Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Finalest Destination

My buddy Mark Palermo was trying the other day to convince me that I should watch and review all of the movies in the Final Destination series, in preparation for the release of the newest installment, Final Destination 5, this weekend. He further tried to win me over by sending me this montage of all the death scenes from the series so far. Nice try, Mark, but I don't think I can go through with it. However, I do recommend following the above link if you want to see some context-free, mostly computer-generated, extreme brutality. You'd be surprised at how quickly you become desensitized to it.

I've only actually seen the first Final Destination, and I wasn't a big fan. I was sort of going with it for the first three-quarters of the movie or so, but by the end I was all out of love. I think my problem with the movie, and by extension, the franchise, is that the supposed villain of the series has no literal or figurative presence--it's the abstract concept of Death Itself, who really hates being thwarted and makes up for it with a series of increasingly unlikely and elaborate deathtraps. Sure, there may be a fun geekshow aspect to seeing just how the cast of characters meet their bloody demises, but it's not really scary--after all, how scary is it being chased around by an abstract concept, one only occasionally given voice by Tony Todd's perennially whispery undertaker character? It's sort of like David Cross's stand-up bit about how silly it is to wage a War on Terror; he maintains that you might as well wage a War on Jealousy. Similarly, it seems to me that the idea of being chased around by Death is about as scary, or likely, as being chased around by Jealousy.

Now I've done it. I've gone and hurt Death's feelings. If Final Destination taught me anything, it's that He/She is surprisingly sensitive. I may have just signed my own death warrant. But hey, if it makes Him/Her feel better, the movie does have a pretty cool teaser poster:

1 comment:

Mark Palermo said...

Even though I've only liked 1-and-a-half of these movies so far (and more or less hated 2 of them), I'm a loyal follower of this series. I love the concept and what it represents. It's true there's not a physical killer to get into your imagination. But by not having the slasher be a physical presence, Final Destination is almost totally focused on the issue of survival, and fending off the inevitable (death). Death is literally everywhere in these movies. Nothing is safe. As a result, it's one of the only slasher properties that's strictly about young characters dealing with their mortality. It's the most paranoid franchise ever.