Monday, July 19, 2010
Whiteout: Attack of the Sub-Par Comic Adaptations
So let's take Whiteout, based on the Greg Rucka (Hellboy, Batwoman: Elegy) series of the same name. Right off the bat, studio execs didn't like the idea of two female leads, and so scriptwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber wrote in a male replacement into their screenplay. Apparently the studios were afraid that the movie would not draw large audiences if the film had two females in the leading roles. Apparently, these studio folks forget the critical success of Thelma and Louise. Not that it matters much, as in the film there isn't a scene not involving US Marshall Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale), often with no other speaking characters around. She's pretty much the movie's compass, with others having little to add to the scenery of the film.
All the while, a large storm approaches the base, threatening to leave anyone not gone when it hits stranded for the winter. It's here that Whiteout gets it's name, from the storm in which you can't see anything in front of you and you can freeze to death in seconds. It's this phenomena that may be the scariest villain of the film. If you get confronted by the ax-wielding murderer, you might get away unscathed. If you get caught outside by the whiteout, it's over. This however also leads to the biggest disappointment of the film; The snow effects are terrible. Both real and fake snow were used in the filming of the movie, but unfortunately it's extremely easy to tell the two apart. Certain sections (including a big outdoor storm scene) fail to look the slightest bit realistic, and in this type of movie, you need those effects to look their best, because the rest of the movie needs a distraction.
There's little to the special effects or the story, so acting has to save this movie, right? Sorry, no. Though Beckinsale does everything right in her lead role, the supporting roles are played by little-known actors such as Gabriel Macht and Colombus Short, and not because they're such great unknown actors. It's not their fault, really, it's just that the characters outside of Stetko are given so little, there's no real character for the other actors to cling to. Even Tom Skerritt is underused, as the scene-chewing ability he's gained from almost fifty years of movie making are largely unneeded here.
For a film that took almost ten years and three production companies to make and at one time had Reece Witherspoon in the lead role, I was still largely hopeful for this movie. But Kate Beckinsale has a reputation for picking poor films (Underworld, for all it's leather catsuit fun, was by far the best and hardly a great film, and I still want to see Vacancy) that is exacerbated by this one. I didn't have a bad time watching Whiteout, but I can't in good faith recommend it to anyone else, certainly not if you've already read the graphic novel. Even if you haven't, I'd recommend you read instead of watch, and leave it at that. Then watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine. See, now there was a FUN comic book adaptation.
Just as a note: I'm going to start taking recommendations for future posts of The Latest Issue. I'm still getting by with my own concepts, but if anyone has anything they want to recommend me to see, whether movie, game, comic or even book, you might see it in the future here on the site! For recommendations, just pop me an e-mail (it's in my profile) and thanks in advance for your contribution! I'd be nowhere without the people reading, and it's for you all that I'm still writing at all. So thanks again!