Thursday, February 4, 2010

Whip It Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 36.6 GB
Film Size: 32.6 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A

The Video
Whip It makes a Blu-ray debut with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. Being a new release film my expectations were quite high and the transfer does deliver quality wise. Like almost any new release, the print is clean of any dirt or scratches.

Fox has provided a very healthy encode that is free of any technical issues, rather its few issues come from the way the movie was filmed. Black levels in particular are generally solid, although at times I thought they could have been a bit inkier. In this situation I think it was due to the way certain scenes were shot, possibly lighting issues as well.

The film features some fantastically rich colors that really do leap off the screen, greens in particular stand out and impress. Aside from a few soft scenes the transfer features a good amount of detail and clarity that only comes with a high-def release.

Whip It is not a dazzling high-definition experience but it certainly looks about as good as one could expect from the movie. It’s free of any technical issues and looks as natural as can be. I’m sure viewers will be very satisfied by the results of this Blu-ray release. 8/10.

The Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and does a fairly good job as far as adding to the film. The roller derby events sound great, featuring a good amount of surround use and fantastic direction. The mix is front heavy, but the type of film that this is does not necessarily call for a surround sound experience.

Whenever the mix really needs to come to life it does, but quieter scenes do tend to feel much more front heavy and flat. Dialogue is really easy to understand and the film’s music is very lively as it comes through aggressively from the front left and right speakers.

I feel the mix does a good job at presenting everything in the film. While there are moments which could have been a bit more aggressive or could have used a few effects thrown in, this is definitely a very pleasing and easily satisfying track. The mix could have been much less effective, but there was clearly some hard work put into it. 8/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Deleted Scenes (16:15) (HD)
Nine scenes are included and are presented in high-definition.

Fox Movie Channel Presents (3:05) (SD)
Writer’s Draft: Shauna Cross of Whip It.
Whip It Soundtrack Spot (:32) (SD)

Disc 2:

Digital Copy of the film
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media.

There are not very many extras for Whip It at all; this is definitely disappointing as a behind-the-scenes featurette would have been very fun for this movie. A Digital Copy of the film is a nice addition, which I’m sure many will use. Overall though, it’s hard to get over the lack of featurettes. 4/10.

The Movie
Whip It has been highly advertised as the Directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, an actress who pretty much grew up her entire life as an actress. Drew Barrymore totally does it for me in films, I love her very fun spirit that she brings to her films and she is just very likable as a person.

So how did Drew Barrymore do as Director of a film? Much better than I anticipated. Whip It is based on the novel Derby Girl, which is written by screenplay writer Shauna Cross. The film stars Ellen Page who has become significantly more known since her role in the film Juno. In which she played Juno the pregnant teenager with a vocabulary that nobody quite gets.

In Whip It, Ellen Page plays Bliss Cavendar, a girl who really has no idea what she wants out of life (sounds sort of familiar to Juno). Her mother (Marcia Gay Harden) on the other hand has certain expectations from Bliss, which include beauty pageants and housewife aspirations.

While shopping with her mother for new shoes she comes across a bunch of totally rebellious but fun roller derby girls, which make her a bit curious. She ends up attending a derby event and realizes what she has been missing and eventually joins a Derby team called ‘The Scouts.’

Joining the team does not come without its problems, including jeopardizing her relationships with her family and friends. The movie is a very fun comedy and drama about growing up and doing what makes you happy.

The movie is not perfect, with Ellen Page who often times feels like she is reprising her role as Juno for this movie. Aside from a few complaints I think many viewers will find themselves surprised by just how enjoyable the film is. This is a great Directorial debut from Drew Barrymore, but she also had a great story to work with. Regardless I am excited for what she plans to do next. 8/10.

Blu-news Summary
The Blu-ray release is great, featuring very strong video and audio presentations. Extras are certainly lacking though, but at least nothing is missing from the DVD release. Overall Whip It on Blu-ray is ‘Recommended.

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