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August 5, 2011

Movie Time: Final Destination
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:17 PM * 19 comments

Long-time readers of Making Light will recall that I like horror movies.

I like the How Did They Do That? experience of watching ‘em. Along with plot, and character, and theme, and such. Even if plot, character, and theme are all absent, a good How Did They Do That? can redeem an otherwise irredeemable movie.

So, one thing I like are the How To Do Special Effects videos you see on YouTube. These aren’t someone reposting someone else’s material, but useful and interesting things all on their own.

Which brings us to a special from Indy Mogul, a guy who does Backyard Special Effects. It’s a three-parter called Death’s Last Stop:

And the How They Did That reels:

But that isn’t what I want to mention, particularly. What I found interesting was that this three-part mega-test film was sponsored by the folks who made the movie The Final Destination, as part of their pre-release marketing plan. The Final Destination is the exact same movie as Final Destination, Final Destination Two, and Final Destination Three, only this time in 3-D!.

(I see from IMDB that there’s a Final Destination Five scheduled for this summer. Using my psychic powers, I predict that it will have the Exact Same Plot, and probably the same story beats minute-for-minute, as the other films in the series.)

Back to my point, such as it is: Kudos to the Final Destination folks for guerrilla marketing done right: For a negligible cost (we’re talking of mini-films with budgets measured in the tens of dollars), weeks of publicity for at least a segment of their core audience (the How Did They Do That? crowd).

To reward them for their clever (though cheap) marketing, I have rented The Final Destination.

Comments on Movie Time: Final Destination:
#1 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 12:48 PM:

I've only seen the first Final Destination movie, years ago when it came out on DVD. It was an interesting premise done mostly well, as I recall. Balancing death's books with a bit of discussion about free will vs. fate is heady stuff for what is essentially a teen slasher flick, (notable for the complete absence of a tangible adversary: they're not fleeing some psycho in a mask but the force of universal entropy, as envisioned by Rube Goldberg).

#2 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 01:28 PM:

The first was really fun.

The second I couldn't make it through.

#3 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Keith Kisser @ 1... universal entropy, as envisioned by Rube Goldberg

What a scary idea.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 02:23 PM:

Could it be done with an English accent: Universal entropy, as envisioned by Mr Heath Robinson?

#5 ::: Dr Rick ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 03:18 PM:

The whole point of the Final Destination movies is the comedy super-unlikely splatterlicious death scenes - which is why the plots being identical doesn't matter at all - and if my memory of seeing the 3D one in the theatre is anything to go by you shan't be disappointed.

#6 ::: SisterCoyote ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 06:27 PM:

Rube Goldberg Machine...of Death.

I haven't seen anything past FD3, but that was the movie that caused my cousin the electrician to tell me there wasn't enough alcohol in the world.

#8 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 09:57 PM:

One of the non-CGI effects that impressed me most was the amputation in the original Day of the Dead. (The man's fingers twitch when the other character puts her weight on the machete, which looks to be halfway through his arm already, and for some reason I was convinced it wasn't done with robotics.)

It was remarkably low-tech, playing off audience assumptions--they just cut a machete to fit around the actor's arm.

#9 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 10:21 PM:

The last Harry Potter film (Deathly Hallows Part 2) has excellent CGI as far as this non-expert can determine.

In fact, the entire film was excellent, a wonderful end to the series.

#10 ::: V's Herbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 09:26 PM:

Fabulous how to video just linked on biongbiong...

Make a corpse out of a plastic skeleton in an hour, using mostly plastic dropcloths, a heat gun and dark wood stain.

putting creepy pranking in the hands of the masses

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 11:00 PM:

Now having seen The Final Destination (AKA Final Destination 4) I can state that this is a movie about the importance of proper labeling and storage of HAZMATs.

Also: If the wooden bleachers you're sitting on are breaking into jagged splinters when someone steps on them, and the concrete in the part of the stands above you is crumbling in response to vibration, you don't need any psychic vision of death to know that being elsewhere is an excellent idea.

#12 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2011, 12:29 PM:

There's an easy way to watch all the Final Destination movies. First understand the basic premise (Keith's "the force of universal entropy, as envisioned by Rube Goldberg" is excellent). Then watch the trailers. Since the only differences among the movies are the novelty deaths, and the trailers show enough of those that you can work out what happens, you will have saved half a day.

#13 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2011, 12:59 PM:

James D. Macdonald #11: q.v. "don't let your protagonists be sensible", via the Moorcock sidelight on rapid novel construction.

#14 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2011, 01:05 PM:

Ken, 12: Novelty deaths, available by the gross from Archie McPhee's.

#15 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2011, 05:30 PM:

If you love finding out how effects were created, I recommend watching Evil Dead II with the voice-over commentary by Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell et al. It's probably the most informative commentary track I'm ever heard; plus it's endearingly obvious that they've been friends since high school.

#16 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2011, 01:14 AM:

I just got back from THOR. (Yes, we're broke this summer.) Let's just say this: when the lead character in a film says "I have a plan" and you find yourself compelled to say "I have a cunning plan" in response, it's NOT a good thing. The film version of The Avengers will be interesting when it comes out, what with The Hulk being smarter than Thor, and Tony Stark living up to the official motto "Scummy in all eras" and the unofficial motto "When Hal Jordan isn't scummy enough."

#17 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 11:26 AM:

The mighty Thor? Tho am I, mithter, tho am I.

#18 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 11:29 AM:

Bruce @ 16... Blackadder and Baldric were in "Thor"? I missed that.

#19 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 11:41 AM:

"Captain America" was a better film, and it threw in a few treats for those who know the comics. For example, the scene at the New York Fair gives us a glimpse of the original Human Torch.

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