Sunday, May 20, 2007

[DVD] Final Destination 2 (2003)

We See Death

The saga continues with Final Destination 2, where Ali Larter returns as Clear Rivers (how can you take anyone seriously with a name like that?), in a sequel which rehashes the same premise of premonition and therefore death avoidance, and the survivors this time round getting picked off one by one in similar violent fashion fit only for the screens.

The one with the powers this time is Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook), who along with her buddies are going on a road trip. However, she sees a violent accident along the highway they were supposed to travel on, and prevents herself, her mates and a whole host of drivers in other vehicles from going on that ill fated strip, so before you know it, they defeat death's design for them.

But Final Destination says death will return to get the souls already earmarked, and here, the same drill applies. Despite the filmmakers here being a totally different team from the original, there are bouts of acknowledgements all around that ties the second movie to the first. Like the setting of the film exactly a year after the first, the return of Ali Larter, and a realization that all the characters here have indirect ties to those in the original. It might sound like a bad case of coincidence, but this is movieland after all.

The highway pileup is interesting enough, though the jarring censored bits in this locally pressed DVD made the best bloody bits unavailable. And there were new rules and conditions shared in this sequel, which is probably a good thing to prevent it from being just an extension of the first. What made it a little more riveting was that the characters here experience that feeling that nothing is worse than having to know you have to die, and then waiting for it to happen. The first had most of them pretty much clueless, or much against the ridiculous idea, but here, the group had that set aside pretty quickly, and nothing is more fearful than waiting for your time to expire.

The finale suffered though from needing to meet its self-fulfilling prophecy, but made up for it with its totally wicked ending. It doesn't lead to the third movie (each can work as a stand alone), but for those who did not watch FD1, this one pretty much summarizes it all for you.

The Code 3 DVD by Alliance Entertainment comes with the widescreen edition with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. However, remind me not to get a locally pressed DVD when there's expected blood and gore. With movies like these, sadly the gory scenes get censored away, and all you get are frustrating cut scenes and jarring edits. Subtitles are available in English and Chinese, and scene selection is available over 15 chapters.

The bonus features are quite scanty, with the teaser trailer (1:33), 2 music videos - The Blank Theory's Middle of Nowhere (4:16) and The Sounds' Seven Days a Week (3:20), and a series of deleted scenes.

The deleted scenes were non-selectable, and instead of having split up the scenes, you can only view them all together. A total of 5 scenes are lumped into one 9:52 feature, featuring the initial interview at the police station, an extended scene with the mortician, looking for Isabella Hudson, a short scene where Nora was handed a cellphone at the elevator, and additional scenes in the truck en route to the hospital with an extended hospital scene.

Decent efforts in visual and audio transfers, but short on the extras. Gone are the audio commentaries from the filmmakers, would sure like to listen to how they did the highway scene.
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