California Literary Review

A Brief Apology To Final Destination 5


August 17th, 2011 at 1:09 pm

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For Those Who Care

Tony Todd stars in Final Destination 5 (2011)

Don’t tag and bag this disaster franchise just yet.

Soon after the trailer for Final Destination 5 hit the airwaves, I hit the roof. In a hasty tirade, I blasted the franchise for refusing to die. This was fairly excusable given the assumption that the previous film was intended to be THE FINAL DESTINATION. In case the title failed to tip you off. And even compared to the trilogy that came before it, FD4 felt phoned-in and out of step with the various virtues of parts 1 through 3. The writer and director seemed to be relying on the 3D angle to take the place of thought and the bare minimum of crafting that a Final Destination story needs.

Believe it or not, part 5 brought the bar back up, at least to where it was before. It does not exactly reclaim or elevate the series in the way Rambo did, but it would be a far more satisfactory way to end things, should the producers choose to make no more.

Prior to FD5, the precedent for this rare phenomenon was Fast Five, which won back the dwindling fan base of the Fast And Furious movies. Familiar enough for die-hard devotees and inventive enough to justify its own existence, it leaves one neither dreading nor dying for another sequel. That leaves whoever owns the franchise rights in an enviable position of freedom.

Sequels reaching five or more are not right for every film franchise. In fact, most popular series are lucky if they can still make money and attract fans by part three. The appropriateness of multiple sequels depends on each individual story (or story formula). It is unlikely that Die Hard 5 will re-ground that series in its original appeal. Even Pirates Of The Caribbean 5 is a questionable prospect at best. And Indiana Jones had better have retired for good this time.

Final Destination 5 (2011) - Funeral Scene

Cheer up, guys. Your box office receipts are bound to go up next weekend.

My recent review awarded Final Destination 5 a moderate “star” rating – for the benefit of the general public, who at the most basic level may have no interest in the concept – but hopefully the article (as well as this one) makes it clear how much fun I had watching it. As with books, food, and other pleasures, there is a big difference between movies that are no good for you, and ones that are simply no good. Fortunately, a lot of you out there will enjoy this as one of the former.

It is a particular shame that expectations were so low for part 5, due no doubt in large part to the failure of part 4 to keep us interested. With the underperformance of Glee 3D and the fact that 30 Minutes Or Less unexpectedly tanked, FD5 could have cleaned up on its opening weekend. What’s done is done, however, and hopefully favorable word of mouth will redeem this above-average bomb over the next month or so.

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