Destination (2000, dir: James Wong; cast: Devon Sawa, Ali Larter,
Kerr Smith, Kristen Cloke, Daniel Roebuck, Roger Guenveur Smith, Chad Donella,
Sean Willian Scott, Tony Todd, Amanda Detmer)
an old Twilight
Zone episode. Some astronauts go up in space. There's a
problem, but they return safely and everything seems fine. Then they
start vanishing, one by one. Along with all traces of their previous
existence. Once gone, no one remembers him. Only one astronaut
realizes what's happening, but no one believes him. As he watches
his comrades disappear, knowing his time will come, he theorizes that they
were meant to die in space. That ... something up there ... meant
to keep them. Aliens? Or an angry God, offended by Man's incursion
into where he was not meant to go?
hapless astronaut knows is that they have upset some cosmic scheme by flying
up, and then returning. And now that cosmic ... something ... is
correcting the error.
the lack of special effects, it's one of the old Twilight
Zone's creepier episodes, combining sci-fi with horror and mysticism.
Destination alters some of the details, and offers much special effects,
but it's basically the same story.
school graduating class plans a trip to Paris. But while checking
in at the airport, Alex (Devon Sawa) gets an odd feeling. He notices
strange things, that perhaps mean nothing. Once on the plane, he
has a nightmare that the plane explodes shortly after takeoff.
said one can dream a lifetime in the span of a second (the premise of another
golden oldie Twilight
Zone). Alex awakes and discovers the plane has yet to take off. When a few random occurrences mirror his nightmare (he is asked to change
seats; a tray breaks) he realizes his nightmare is coming true. He
screams that the plane will explode, shrieking everyone must disembark
forcibly removed from the plane, along with several protesting classmates. Another classmate, Clear (Ali Larter), leaves voluntarily as she is affected
by Alex's fears. One of two teachers reluctantly stays behind with
the ejected students.
plane takes off with most of the students still onboard, the ones left
behind revile Alex. "We lose a whole day in Paris!" Then they
see the plane explode in the sky.
haven't given away anything. The story is just beginning. For
although they momentarily escape death, the survivors soon begin to die
in freak accidents, one by one.
that Death has a pattern for everyone. That through some flaw in
the fabric of the universe, he saw the pattern and was able to avoid death. But it was "their time." And now, Death is repairing its cosmic
pattern, returning for Alex and the survivors.
Alex struggles to decipher Death's cosmic pattern. If he can see
it, he can avoid the potential accidents Death has laid out for him and
the other survivors. Alex's discovery of the pattern evokes The
X-Files for its creepy blend of the paranormal with cold investigative
is much merit in Final
Destination. The film explores the survivors' guilt, and their
anger at Alex for failing to save everyone or to foresee other deaths. Some survivors feel grateful to Alex, others regard him a freak. Still others seek additional psychic prognostications. During the
memorial service, a student asks Alex if a certain girl will say "yes"
if he asked her for a date. The surviving teacher fears Alex, although
she can't rationalize her fears. The police suspect Alex of bombing
the plane -- how else could he know it would explode?
Destination exploits viewers' fears of flying. You'll never see
it on a flight; no airline would show it. Final
Destination features the most fearsome passenger air disaster scene
ever filmed. None of those 1970s airline disaster films can match
it. Nor any air warfare film. You see the plane's body tear
open, passengers clinging desperately to their seats before being sucked
out before other passengers' eyes. Then after much mayhem and sucking,
and fire and explosions, passengers burned alive... It's a long and
gruesome scene. Not something you'd care to see at 35,000 feet.
deaths are gruesome too. The suspense ever present. The characters'
emotional reactions appropriate. The budding trust, then love, between
Alex and Clear is well-handled.
is no humor or black comedy. Final
Destination is a film of deadpan horror, similar to The
X-Files's blend of cold reality and the unexplainable. The cause
of horror -- Death's cosmic pattern -- is suggested, but never fully revealed
Destination offers both gore, and dark suggestive horror, delivering
on both counts.
Review copyright by Thomas
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