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Blu-ray Review: Whiteout

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 9:59 PM by Scott Jentsch

Front Cover ArtworkWhiteout
Blu-ray
Warner Home Video
101 Minutes

List Price: $35.99 (Check Price at Amazon.com)

This movie is also available from Amazon on DVD.

Available 1/19/2010

Rated R

Click here for additional movie details, including the full plot summary, cast listing, trailers and videos, photos, reviews of the movie, and links to the official movie web site and more.

  TheatricalThis Disc
Video Format:
Super 35 (35mm film)
1080p VC-1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 2.40:1
Audio:

Dolby Digital
DTS Digital
SDDS

Dolby TrueHD
Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Other:  

Movie: BD-25 (x1) BD-J
Digital Copy: DVD

Disc Contents

  • No Upfront Ads!
  • Movie
  • Extras
    • The Coldest Thriller Ever (12:02, 2ch VC-1 HD)
    • Whiteout: From Page to Screen (12:05 2ch VC-1 HD)
    • Deleted Scenes (4:14, 2ch VC-1 SD)

About the Movie

The wind hammers at 100 MPH. The temperature plummets to -120° F. Nature doesn't intend for people at Amundsen-Scott Research Station to survive Antarctica. Neither does a mysterious killer who has committed the first-ever murder on that most remote of continents -- and who will certainly kill again.

Underworld's Kate Beckinsale plays a U.S. Marshal plunged into shocking mystery and racing to solve it before being stranded with six months of winter darkness -- and a murderer -- closing in. Another key player is the stunning, wind-whipped icescape. One way or another, it will take your breath away.

How Does it Look?

Still from the movie (not an actual screenshot)

Overall, the video quality was pretty good. There were never any moments where artifacts marred the presentation, but the CGI "whiteout" charging across the Antarctic landscape looked a little cheesy.

How Does it Sound?

Here is where this title could have redeemed itself, but only really keeps from doing anything wrong. You have a barren environment with bitter cold wind, but for as much time as the characters spent outside in that environment, I never felt like I was out there with them.

The transition from the outside to the inside should be an opportunity to show how noticeable surrounds can be when they're not doing anything, but there wasn't any of that going on here.

What we do get is a soundtrack that conveys what the viewer is supposed to feel at any given moment. It's suitable for the type of movie, but subtlety is not in this soundtrack's vocabulary!

Extras

I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was disappointed to see that one was not included here. Being able to watch the trailer helps one to appreciate how the movie was marketed during its theatrical release, so this seems like a foolish omission from the extras. Given how different the trailer is from the movie it was advertising, maybe it's better that it wasn't included. If it had been, someone would have had to preface the video with an explanation of why the movie is so completely different from the movie that is being advertised in the trailer!

The extras we do have on this disc consist of two featurettes which present the standard behind the scenes stuff and some explanation that a graphic novel was again the inspiration for a feature-length movie (a la Watchmen). The two deleted scenes are short and don't do anything to add to the movie whatsoever.

Digital Copy

There is a second disc which contains a Digital Copy. Fans of the movie might enjoy the digital copy, as it would allow you to download the movie and enjoy it many times on your portable device. By inserting the disc into a Windows PC or Mac, you can obtain a digital copy of the movie for playback on your PSP, PC, Mac, or iPod. I didn't explore this option, so I can't comment on the picture or sound quality. The documentation says that the Digital Copy must be redeemed by 1/12/2011.

Other Aspects

This disc is BD-J formatted, and our PlayStation 3 was able to support auto-resuming the movie, even after the disc is ejected. This is one of the biggest usability problems with the Blu-ray format that studios need to recognize and support, so it's good to see that perhaps this tide is turning. Bookmarking is not supported.

Conclusion

This is a run-of-the-mill thriller whose most interesting character is the Antarctic setting. Rent if you must, but only hardcore Beckinsale fans will want to buy this to fill out their collections. If you're up for a parka movie, and you don't mind the unoriginality of it all, put this on your Netflix list and check it out for yourself!

Recommended Reading

Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the disc.

RentBuy


Check Prices on Amazon.com

A copy of this title was provided at no cost by the movie studio/distributor for the purpose of this review. No expectation of the results of this review were set as a condition of receiving the item.



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