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Whip It
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Sexual Content including Crude Dialogue, Language and Drug Material)

Running Time: 111 Minutes

Starring: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon, Daniel Stern

Screenplay by: Shauna Cross
Based on her novel

Directed by: Drew Barrymore

 

Studio: Fox

Retail Price: $39.99

Features: Deleted Scenes, Fox Movie Channel Presents Writer's Draft: Shauna Cross of Whip It, Digital Copy

Specs: 2.40:1 Widescreen 1080p High Definition, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection

Released: January 26th, 2010


 

 

"Whip It" is presented in 1080p High Definition, in a widescreen presentation with the theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1. This is a pretty superb transfer that definitely brings you into the world of roller derby and the characters, as there's a nice contrast between the more mundane aspects of Bliss's life and her time on the track. Color saturation is well done and doesn't smear, be it the greens of the derby costumes or the more drab colors of the Cavendar house. For the most part, colors are vibrant and stand out. Also excelling is detail, especially in the background — be it a party scene or the crowds at the games themselves. Black levels are solid, and flesh tones really hit the mark. For the most part the picture quality is sharp, but at times it can be a little on the soft side — something that I did not mind at all. The print used for the transfer is clean too. Nicely done. 

 

"Whip It" features a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track in English, and this is one rich mix when it comes to the roller derby matches. There is a depth to the sounds here, ones with real "pow" quality that make you feel you'll racing around the tracks with the women. Dynamic range is really tight, while panning and imaging are excellent. Subwoofer use also shows a nice amount of power, too. This means the crowds fill the sound stage, and you'll really hear all the rolling and rough-and-tumble action. These parts of the film can be rather discrete. Otherwise, dialogue is always clear, firm and crisp, and the music fills the speakers with much energy. This is a really satisfying mix with energy to spare.

Standard Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are in French and Spanish, plus there are subtitles in English and Spanish.
 




I'm pretty disappointed this Blu-ray release doesn't have more. I know the film wasn't a huge box office success, but I would have loved featurettes on actual derby girls, the actors training, the cast and crew giving their thoughts and most of all, a commentary. But alas, we'll have to make due...

There are 9 Deleted Scenes, one of which is an alternate opening. Otherwise, most are extended scenes that probably would have made the narrative feel bloated if kept in. In total, this is about 16 minutes worth of material.

Otherwise, there's Fox Movie Channel Presents Writer's Draft: Shauna Cross of Whip It. A mere 3 minutes, the screenwriter quickly takes us through her real-life inspiration for the movie and novel (Cross was actually on a roller derby team), and bringing the movie to Barrymore's Flower Films. Nice, but I wish there was a lot more to go on.

A Digital Copy is also included, plus an ad for the movie's soundtrack.
 

"Whip It" is a sharp and nimble directorial debut from Drew Barrymore, who definitely has talent behind the camera. The reviews were mixed, but I was surprised this film did not do better at the box office. Here's hoping it gains the audience it so richly deserves on DVD and Blu-ray, especially among younger girls. It's disappointing this release is lacking with supplements, but the movie sure looks and sounds good. Definitely make it a rental.