On the plus side, the print is reasonably detailed and colours are rich and solid, with a pleasing level of saturation and natural looking skin tones (the colours during the school speech are an excellent example of this). The New Zealand vistas look stunning, if a little soft at times, with long distance shots in particular suffering here. Edge enhancement is ever present and though not overly distracting, I still noticed it frequently where objects and characters are framed against the sky.
Overall the transfer is functional but doesn't shine in any way: though the grain may have also been present in the theatrical presentation, other areas of disappointment are unforgivable.
Initial impressions may fool you into thinking that the subwoofer won't get a workout (or your main speakers for that matter), but there are a few surprising moments which will wake up even the sleepiest of viewers. The “whale” scenes late in the film contain some extremely deep bass moments which many subwoofers will cower at when played at reference volumes, and where particularly we hear car engines and music at different points, the channels really come alive with a dynamic kick that really lends weight to the mix.
Overall we have a competent soundtrack, that does exactly what it needs to.
Next up is a reasonable 27 minute documentary - “Behind the Scenes of Whale Rider” which contains interviews with all the main players including the writer of the original novel on which the film is based, followed by a selection of deleted scenes with commentary by Caro (all of them are passable to be honest), and a documentary entitled “Te Waka: Building the Canoe” which whilst vaguely interesting, is hardly essential viewing.
Whale Rider: The Soundtrack contains isolated elements of the score which works well, and wrapping up the package are a selection of trailers and TV spots and a photo gallery.
An interesting and rewarding movie with a unique perspective, the DVD is let down by a below average video transfer, but otherwise impresses.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.