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Final Destination: Platinum Series

Director James Wong and writer Glen Morgan, who have worked on Chris Carter's shows The X-Files and Millennium, bring the same sensibility to the clever teen-horror Final Destination. The plot is simple yet chilling. Alex (Devon Sawa) doesn't know that he has the power of premonition. He just thinks that he is nervous about flying. But when he has a vivid dream that the plane about to take him to France is going to explode, he angers his pal Tod (Chad E. Donella), a goofball named Billy (Seann William Scott), a loner Goth girl named Clear (Ali Larter), a bully named Carter (Kerr Smith) and his girlfriend Terry (Amanda Detmer), and their French teacher Valerie Lewton (Kristen Cloke). His prediction accurate, his companions start to die off, and Alex soon figures out that Death is coming for them in the order in which they were seated on the plane. In Final Destination's opening sequence — a superb symphony of editing, music, and dread, a sequence from which the film doesn't really recover — director Wong and his writers amusingly highlight all the things that a superstitious flyer might single out as ominous: the flicking word "terminal" on a reader-board, the decrepit state of the airport and airplane, coincidences of birthdays and dates. Wong and Co. have set up such a riveting premise that it is perhaps understandable that they couldn't figure out a way to follow its natural threads to a plausible conclusion. New Line demanded a new ending (and title) after disappointing drops in test-audience attention after the mid-way point, and the filmmakers complied. Fortunately, this disc offers up both versions for comparison. Good anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1) that appears mostly flawless and enjoys rich, vibrant colors, audio in comes in DD 5.1 or Dolby 2.0 Surround. Insightful commentary with director Wong and crew, second commentary with actors Sawa, Smith, Cloke, and Donella, isolated music score with selected commentary by composer Shirley Walker, two deleted scenes and the alternative ending, two brief documentaries, including "The Perfect Souffle: Testing Final Destination," a fascinating, if brief, look at how audience-testing works. Snap-case.
—D.K. Holm

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