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The Final Destination
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
Brian Tyler

Co-Orchestrated by:
Dana Niu
Robert Elhai
Brad Warnaar
Andrew Kinney
Pakk Hui

Performed by:
The Czech Philharmonic

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
August 25th, 2009

Also See:
Eagle Eye

Audio Clips:
1. The Final Destination (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

4. Nailed (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

21. The Movie Theater (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

23. The Final Destination Suite (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.


The Final Destination

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Buy it... if you've waited through the decade of the 2000's for an overdue commercial album of Shirley Walker's music for the first three Final Destination films, for Brian Tyler competently incorporates her structures and tone into his own remake score.

Avoid it... if you expect to hear the unexpected, because there's likely a limit to the intelligence that a film like this can inspire in any composer.

The Final Destination: (Brian Tyler) One mainstream movie reviewer, upon witnessing the spectacle of bloody mayhem in this, the fourth installment of the Final Destination franchise, referred to the film as "death porn in 3D." The "death porn" part has been integral to each of the four films, but New Line Cinema and the writer and director of the second Final Destination film decided to revisit the topic to try to impress audiences by creatively killing characters in a 3D format that allows the blood splattering to be thrown right at the viewer. Not unexpectedly, the 2009 version of Final Destination (now doing without appended sequel numbers to purpose even the slightest of originality) was absolutely thrashed by critics, some major ones refusing to dignify it with any review at all. For those unfamiliar with the general premise of the films in this franchise, all you need to know is that a group of young eye candy (sometimes in wet clothesÉ shocking!) cheats death by evading an accident that was meant to kill all of them. One of these dorks has premonitions about death coming to seek them out one by one, and they ignore him at their own peril. Each one is subsequently brutally murdered in accidents that do indeed fit the descriptor of "death porn." Unfortunately, anyone who has enough of a brain to get hung up on fallacies of logic will find only one redeeming aspect of The Final Destination: its brief, 75-minute running time. Those who think that auto racing is an asinine activity might get a chuckle out of it, too. Regardless of its incredible stupidity, the 2009 film did well enough at the box office in its first week to grant it a place alongside the previous three variants of the 2000's. All of those predecessors were scored by composer Shirley Walker, who defied her appearance (which otherwise would have indicated that she was too sweet a grandmother figure to even view films like these) by writing occasionally impressive, mean-spirited orchestral force for the concept. Her music for Final Destination at the start of the decade was a brutal powerhouse of an orchestral score, providing the production with an intelligent set of motifs that were explored in different stylistic forms in the two sequels. She died of a stroke at age 61 not long after completing Final Destination 3 in 2006, however, and the franchise was stripped of perhaps its only intellectual element.

For the 2009 3D retelling of Final Destination, the production turned to the capable Brian Tyler to further explore new stylistic territory while making substantial use of the structures and tone of Walker's music. Such assignments have become all too common in Tyler's career in the late 2000's. From Rambo and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem to Fast & Furious and The Final Destination, Tyler has spent more than his fair share of time establishing and re-establishing the sounds of franchises past their expiration date. His ability to approach these scores intelligently and provide adequate if not strikingly overachieving recordings is testimony to his immense talents. His extension of Walker's sound in Final Destination is keenly astute, proving again that he is a man who does his homework. But for films like this, does such an effort really matter? Why bother? In this case, there is one compelling reason, and it relates to an affection for Walker's contribution to the industry. In essence, what Tyler has provided for The Final Destination is something of a tribute to Walker, going so far as to revisit several of her constructs in a lengthy suite recorded just for the album. Her descending main theme on low strings is the centerpiece of Tyler's score, mutated into even an explosive hard rock variant in the opening piece. In Final Destination 2, Walker started taking the theme in hip electronic directions, and Tyler does the same with the aid of slight electronic rhythmic devices that expand the scope of the otherwise mostly orchestral recording. Tyler references this theme frequently, though less utilized is the counterpoint that Walker sometimes placed over the top of it. Perhaps more memorable from Walker's score was an intensity from the percussion section, with pounding drums and slapping treble effects often punctuating the death scenes with a fierce tone. Tyler, always seemingly enthusiastic to let rip with varied arrays of drums, follows this template as well. On top of that, Walker often used whining, scratchy strings as a tool for dissonance with which to represent the suspense of the premonitions, and Tyler once again reprises that technique (producing the same effect as in his Timeline score). Some of the motifs are different here; instead of Walker's three-note death theme (from key down a note and back up to key), Tyler employs a more standard minor third alternation for the same purpose.

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Outside of the few cues in which Tyler takes the score in a more contemporary direction (highlighted by the opening piece but extending into soft pop variants in cues of solace or pondering), it's difficult to distinguish a distinctive new personality from Tyler specifically for this film. The Walker material is so recognizable that perhaps Tyler was at a disadvantage in these regards, and the score functions well enough without a fiery new, memorable motif. This is, after all, a remake. As per usual, Tyler does provide a few genuinely ass-kicking action cues that merit some attention for his enthusiasts in the film music collecting community. The suite at the end of the product is a fantastic summary of the franchise that starts to go beyond Walker's otherwise dominant material (it would have been nice to hear the plaintive, solo trumpet counterpoint from the "Main Title" of Final Destination reprised at the end of this suite, though). But the highlight of the applied music in The Final Destination is "The Movie Theater," which, despite some slightly obnoxious synthetic effects in its ranks, is about as ballsy an orchestral ruckus as you will hear. Some will hear too much of the industrial, staccato pounding familiar to Hans Zimmer's clones in this piece, but in this recording, as well as the rest of the score, Tyler maintains enough organic layers to keep the environment from becoming synthetically stale. In some cues, hearing Tyler's take on the franchise's music is equivalent to hearing David Arnold's take on the vintage James Bond style. Some listeners will best appreciate Tyler's more contemplative side, which explores some seemingly unique thematic material of sensitivity that can be heard in "Memorial," "George is Next," and other light, typically keyboarded respites from the shrieking, bombastic horror. Ultimately, the score for 2009's The Final Destination is a nice tribute to Shirley Walker and her life and career cut so very short. None of her three scores for this franchise were released, and there will undoubtedly be some collectors who wish that those works had been pressed onto a retail CD instead of this entry. But in the absence of such treatment, Tyler's recording is an adequate replacement, competently handling the subject while very carefully maintaining Walker's material for a brief resurrection. But the heights possible with this assignment were inherently limited, and while time is on his side, Tyler does need to carry his talents into a higher level of industry intellect. His knowledge base and capabilities are too valuable to spend his career toiling with the embarrassing likes of The Final Destination. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Brian Tyler reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.28 (in 26 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.06 (in 13,568 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.86 Stars
Smart Average: 2.91 Stars*
***** 34 
**** 57 
*** 75 
** 64 
* 49 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   I want the first three scores.
  hewhomustnotbenamed -- 9/4/09 (2:41 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 64:23

• 1. The Final Destination (2:56)
• 2. The Raceway (3:07)
• 3. Memorial (2:46)
• 4. Nailed (3:22)
• 5. Nick's Google Theory (1:30)
• 6. Revelations (2:28)
• 7. Raceway Trespass (1:39)
• 8. Stay Away From Water (2:38)
• 9. Flame On (1:43)
• 10. Moment of Joy (1:17)
• 11. Signs and Signals (2:51)
• 12. George is Next (1:12)
• 13. Car Washicide (3:05)
• 14. Newspaper Clues (1:57)
• 15. Premonition (1:50)
• 16. The Salon (3:53)
• 17. Questioning (1:04)
• 18. Death of a Cowboy (2:08)
• 19. Gearhead (1:56)
• 20. Sushi for Everyone (2:53)
• 21. The Movie Theater (3:03)
• 22. You Can't Dodge Fate (1:28)
• 23. The Final Destination Suite (13:29)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Final Destination are Copyright © 2009, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/31/09 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2009-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.