I make no attempt to hide that I am a Nathan Fillion fan. Heck, I watch movies he’s in even if I’ve no desire to see it (case in point, Waitress) and it all stems from his work in Serenity. Sure, that may lead me to watching some horrible pieces of work that he may be involved in, but in the case of White Noise 2 is a mixture of entertainment and disappoint. However, those of you thinking it was some “shoddy DTV sequel” will want the drop the word “shoddy” from that previous quotation.
While it never saw a proper stateside release, White Noise 2 was released overseas to little fanare. While it seems to have been received better in some respects than the original White Noise (with Michael Keaton), the film manages to entertain with the hour and a half it fills your screen. There’s plenty of things to enjoy about White Noise 2, but don’t be prepared to jump out of your seat in terror—the scary images that made the original White Noise trailer so exciting are few and far between, which makes White Noise 2 more about the near death experience element, rather than the spooky angle.
It’s hard to be too disappointed with White Noise 2; while I’m sure there are fans of the original (there had to be in order for this sequel to happen), the film is essentially a DTV release in the states and that in of itself will raise questions about its quality. In many respects the film feels like a grand made-for-TV film, made more epic by its 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Even with its mediocrity and confusion at times, the film is enjoyable on its own level, although there are quite a few aspects of it that will leave viewers scratching their heads.
The first element of the film I had issues with was the death of the doctor who explained to Abe Dale (Nathan Fillion) about the visions and white light he was seeing. While the glowing aura around the doctor is revealed, later in the film, to be because of his impending death, one would think they could’ve done in a way that didn’t throw Dale for the loop it did. Then again, had the doctor not died the story would’ve taken an entirely different turn and we wouldn’t have gotten to see Dale discover the things on his own and the consequences they held.
The other elements of the film I didn’t like were the more confusing ones. I’m all about watching films and trying to dissect and think about them afterwards (I’d just recently watched Donnie Darko for the first time and that movie throws you for a serious loop), but White Noise 2 seemed to have a bit of a rushed ending. While I won’t give away the ending here for those that want to see the film, it’s just a bit too confusing to wrap ones head around. The lack of commentary on the film leaves everything even more ambiguous.
Having said that, there were things that I found enjoyable; Fillion created a character that managed to retain some humor after the brutal murder of his wife and son, but the rest of the cast were all two dimensional, only there for Dale’s support. Thus once the other characters came face to face with danger, it found myself not caring about their fate.
And, of course, considering the giant Firefly fan I am, I cannot let the reference to the show go unmentioned. During a discussion with Abe and his friend, his friend uses the phrase “Captain Tightpants” in a rant about Abe suddenly sounding like some kind of superhero. “Captain Tightpants”, of course comes from one of the episodes in the Firefly series. I smiled for a good two to three minutes after the joke had passed, if only because it’s nice to see the show referenced in Fillion’s other works, even if the references are only in passing.
Overall White Noise 2 is a decent romp in the world that the first film created, with a few noticeable differences. It is a “sequel” to White Noise in every sense of the word, escalating and changing things around enough that the two are able to stand alone. Regardless if you’re a fan of Fillion, however, the film does have it’s flaws and I doubt anyone would be up for repeat viewings, so a Rental rather than a purchase would be wise for this one.
Arriving in a standard amaray DVD case, White Noise 2 has a reflective foil and embossed slipcover that attracts the eye with its “white noise” imagery. Inside are an advertisement for HD-DVD and the disc which contains no disc art and is the standard Universal “mirror surface” fare. Menus for the film are static and easy to navigate, while a solid video and audio transfer accompany. Little compression is noticeable in the film and the audio, a 5.1 Dolby Surround mix, does a fine job of engrossing the viewer.
Moving onto the extras we have twelve deleted scenes (33:06) all letterboxed in a 4:3 frame. There are quite a few scenes here that explain some of the events in the film a bit better, but the majority are nothing mindblowing. If you want to understand the film a bit better then these scenes are recommended viewing—otherwise, skip em’.
Next we have three featurettes, all in anamorphic widescreen. First is “Exploring the Near-Death Experience” (14:56) which interviews professionals in the field. This is actually more interesting than the film itself as it goes onto talk to those who have had near-death experiences. Sure, we’ve seen this on countless TV specials over the years, but it’s always interesting to hear from the survivors, regardless if you believe them or not.
“The Making of White Noise 2” (8:36) is next and is a lighthearted look into the making of the film. Plenty of great jokes from Fillion accompany this extra, but it’s the next extra, “Journey into Madness” (6:00) that has Fillion cracking the most jokes. Going through an a haunted asylum, Fillion remarks that every room in the building was used for lobotomies and shock treatment, while later in the featurette they explore an incredibly dark and dank stretch of tunneling under the building that is more frightening to watch than the film.
While the film could have benefitted from a commentary, the DVD extras for this film are adequate when compared to the film. I doubt the film will make any new fans of the series, but who knows—perhaps I’ll be writing a review of White Noise 3: Even More Noise in a year. Rent it.