Final Destination 5 [Blu-ray review]

Author: Brett Gallman
Submitted by: Brett Gallman   Date : 2011-12-18 00:38

Final Destination 5 (2011)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release date: December 27th, 2011

Reviewed by: Brett Gallman

The movie:

I donít think itís much of a secret that Iím a pretty big Final Destination fan; most will probably look back on the first decade of the new century and remember Saw, which will be fine. On the other hand, Iíll remember it more for death making mincemeat out of a slew of victims in often delightful fashion. As such, Final Destination 5 was one of my more anticipated horror flicks this year, even despite the lackluster fourth installment. It ended up being one of only two movies I even bothered to see twice in theaters this year, so, suffice to say, it worked pretty well for me back in August. You can read my entire review here, and youíll see that I basically tongue-kissed it and begged people to see it so part six would be inevitable.

A few months later, and another revisit on WBís Blu-ray release confirms that this is indeed the best in the series since part two. By no means is it at all revolutionary (in fact, it cannibalizes beats and plot points from previous films), but, like a true slasher series, this one gets what itís all about. Sure, the characters are broad, almost slapstick caricatures at times, but at least this one has some genuinely likable characters, particularly the ones played by Emma Bell and Adam Escarpeta. But, best of all, it absolutely butchers them all in glorious fashion; the opening ďdisasterĒ this time still falls a bit short of part 2ís vehicular carnage (and still looks a bit too cartoonish in high-def), but itís a deranged, protracted bit of carnage.

But youíve heard me say all of that months ago, so let me just quickly confirm that the death sequences are still great (with the gymnastics sequence being among the best the series has to offer), plus that ending remains an awesome bit of fanboy-pandering continuity porn.

The disc:

From a presentation standpoint, Iím happy to report WB has done a bang-up job; pound for pound, I think their high def work has been the best of the major studios since Blu-rayís inception. This continues their winning ways, as their transfer is expectedly pristine, boasting vivid colors, detail, and solid black levels. Again, some of the effects sequences suffer, but this is more of a production fault. Complimenting the transfer is an incredibly robust 5.1 DTS-MA track that consistently makes use of your entire soundstage. That opening bridge disaster and the final sequence are obviously the most impressive, but Brian Tylerís impressive score is highlighted well throughout the mix, brining a sense of genuine dread (which was sorely missing in the fourth film).

The disc is a little light on extras, as it only contains a standard EPK feature that completely spoils the ending right of the hop, so make sure you avoid that before seeing the movie (obvious, I know, but fair warning). If youíve seen any other features like this, youíve seen this one, as the cast and crew pledge that theyíve made a really great movie that fans will enjoy, etc. At least in this case, I think they lived up to their word. This short feature also gives us some behind-the-scenes insight of how they pulled off some of the practical effects, so we see the prosthetics applied; at one point, you can spot Jigsaw's puppet, Billie, hanging out in the background, which is somewhat amusing.

Maybe the most intriguing feature would be some alternate death sequences, but they ultimately prove that the final product really got it right. Specifically, we see how the acupuncture and Lasik sequences were originally done, with the differences in the setups being negligible (in fact, Iím not even sure why they didnít just show us the alternate payoffs). Iíll day that the original death for the acupuncture guy is much less inspired than the final product, while the poor Lasik girlís death just had a neat gag tagged onto it in the final film that makes it better.

Rounding out the supplements are a couple of features that let you see what the those two big effects laden sequences (the bridge and final disasters) looked like during production; presented alongside a green screen, they allow you to see just what got colored in by computers and what didnít, which is kind of neat I guess. Maybe the biggest thing lacking here is a 3D version (despite the promotional box art featured above), which might be a selling point for some; I personally thought the 3D gags were great in theaters, but I donít miss it at home.

This release will drop in 3 different configurations on December 27th, as there will be both separate DVD and Blu-ray releases, plus one thatíll package both together (along with an Ultraviolet copy thatíll let you stream the movie on several different devices). If you didnít see this movie in theaters, Iíll again beg you to buy this with some gift cards you might receive for the holidays; that way, hopefully WB/NLC will grant us the gift of Final Destination 6 in a couple of years. Buy it!
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