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THE FINAL DESTINATION ($36) is certainly a serviceable and reasonably entertaining fourth installment in the horror franchise, but I have to admit the series ran out of jet fuel somewhere around the middle of the second movie, and has been coasting on vapors ever since. Sticking to the formula, the premise of THE FINAL DESTINATION involves one of the protagonists having an elaborate, special effects and carnage-laden premonition, only to escape death when the premonition comes true… But then, death comes circling around for those who cheated the grim reaper on his fast.

THE FINAL DESTINATION opens with its disposable, one-dimensional cast of characters attending a low-end automotive race at a crumbling speedway. Nick (Bobby Campo) has the premonition about a massive chain reaction racecar crash that not only kills drivers and spectators alike, but also causes the dilapidated stadium to come crashing down on those fleeing the carnage. After seeing the earliest bits of the premonition come true, Nick manages to get his girlfriend Lori (Shantel VanSanten), and friends Hunt (Nick Zano) Janet (Haley Webb), as well as a few others, out of harms way. Since no one can escape "death’s plan" the unseen entity comes calling on "the survivors" finding intricate and decidedly grisly methods to dispatch them. As expected, the protagonists look for a way to break the chain, and thwart their impending demise, but death proves to be a jealous and unforgiving lover that refuses to let go. The cast of THE FINAL DESTINATION also includes Mykelti Williamson, Krista Allen, Andrew Fiscella, Justin Welborn, Stephanie Honore, Lara Grice, Jackson Walker and Phil Austin.

New Line Home Entertainment has made THE FINAL DESTINATION available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The Blu-ray release features both the 2D and 3D versions of the film- with two pairs of 3D glasses included in the package. The 1080p 3D version can offer effective depth, as well as the illusion of objects being thrust out from the screen. However, this presentation still utilizes the primitive anaglyph 3D system with red/blue lenses, which causes this reviewer to suffer a headache in less than a half hour’s time. To really get the most out of the film’s visuals, one needs to stick with the superior looking 2D 1080p presentation. Image sharpness, fine detail and texturing are all very good most of the time. There is some postproduction digital work that smoothes out the image in places and makes it appear somewhat less defined. Colors are very strongly rendered and quite vibrant. In addition, the flesh tones are very attractive. Blacks are deep, whites are crisp and clean, plus there is smooth contrast and a fairly healthy dose of shadow detail. Grain/noise is fairly minimal, but I can’t say that the picture suffers from the worst signs of digital over-processing.

THE FINAL DESTINATION is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound design serves two masters, with one being more rewarding than the other. A lot of the film is dialogue heavy, with the characters discussing their predicament and trying to decide on what to do next. These sequences tend to be rather front heavy with an emphasis on the center channel. Then we come to the chaos, mayhem and action sequences- this is where the soundtrack really shines. All of the outlying channels are well implemented with plenty of directionality being spread through the soundstage. There is effective panning of effects through the soundstage, especially during the film’s climatic showpieces. Of course, at all the appropriate moments, the sound design heightens the creepiness factor with the placement of odd noises and blaring zingers. Fidelity is pretty terrific throughout. Thanks, to the lossless encode, the music has a full-bodied quality, while the sound effects have weight thanks to a ground shaking bass component. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track has also been encoded onto the disc, as have English and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Featurettes and other programs include: Body Count: The Deaths Of The Final Destination (twenty two minutes), Racecar Crash And Mall Explosion (eleven minutes) and a First Look At A Nightmare On Elm Street (two minutes). Deleted Scenes and Alternate Endings close out the standard extras. THE FINAL DESTINATION is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). A DVD and Digital Copy of the film are also provided, with both housed on the second disc of this set.

As I stated above, THE FINAL DESTINATION is a serviceable and reasonably entertaining fourth installment in the horror franchise. The Blu-ray presentation is very strong on both the video and audio fronts. If you are going to go that way anyway, be sure to make Blu-ray THE FINAL DESTINATION.



The Final Destination [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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