Whiteout (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

As the line from comic books (or graphic novels) becomes more and more closely aligned with that of Hollywood, odds are we’ll see more and more adaptations in the future. Now that’s fine as some of these are rather intriguing, but as we all know a good graphic novel (or book) doesn’t always make the best feature film. Then again we live in a world where a five minute skit on SNL has been made into a film and has grossed over $100 million dollars. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that pretty much anything is possible. Drifting away from the backstory, I’d like to focus on the star of “Whiteout”, the lovely Kate Beckinsale. Beckinsale has made quite a name for herself mainly starring in sci-fi and horror films, most notably the first two “Underworld” film as well as “Van Helsing”. Now I’ve no problem with an actress putting her best foot forward, but she’s rapidly becoming the Kate Hudson of the sci-fi genre. Naturally she’s quite easy on the eyes, and I’m certainly not one to give career advice but let’s just say that I could pretty much see a number of actresses in her role. Nevertheless, for those that missed “Whiteout” in theaters (and judging by its gross, many did) it’s now on Blu-ray and here’s what to expect…

Beckinsale plays U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko. Carrie has been assigned to Antartica after a series of flashbacks told us that she had some issues in Miami (talk about extremes). A body has been discovered and it looks like a murder, the first in the continent’s history, so it’s up to Carrie to figure out what happened. In addition to solving the murder mystery, they only have a few days to get out of base camp as the harsh Antartic winter is upon them and they’ve got to head out, less they’ll be trapped for six months in the dark. Together with federal agent, Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht) they’ve got to find out what happened and who’s to blame because, let’s face it, with only a limited amount of personnel at the camp, someone’s guilty.

“Whiteout” doesn’t cover too much new territory in regards to plot, in fact we’ve seen it all before time and time again. Is someone like the trustworthy doctor (Tom Skerritt) in on it or will it be the good-looking agent assigned to help with the case. No, the appeal of “Whiteout” seems to be the locale moreso than the actual telling of a story. The cast and crew did really shoot in extreme temperatures and the featurette on this Blu-ray does showcase that. I can only imagine how awful the shoot must have been and I’m reminded of a scene in “March of the Penguins” when you see penguins huddled together shaking. When you see that happen, you know it’s cold! Oh there’s a shower scene early on with Beckinsale, so if for no other reason than to see her in her underwear, I’d recommend this for a rental only.

Video: How does it look?

I can honestly say that “Whiteout” does deliver in terms of video quality and the filmmakers won’t be accused of false advertising. The 2.40:1 VC-1 HD transfer is among the most stark I’ve ever seen. There are literally dozens of shots of the outside with the entire screen being encompassed in nothing but white. Additionally there are a few scenes of the brilliant Antartic landscape which showcases the rugged beauty of the continent. Brilliant shots of the ice, glaciers and an untouched continent which most of us will never see. Contrast is on target and the balance seems a bit off, then again these actors were in extreme conditions so their windburn might have been real. Suffice it to say, the transfer is solid and a rather unique one at that.

Audio: How does it sound?

The uncompressed Dolby TrueHD soundtrack does have its moments, namely when the wind is whizzing during the outdoor scenes. All the speakers become engaged and it really does give for a nice 360 degree effect that makes you feel very closed in (or if you’re out in the blizzard). There’s also a nice plane crash at the beginning of the film that gives your LFE a workout and a few gunshots thrown in for good measure. On the whole it’s not a bad mix, but there are certainly better out there. Dialogue is very natural and strong, as is to be expected.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There aren’t too many features on this Blu-ray and those included aren’t that enticing. We get a couple of featurettes that follow the script and its journey to the screen as well as a look at the extreme filming conditions that the cast and crew had to endure. Some additional scenes are also included as well as a digital copy of the film.

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