Sunday, January 30, 2011

Worst of the Worst: #100, Whiteout

In which a clerk is typing up an important document, one that will change the history of the world, and makes an error. How quickly can he correct it?

No, that's not it.

In which we take a trip inside the Republican side of Congress to see how many minorities there are.

No, not right either.

Whiteout, the seventy-first movie I've seen on this list, is a murder mystery that takes place in Antarctica. When a scientist's body turns up in far away from the station at which he worked, a U.S. Marshal must find out who killed him before the killer gets her. In order to solve the mystery, she must battle the extreme elements.

Well, they're only sort of extreme. There's lots of talk in the movie about how cold it gets and how that can kill you but the marshal, played by Kate Beckinsale, never does cover her face up when she goes outside because Beckinsale is just too darn good-looking for that. Also, there are ropes all around the science stations so that people can find their way around during whiteout conditions. This leads to a number of scenes -- by which I mean a number greater than one -- in which suspense is derived from a character trying to change their caribiner from one rope to the next while being chased by someone also attached to the rope. How exciting is that?! In one such scene, being detached from the rope means you will immediately get blown away by the wind, yet when attached to the rope the people are able to move about easily. So, yeah, the elements are extreme, but only when convenient to the story.

There's much to be made about how isolated Antarctica is, yet an FBI agent just happens to show up at one point randomly. Would have made sense if he was the bad guy, but he wasn't. Just popped in, I guess. The only other Antarctica movies I can think of are The Thing, March of the Penguins, and Alien vs. Predator. So Antarctica movies are batting about .500 right now.

This one is mostly just boring, aside from the laziness in the writing. Yet another in the long line of thrillers where they've given you no reason to care about any character and therefore there is no reason to feel any suspense about anything. If she dies, she dies. Whatever. Her life sucks because she lives on Antarctica anyway.

Ostensibly, this is the "best" of the one hundred worst movies from 2000-09. It's not nearly the worst, but it's not the best of the movies I've seen so far. It's all relative, of course, but I'd probably give that honor to Broken Bridges (the Toby Keith family drama) or, yes, Boat Trip. Whiteout is somewhere below those two, but it is certainly better than -- as I beat this dead horse over and over -- Year One, which is the one movie that is not on this list but absolutely belongs on it. Maybe it was #101.

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