Summer's almost over, gang! But our friends at the studios are still cranking out candy like the party never has to end. After purposefully waking up early on a Saturday, I met my cohorts at the ArcLight Sherman Oaks for a double feature of Final Destination 5 and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie. It was probably one of the best absurd decisions I've ever made.
After a lackluster 4th entry into the popular "Death Hates Pretty People" series, I am very happy to report that Final Destination 5 actually does it right. Surprisingly self-referential, this outing is filled to the brim with callbacks to the 4 films that preceded it. And since my continuity boner is always at full mast, I was pretty much in love with the whole thing - from the grandiose opening credits sequence (remember those?!) to the "greatest hits"-laced end credits.
As is to be expected though, the scenes in between the creatively gruesome deaths are almost unbearable. Writer Eric Heisserer is right up there with George Lucas when it comes to scripting romance for human beings, but this year's lead vision-haver Nicholas D'Agosto tried his best and looks great in his arsenal of plaid shirts.
I'm not going to give away the twist ending (it was honestly so brilliant that you need to see it for yourself), but I will say that I was pleased as punch to have Tony Todd back after he wisely sat the last film out. He's skulking around in all his Candyman glory once again, as a coroner issuing vague warnings to our merry band of doomed 20-somethings. I have to admit that if this is the last Final Destination film (unlikely), it was one hell of a spectacular finale.
Oh, Glee. My enjoyment of the series lives or dies by 3 factors: Quality of Songs, Choreography of Dance Numbers, and the Level of Santana Participation. So if I'm gonna judge Glee: The 3D Concert Movie based solely on this criteria, then I'd have to say that the film won me over big time. While the spotlight inequities I had read about beforehand were dead-on (Quinn and Tina are basically invisible), I was willing to give it a pass. Why? Because I don't think that Finn (Cory Monteith), Puck (Mark Salling), Sam (Chord Overstreet) or Mike (Harry Shum, Jr.) have ever before looked collectively this good on the show. And they were in 3D.
I'm fairly convinced however that Gwyneth Paltrow's completely illogical appearance as substitute teacher Holly Holiday was entirely unplanned. You will never be able to prove to me that Gwynnie didn't just show up at the freight entrance to the venue in full costume and crazy her way on stage. Her in-character exclamations were even more nonsensical than the bulk of her performance in Country Strong.
With only a few exceptions, I was dumbly entertained with a smile on my face throughout. The interviews with various "Gleeks" about things they've come to accept about themselves thanks to the show (Asperger's syndrome, dwarfism, gayness) were a bit much, but we all know that Ryan Murphy doesn't have the firmest grasp on human interest.
So there you have it! The murder, the mayhem, the music...it could be one of my all-time favorite double features. My 3D fatigue may be setting in, but these two are worth the upcharge for a larger-than-life experience. Just don't expect anyone onscreen (in either film) to behave like a normal person.