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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Final Destination



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#1 of 1 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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  • Real Name:Cameron Yee
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Posted May 04 2009 - 02:30 PM

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Final Destination

Release Date: Available now
Studio: New Line Cinema
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-Ray case
Year: 2000
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h38m
MSRP: $28.99

 MAIN FEATURESPECIAL FEATURES
Video1080p high definition 16x9 1.85:1480i or 480p standard definition
AudioDolby TrueHD: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 5.1, German 5.1Stereo
SubtitlesEnglish, Spanish, GermanGerman (on select bonus material)


The Feature: 2.5/5
Seven members of a high school class trip escape death when one student, Alex Browning (Devon Sawa), has a premonition of their outbound flight's fiery fate. But rather than a second chance at life, they get a second chance at dying. Though death by midair immolation isn't pretty, it becomes preferable to the alternative scenarios Death concocts - everything from strangulation by clothesline to decapitation by metal shard, usually occurring through a Rube Goldbergian series of events. Though it's not long before seven survivors are reduced to three, there's still a chance they can figure out how to get Death off their backs, at least until they've had a chance to live their lives.

Though it has an interesting premise about the immutability of fate, it doesn't take much for "Final Destination" to become just a series of increasingly ridiculous death scenarios. That's not to say the film isn't entertaining in a "what will they come up with next," Looney Tunes sort of way (all that's missing is some Acme rockets). Just don't expect the plot to always make sense (e.g. why bother making one death look like a suicide?) or to delve too deeply into the foundational ideas. Supposedly the sequels only offer increasingly complicated ways to die, so enjoy this one, knowing that dying will never be so relatively simple again.


Video Quality: 4/5
Presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec, the film's image fills the entirety of my 16:9 display despite the package stating it as 1.85:1. Black levels are deep and inky, with only a few exceptions where the pitch blackness of night doesn't troll the darkest depths. Contrast looks solid though with no visible crush at either end of the spectrum. Sharpness and detail are also quite good - Sawa's acne problems are often apparent (for better or worse) and there's consistently visible grain structure with no obvious signs of noise reduction or artificial sharpening. The image's biggest weakness is the color - scenes are rather drab and flesh tones usually palid - but, considering the material, there's a good chance this was by design. If so, the high definition transfer appears to do a good job of maintaining the original look of the film.


Audio Quality: 4/5
The Dolby TrueHD audio track offers a lively mix filled with overdramatized music cues, atmospheric and environmental sound effects, and healthy doses of LFE. The dynamic range seems a little limited however - the LFE seems to hover just above the deepest registers (and winds up just being loud) while the upper ranges can sound a little forced or strained. Dialogue is consistently clear and intelligible however, though that's not always a good thing considering some of the lines.


Special Features: 3.5/5
The special features package offers some interesting industry insights, including a look at the notorious test screening process and an isolated score with commentary from the composer. The other items are somewhat standard fare; however fans will appreciate the inclusion of the theatrical trailer, scenes from the original cut and a commentary from the filmmakers.

Filmmaker Commentary with James Wong, James Coblentz, Glen Morgan, and Jeffrey Reddick: Offers the requisite blend of production anecdotes, filming and special effects techniques and pre-production back story.

Actor Commentary with Devon Sawa, Kerr Smith, Kristen Cloke, and Chad E. Donella: A less focused and less informative track by comparison and hard to recommend as a result.

5.1 Isolated Score with Commentary by Composer Shirley Walker: Walker comes in between music cues to talk about how she joined the project, working with the filmmakers, her professional experience, and how she likes to work. Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640 kbps.

"The Perfect Soufflé: Testing Final Destination" (13m25s): A look at the test screening process, how "Final Destination" tested with audiences, and what the filmmakers changed in response.

Premonitions (19m40s): Interview with "intuitive investigator" (AKA psychic detective) Pam Coronado, in which she shares her family background, when her skills first manifested themselves, and the work that she does currently.

Additional Scenes (8m15s): Three scenes titled "Alternate Love Scene" (2m52s), "Pregnancy Test" (19s) and "Alternate Ending" (5m03s), each of which were removed after the initial test screening called for more death and destruction.

Trailer (2m23s)


Recap

The Feature: 2.5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3/5

A mindless but entertaining horror film - and a perfect guilty pleasure candidate - gets a good technical presentation and a decent set of special features.
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com