Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
Ascully loves this cover. Me, not so much. I find it a bit blah to be honest. I do like that it’s not some action shot from the movie, so that’s a bonus. I just don’t really appreciate that the cover makes a promise of something interesting, edgy maybe, and then doesn’t deliver. OH, and is that Kate Beckinsale? It could be anybody with as much fiddling they did with her face for this cover art.
- The Coldest Thriller Ever – This is a talking heads kind of extra that covers a lot of the stunts, special effects, and other behind the scenes bits and pieces. It’s not very long and does offer a lot of information that explains why the movie looks the way it does and even shows me that more went into the film than I might have thought:)
- Whiteout: From Page To Screen – This is an interview with the author and artist who wrote/drew the original graphic novel the story came from. It’s fairly informative, gives us an animated few slides from the book and fills in more about the main character than we get from the movie.
- Additional Scenes – A couple of deleted scenes that wouldn’t have really made much difference in the final movie.
The Movie: 5/10
I’m giving Whiteout an average score, and it’s a tad generous. I’ll be very honest It isn’t one of my most memorable flicks of recent history. First, the good news, it’s a great idea. I LOVE anything to do with cold Antarctic stuff. A murder mystery in a frozen tundra is awesome…or it could be.
The bad news is that almost everything else about the movie is unsatisfying and quite forgettable. The cast is serviceable, if not a bit dull. The special effects are ugh, well, sometimes let’s just say it’s a harsh reality that even now some movies and their green screening are not up to a certain standard. I could have sworn the entire movie was done on a sound stage, but NO, a lot of it was filmed in a frozen area, and STILL looks quite fishy.
There is a fight scene in a blinding snow storm while some of the characters are tethered to a guide line between buildings, this is one of my favorite scenes. It’s not got a good special effects look, sorry to say, but it’s more interesting than a lot of other fight scenes I’ve seen in my life. The problem is, even this scene I like, is too too long.
I feel like they made a big effort with this movie and something went wrong. I don’t know if it was in the editing, or they just didn’t make it dark enough, gritty enough, something is missing. I don’t care about the characters, who suffer from a severe case of 2 dimensionality. I don’t feel any peril at all because it’s blindingly obvious where the antagonist falls into place. The saving grace for me is the cold, the blowing snow, the isolated base away from civilization.
More bad news is the story is so predictable that it’s hard to get your mind to keep on track through all those uninteresting scenes. When you figure out the whole story in the first 10 minutes and the movie isn’t great, well, your mind wanders.
I wouldn’t write off Whiteout completely, even though I sound pretty down on it. I do like the setting, that feeling of isolation and seclusion, those are some of my favorite elements of some movies. It’s just kind of necessary to say that it’s not enough for me to like the whole movie.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Let’s forget what I thought about the movie (forget being the operative word) Whiteout on Blu-Ray actually fairs quite well on Blu-Ray. Let me rephrase that, Whiteout’s audio fares quite well while the video is all over the place. There are scenes which are shot in harsh conditions that you can excuse for looking murky and soft, but there are also scenes that are obviously filmed on a sound stage and look really washed out. Check out some of the scenes with Beckinsale talking to Skerrit, he looks sharp and defined the way a HD transfer should and she looks scrubbed and blurry as though she has a film of Vaseline over her face. This is quite weird and is obviously a sign of DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) being applied to the film.
Audio uses the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 codec and uses it quite well, this isn’t standout material but the soundtrack does manage to make you feel the extreme weather the characters are suffering through. There are some interesting pans that move around the rear speakers in the final act of the movie, on the other hand speech is a little muffled in some areas.
I’m not a fan of the movie, so I’m not a good judge of whether it’s a good value or not. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that someone rent it. Someone will really dig it, but I’m not good at singing the praises of a movie I’m not really into. I say rent it if you like action and a good idea. I say rent, but then I think watching it on cable might be the way to go, if you want to wait that long:)
Overall Score 5/10