Whip It (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama
Fox || PG13 - 111 minutes - $39.99 || January 26, 2010
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2010-02-08


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Drew Barrymore
Writer(s): Shauna Cross (novel); Shauna Cross (screenplay)
Cast: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis


Theatrical Release Date: October 2, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

To my knowledge, the only film in my year-plus of reviewing films for this website I’ve ever given 5 stars for film quality has been The Boondock Saints on Blu-ray. As you can obviously see, Whip It will be the second film in my time writing to earn the glorious five-star award for being an outstanding, funny, and entertaining film all rolled into one. Despite what you may or may not have heard, this is one tremendous flick that tanked in theaters but I can say that this is one flick that deserves to be watched by all. Oh, and Ellen Page has some incredibly hot scenes in this movie that even had me wishing I was a movie star in a movie with her. I’m much more attractive than Michael Cera, right?

Bliss (Ellen Page) is attending a beauty pageant that her mother Brooke (Marcia Gay Harden) is forcing her to participate in when she decides along with her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) to sabotage the performance by dying her hair blue. The trick works and she doesn’t win due to the fact she’s emo and hates the world and doesn’t see why her mother forces her to do things. Brooke, in a desperate attempt to buy her daughters love, takes her shopping to a “head” store for some clothes. Bliss ends up seeing a pamphlet for a roller derby and decides to go along with Pash to see the action. Upon viewing the roller derby team play, she meets Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig) who lets her know she should try out for the team. Bliss decides to but can’t tell her parents so she lies and is off to the tryouts.

Bliss makes the team, which consists of Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore), Rosa Sparks (Eve) and several others. The team quickly bonds, but Bliss has to lie to get into the group and says she’s 22 instead of 17, as though you have to be at least 21 to play in the league. She quickly makes friends except for the racers on the other team, including Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis), who quickly hates her for no reason. Bliss struggles at the start of the training, but eventually becomes the team’s best player while managing to juggle lying to her parents and keeping up with her budding social life with new boyfriend Oliver (Landon Pigg). Can the Hurl Scouts win the championship, or will Bliss’s dark secret be found out and she’s forced to quit the team?

Ellen Page is a phenomenal actress that I hope makes many more movies like these. She honestly plays the role of a love-struck teenager so well that she’s going to be typecast for a long time. I kind of want her to star in a horror film though at some point to see how it goes, but just not one where Diablo Cody directs. Page managed to “wow” me with her performance throughout the movie, both with a certain pool scene and a scene after, and also with the dialogue and the way she said every line. I honestly believed that she was her character Bliss the entire time, which is a chore that trust me, rarely happens. Not only is she an excellent actress, but the script writing here is great for her character and the rest of the cast. Major props also go out to the makeup and costume artists too, as though the tattoos, derby costumes, and everything else associated with those two jobs made the film actually seem real.

Barrymore caught a ton of flack for this flick not being good, but I must say that it’s completely the opposite. This being her directorial debut I had my sights set quite low and she managed to overturn my conviction of her within a few minutes. Barrymore’s character, as the stoner, is hilarious in every line she says throughout the film. The whole crew of the Hurl Scouts, including Wiig who is just jaw-dropping funny each time she’s on screen, also won me over once they were on-screen. Speaking of her directing, the flow of the movie is absolutely perfect. I never once checked my computer or phone to see what time it was when I was viewing the flick.

This is, in all seriousness, one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. I watch so many films they tend to blend together, and normally I’m not a fan of these types of flicks, but this is just one of those movies that caught me completely by surprise. Whip It deserves my highest recommendation for a film that you need to see if you’ve got one of those bucket list things. The humor is there, the flick is entertaining, and the pacing is set just right so as not to confuse the viewer or leave them bored.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Deleted Scenes (16 minutes): There are a handful of scenes available, including an alternate opening, for you to view through. I think they are worth watching as though they dive into the characters a bit more, although I can see that they were obviously cut due to runtime reasons. There’s also an alternate opening to the movie that is roughly the same as the opening to the film.

Fox Movie Channel presents Writer’s Draft: Shauna Cross of Whip It (3 minutes): Shauna Cross is interviewed about the movie and how the idea came to be. This is a great extra, although the quality is poor and the segment is incredibly short.

** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES **

The only exclusive available is a Digital Copy that does work with iTunes.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

This is a gorgeous transfer from Fox on a new release, although I’ve come to expect it from said company. Colors are absolutely phenomenal the entire flick, as I never noted any issues with colors being overblown or any color taking dominance over another. Contrast-wise though, I noticed just one small issue that kept this from being perfect. During some of the scenes, specifically the roller derby screens, I saw several shots with grain and noise plaguing them. The problem was that it wasn’t just a little bit of grain, but massive amounts that made the floor appear to be moving. That was in all honesty the only issue I have with this otherwise great transfer and I hope Fox keeps up the good work.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really is overkill but in a good way. Surround usage is used absolutely to perfection, as I noted many scenes sounding great despite the film’s lack of true action sequences. The scenes that did have action in them sounded excellent though, as all of my speakers were going off with audience applause, ambient noises, and the cast’s lines and other things involved with said scene. The issue I have with this track is that the dialogue is incredibly light, and at times I noticed some imbalances throughout the runtime of the film. I struggled at times to hear the cast’s lines at multiple times, mainly in dealing with Page and Harden scenes, which was really disappointing. I also had to tweak the audio upwards during dialogue scenes then down when the action started at the derby. If the film had a little “oomph” to the dialogue and a little more work on balancing then this would be a perfect track.



.::OVERALL::.

I loved the movie, the technical package is phenomenal, but the only thing keeping this from a perfect rating is the lackluster special features available. This is Barrymore’s directorial debut and no commentary from her and Page? Come on! That being said though, Whip It is a great flick that didn’t perform at the box-office but should be in your collection.