goes on in which Alexís gift is seen as a curse from other people who put blame on him for the actions that occur that he tries to save them from. He loses friends and becomes alienated. All because he cares about them and is trying to protect them like a father dealing with his rebel kids. At the heart of it all is a true morality tale of this generation. Instead of the archetypes of no smoking, drinking or having premarital sex of the 70ís and 80ís, this film tries to incorporate an idea that a new generation needs to grow up and be more responsible for their actions and learn to trust one another.

Acting: Devin Sawa and Kerr Smith steal the show. Ali Larter really isnít her ďfeistyĒ self as usual, but itís alright, itís not her story. Sawa really makes us believe that heís trying to do whatís best for the people he cares about, all while dealing with the guilt of whatís happened and how he may be responsible for it all.

Directing: James Wong does an excellent job of not letting style overshadow substance. While the film is stylistically appealing, especially in itís aesthetics with the use of color in the production design, the characters never become talking props. Itís generic human types sure, nothing too complex, but still enough that they never become boring. Every emotional arc makes sense and you really care for the characters and the plot that youíve been drawn into.

Cinematography: Excellently done. The camera movements and usage was able to create a killer, a grim reaper, who was never actually on film. It may seem very blatant whatís going on and people would have liked a little more subtley but in the end of the day this is not an art house drama. Thereís a thrill to knowing whatís going on when the characters donít. Without excellent camera work like this, we wouldnít be able to have that. For our characters, knowledge is the death of suspense. And so itís great that Alex is the only character who knows. It makes him our protagonist.

Production Design: Very strong. I liked the use of a lot of props and dummies in this film, as opposed to an overuse of CGI. Granted, the computeríd stuff is still there, but itís used only when necessary. But still, this film is still grounded a lot in reality and done in camera Ė which really lends itself to aiding in horrifying an audience and allowing them to suspend their disbelief.

Editing: Thereís very few jump cuts to something scary, if any. Everything is slowly drawn out, just the way I like it in horror movies. Well done.

Score: Itís just kind of there. Itís generic for the most part, but itís a horror movie with a good story, so it works. We donít mind it.

Special Effects: As I stated above, itís used, but not overused. Thereís some things I understand not being able to do, but boy did I sure believe that plane blew up. For what itís worth, if Iím not specifically looking out for it, I donít notice itís there. The mark of good CGI. The other special effects, the practical ones, are old school. I love it.

In closing: Final Destination, is a good jump scare movie. Not because the editing jumps to something scary. But something scary builds slowly and jumps out in the frame. Or, it comes out of nowhere. The characters are more complex than usual, but nothing Oscar worthy. Itís definitely a ďthrill rideĒ so to speak, but only the first time around. On repeat viewings itís fun to watch how it all happens and be ahead of the show, but once youíve seen it twice, youíve pretty much seen everything youíll need to see. I will remark, with the exception of the deaths by the end of the movie, the subtle deaths at the front of the film are much more creepy because they could, in theory, actually happen Ė playing on common human fears. Itís definitely worth checking out once or twice.

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