Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
The cover is fun, yes, fun. Would I have it as a poster on my wall? Yes. It’s got some life to it, but not that plastic kind of vibe. I am glad they didn’t go the route of making it look like so many of the ‘photo copied’ alternative band posters that are featured in the movie credits. They look cool, yes, but it’s better to limit the use of a once beloved form of poster art and not kill the joy of it completely by slapping it on DVD covers. The menu is basic but themed, nothing to get worked up about.
- 9 Deleted Scenes Including Alternate Opening – The extras are limited, so I’ll just say this, the deleted scenes are all good, but I do see why they removed them. It’s good to watch though, it gives a glimpse at what might have been a slightly different tone in the story.
- Fox Movie Channel Presents Writers Draft: Shauna Cross of Whip It – The writer of the original novel speaks VERY briefly about her roller derby experiences and how she came to write the story…and that’s it for the extras folks.
The Movie: 8/10
The movie is a feel good, fun to be had, optimistic story about a 17 year old girl finding herself on the verge of finding herself. You know what I mean, just admit it. It’s not a new story. We’ve seen, read, heard coming of age stories since the beginning of time, I suppose. This time there are a few subtle points of interest that help with the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of Whip It.
I really enjoyed Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat. They played a couple of friends who are so believable I totally bought it. I didn’t love Drew Barrymore (even though she was wearing the director and actor hat), or Zoe Bell. They both seemed very much “too cool for school” and over the top to fit into this otherwise grounded little comedy. That’s my new genre Fantasy-Comedy, a movie that takes a tweak above fiction to portray a life situation in a way that would never never never happen, adds some humor, and still makes the characters and situation somewhat identifiable..whew…put that on IMDB and smoke it!
What, or rather, who I love love love in this movie is Marcia Gay Harding. I wasn’t looking forward to Whip It! at all. I’ll be honest, it felt more like a chore than a movie watching good time, that was up until the first 5 minutes when Harding, as the mother of the rebellious teen makes a face at her daughter’s latest stunt that won me over. She just had to sigh and raise her eyebrow and I was hooked. It was all good from there, (minus the dodgy performances, or whatever you call it by some of the cast).
A teenage girl destined for pageants finds something else she wants to do, roller derby. The gang of women who are part of the rough and tumble world of roller skates and crazy names become a school of life for young Page, along with the standard tests of her friendship, a boy in a band, and finding out if you can defy your parents without breaking their hearts or getting lost in some other version of what your life is supposed to be.
The action sequences are pretty darn good. I felt like I was in the action most of the time. There was the odd moment here and there that felt like the camera person was just getting the snot knocked out of them and no one cared that it didn’t look that good, but hey, all for love of the rink!
I know everything about growing up, being a teenage girl, becoming my own person, but I did learn something from Whip It!, the rules of roller derby. So, now I can watch with confidence, and even maybe cheer on my favorite ballsy chicks who take to the oval of fish net stockings, sweat, tears, wheels, defeat, and triumph. Viva la obscure sports!!!
Audio & Video: 8/10 (By Ascully)
I was really pleasantly surprised by Whip It, the directorial debut from Drew Barrymore. It’s a story of girl power and making your dreams come true. Sure we have heard that story a million different times before but Whip It does it with enough style, drama, and fun it really comes across fresh.
The Blu-Ray from FOX comes in a 1080P 2.35:1 wide screen presentation, that while soft in parts mostly conveys the films theatrical vision. Colors are pitch perfect and flesh tones look great (there is plenty of serious lady eye candy here for the fellas, and Blu-Ray only enhances that.) Overall the picture quality is everything we have come to expect from a modern HD disc, no complaints here.
Whip It features a great soundtrack and the DTS-HD Master Audio track really brings it to life. The only complaint I do have is the surround speakers are not used as much as I would have liked. Considering the Roller Derby scenes are action packed and take place in a 360 degree arena it would have been nice for the sound stage to replicate that. Dialog is crisp and clear and when the punk rock/80’s soundtrack kicks in things really liven up. Whip It is quite the treat in HD if you like lovely ladies, Roller Skating, with a little drama thrown in for good measure you cant go wrong here.
The value for me comes with the question, would I watch it again? I would, however, that doesn’t mean I need it on my shelf right now. It’s an awesome weekend rental, popcorn in hand, best friend by your side. I would pair it with a few episodes from the first season of Square Pegs, just to get some perspective on the whole “girl friend power” thing.
Overall Score 7/10