New Line has provided audio options in both Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and DTS 6.1 Surround Sound with optional subtitles available in English and Spanish as well and with an English closed captioning option. If you've got the hardware to make it happen, the DTS track does have the slight edge over the 5.1 for the simple reason that the bass is stronger and the rear portion is filled in more. Either way, however, you'll find little to complain about here with either choice as both tracks provide plenty of nice bass response where appropriate, clear dialogue, and nice directional effects throughout. The film score is tight and bouncy and neither the music nor the effects ever over power the performers. There were one or two scenes in the film where the surrounds could have been used a little more effectively but other than that, this disc sounds excellent.
With a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix and a rather large DTS 6.1 mix on disc one there wasn't a whole lot of room left for extras but there are two interesting supplements to be found on the first disc in this two disc set:
The main extra feature on this release and the biggest pull in terms of supplements is that option to watch the movie using the Choose Their Fate which, when enabled, allows you to by way of your remote control, choose what the characters do next. If you choose correctly, they'll live, and if not, well, you know what happens to teenagers in the Final Destination films by now and let's just say that it isn't pretty. Interestingly enough, if you choose correctly for a few of the scenes, you'll find yourself ending the movie before it would end in its theatrical version but you'll also be treated to a few alternate scenes in which the characters resolve things. This might sound like a rather ridiculous idea but it's actually pretty fun. It's not likely to be something that you're going to go back to time and time again but it is an interesting alternate way to enjoy and to a certain extent participate in the carnage that the movie delivers in spades. The drawback to this feature is that when you watch the movie in its regular version, you might notice a hiccup or two similar to a layer change during playback where, in the Choose Their Fate version, there would be a prompt. The intensity of these little hiccups varied on the two different players that I tried this one, with one reacting to them more harshly than the other.
Also included on the first disc is a full length director's commentary track with James Wong who is joined by screenwriter Glen Morgan and the director of photography, Robert McLachlan. Aside from a few spots of dreaded dead air, this is a pretty lively track that contains a good amount of information. Wong dominates the discussion, which makes sense as he had more to do with the final product but all three get their points across. These guys seem to have had a fun time working on the project and they come across as genuinely intelligent types with a true love for what they're doing and a nice, playful sense of humor. No one is taking the movie too seriously here and they know what kind of movie they've made but they still manage to discuss the film in an interesting and smart manner.
Disc two contains the rest of the supplements that starts off with a truly unusual seven minute cartoon called It's All Around You that explains some of the ways that people deal with having to accept the inevitable fact that death comes for us all. This is a pretty strange supplement but that being said it fits the tone of the movie well when you consider how much of the film is made up of the characters wigging out about the fact that they cannot escape their predetermined fate as predicted by the photographs.
A great twenty four minutes documentary entitled Dead Teenager Movie takes a look at the teen slasher phenomena by way of some amusing criticisms and observations, many of which are courtesy of the one and only Roger Ebert who used the titular phrase when describing the first film in his Chicago Sun review years back. Of course, this being a Final Destination movie a lot of the focus is geared towards the three films in the series and to writer/direction James Wong but that doesn't really diminish the fact that this is a surprisingly enjoyable examination of the slasher genre and the roles that teenagers inevitably always find themselves playing in it.
The mother of all supplements on the second disc comes in the form of the massive Kill Shot: Making Final Destination 3 documentary that clocks in at just a couple of minutes under an hour and a half, roughly the same length as the feature itself! By way of interviews with all of the principal players involved both in front of and behind the camera and a wealth of behind the scenes footage, this segment gives us a very detailed look at the way that the movie was made from start to finish from the script to post production tweaking. We learn how some of the effects work was done, how the movie was cast, where some of the ideas for a few of the more interesting scenes came from and what Wong wanted to do this third time out with the Franchise. New Line gives you the option of watching this mammoth piece in different sections (ten in total) or as one big super-documentary. Casual fans might find themselves skimming through it or fast forwarding in spots as it gets to be overkill almost in spots but for the dedicated Final Destination fans, this is heaven.
The last feature is called Severed Piece and like the Kill Shot documentary that came before it you can watch it in individual chunks or all at once, though this time out it adds up to about thirteen minutes of footage when it's all said and done. This section narrows down to a few specific aspects of the production, mainly effects work, pyrotechnics, miniatures and gore effects. Those who dig the 'how did they do that' aspect of filmmaking should enjoy this as it proves to be pretty interesting.
Rounding out the extra features on this release is an extended version of the scene at the police station, a couple of trailers and TV spots for the film, trailers for a few other New Line genre releases, animated menus, chapter stops, and for those who happen to be DVD-Rom equipped there's computer accessible goodies hidden away on the disc as well. It's all packaged in a two disc keepcase with a slipcase that fits on over top of it all.
So Final Destination 3 isn't reinventing the wheel, who cares! It gives us exactly what we'd expect from the third film in the series – some amazingly creative kill scenes, gore galore, gratuitous nudity and some twisted black humor. The story is a little kooky in spots but the movie delivers in the violence department and let's face it: that's what has made these films so popular in the first place. New Line's two-disc set looks and sounds great and has some excellent extras as well. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.