Volume 93, Issue 90
Monday, March 21, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Final Destination a surprising teen departure
©Photo by C. Helcermanas Benge
NEXT ON FOX: "WHEN BLUE ANGELS GO BAD." Devon Sawa stars in the surprisingly entertaining teen flick Final Destination.
By Anthea Rowe
"I'm never gonna die," famous last words spoken by a character in a film which portrays over 40 deaths. In director James Wong's newest film, Final Destination, there is no limit to the number of often creative deaths to which characters fall prey.
Final Destination is a film largely dealing with fate and the inevitability of death. The story begins when main character Alex (Devon Sawa) and six others avert death by escaping from a plane minutes before it explodes in mid-air. But Death (which takes no physical form in the film), is obviously a determined bastard and the remainder of the movie shows its attempts to right the characters' original fates by killing them off one by one in a bunch of ensuing "accidents."
The film's survivors are a stereotypical cast of characters which consist of Alex, his best friend, the school jock and his girlfriend, a clutzy geek and their good-looking French teacher. Throw in a love interest for Alex and you've got the basic recipe for any teen movie. But despite its hackneyed teen approach, the movie's saving grace lies within its entertainment value, which is much higher than other offerings of this type.
As the lead character, Sawa pulls off a solid but less than stunning performance. As the hero who nobody believes, he is tolerable to watch but becomes tiresome when he is constantly facing disasters which only he can avert. Each dangerous event triggers a moment of comprehension signalled by Sawa's stunned, slack-jawed stare, which is anything but nice to look at.
The supporting cast consists of other well-known teen film and television stars. Carter, the tough jock, is played by Kerr Smith (Jack on Dawson's Creek) and the clutzy Billy (Seann William Scott) is probably best known for his role as Stiffler in last summer's hit American Pie.
Many a teen horror flick has stooped to relying on awesome special effects to detract from the fact it has no real acting talent or plot this is not the case in Destination.
Wong's special effects are used selectively and are sufficiently dramatic without becoming cheesy or overblown. The key point in this film's success is its creativity one is left constantly marvelling at how the next victim can possibly be killed off more imaginatively than the last.
The movie's suspense and action are non-stop and literally keep the viewer in constant anticipation. In fact, some theatre-goers were shivering with shock at some points in the film. Its effectiveness as a suspense/thriller will affect you for long afterwards and those who've seen it will never look at a city bus in the same way again.
Although Final Destination is a stereotypical teen flick in terms of cast, simplicity and predictable love interests, it still succeeds at being an immensely entertaining exercise in suspense. Head out to see it, but make sure you have a safe ride home because, hey accidents happen.
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