Lately, this reviewer has begun to wonder when a film has been adapted from a "graphic novel," or "comic book series," as to why the story, script adaptation and overall film haven't been better. If everything begins with the "story," shouldn't producers be careful in selecting "great" graphic novels? Could anyone really consider "WHITEOUT" a great comic series? Even as far as graphic novels go, or comic books, it's hard to believe there's anything original or transcendent in the original source material of "WHITEOUT" in the way there was with "WATCHMEN."
Kate Beckinsale stars as US Deputy Marshal Carrie Betko, whom along with a UN Agent, pair up to find a murderer within the extremely dangerous environment of a base in Antarctica. Soon enough, they find a Russian plane buried deep in the snow. It had been carrying cargo that many, apparently are willing to kill for. In the opening sequence, the most action-packed scene of the film, we view the original crew of the plane, and it actually suggests a gripping film to follow. Unfortunately, nothing that occurs lives up to the opening moments and none of the "revelations" are either surprises or above average in the way they're handled. In fact, an average episode of CSI: MIAMI is better executed and even more suspenseful! "WHITEOUT" doesn't even take advantage of the inherent exploitation factors within it, opting to tease viewers with unnecessary titillation, but pulling back without any rhyme or reason. Early on, Beckinsale is tracked, removing her weaponry, badge, clothes,etc. as she moves(naked from behind)into a shower!?! What? Why? Director Dominic Sena has visual prowess, but unfortunately, as with all of his previous films, he never gets to secure a great script! The potential for great payoffs is jerked around throughout "WHITEOUT," mostly due to Sena, but it never amounts to anything. Perhaps his obvious visual style will continue allowing him to make films, but it's a shame no one seems ready to give the guy a decent property to work with.
WARNER BROS has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this VC-1 1080p blu-ray. Colors are solid throughout, and detail, in various scenes, is fantastic. However, the level of detail varies significantly from scene-to-scene! Some moments, the image is no better than the 16:9 enhanced dvd! Other moments offer stunning depth and reference quality detail, within inherently tough lighting scenarios! While there are no artifacts, for the most part, a lot of the image is only on par with the dvd counterpart. Sure, when it's great, it's really great! But, one expects much more consistent quality with blu-ray, than what's achieved here.
WARNER BROS has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. The aggressive mix immerses the viewer in the way one wishes the story could! From beginning to end, surround, LFE and a powerful(if overwrought) score balance with only minor flaws in dialogue clarity. It's a really good mix, falling short of reference quality due to a few moments, outdoors, where dialogue is lost and subtitles were necessary. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix found on the dvd, while aggressive, never comes close to offering the immersive environment achieved on the Dolby TrueHD mix.
Two brief, uninvolving deleted scenes are offered as extras, but only in standard resolution for both formats. The two featurettes are dull, but offered in HD for blu-ray and standard resolution(of course)on dvd.