WHITE HOUSE DOWN Blu-ray Review

     November 28, 2013

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This year saw two films attempt to take down the White House, with the most recent being disaster master Roland Emmerich’s White House Down.  Although he famously destroyed the entire Presidential residence in one blow in 1996’s Independence Day, Emmerich treats the title structure with much more reverence and care this time around.  (Don’t worry, he still beats the hell out of it.)  Equally bloodied and bruised are White House Down‘s heroic duo, played by Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, who must take down the threat inside the Oval Office while rescuing the hostages trapped inside.  It’s one of Emmerich’s most entertaining films to date, and now that it’s available on Blu-ray, you can check it out for yourself in your very own home.  Hit the jump for my review.

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Although Emmerich may be best known for obliterating the White House, he takes his time doing so in White House Down.  Rather than being an action centerpiece, the famous residence sets the stage for nearly all the action in the film, as Capitol policeman John Cale (Tatum) traverses its secretive interiors to rescue the President (Foxx) and save his young daughter (Joey King).  Emmerich certainly knows how to wreak havoc throughout the course of a movie, but he always takes time to develop his characters and gives the actors ample opportunity to really show some emotion.  While some of the plot points may come across as predictable and flat, White House Down is a fun ride that never takes itself too seriously, and is most worthy of the comparison “Die Hard in the White House”.  Matt also reviewed the film when it played in theaters, so check out his thoughts here.

Special Features

Gag Reel (~5 minutes)

A Dynamic Duo (~5 minutes) – A behind-the-scenes featurette centering on Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx’s characters and partnership. Shows just how much they liked to joke around during the shoot, keeping it light.

The Beast (~5 minutes) – Behind-the-scenes look at the design and creation of the Presidential limo, “The Beast”.

Men of Action (~5 minutes) – Behind-the-scenes featurette on the stunt sequences and the people involved in bringing them to the screen.

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The Full Arsenal (~5 minutes) – A look at the myriad weapons and vehicles used in the film.

VFX Boundaries Down (~5 minutes) – A featurette that shows the process of creating visual effects used in the film.

The Inside Story (~3 minutes) – A look at the earliest beginnings of the film: the script, acquisition by Sony, landing Roland Emmerich, starting the casting process and putting together an insane production schedule.

Presidential Treatment (~5 minutes) – Recreating the buildings, landscapes and vehicles associated with the President through visual effects.

Lights, Camera, Heart-Pumping Action (~5 minutes) – A nice spotlight on the film’s director of photography, Anna J. Foerster, and examples of her work throughout the picture.

Roland Emmerich – Upping the Ante (~5 minutes) – Focuses on the director’s return to action and his repeat visit to the White House.

Crashing the Oval Office (~5 minutes) – A behind-the-scenes look at a climactic sequence in the film in which a Suburban drives into the Oval Office, and all the preparation that went into it.

Drowning the Beast (~3 minutes) – Creating the landscape around the pool scene and prepping to film the sequence where the Presidential limo crashes and flips into the water.

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Recreating the White House (~10 minutes) – Building the White House from images and what little information they were able to get their hands on, including talking to various professionals involved in protecting the White House and President.

Meet the Insiders (~5 minutes) – A behind-the-scenes featurette on the supporting cast of characters in the film and the actors who play them, including Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, Jason Clarke, Joey King, and Nicolas Wright.

The special features are pretty standard, but there’s a lot of content here for fans of the film who just want to see more.  White House Down is a worthy addition to your library if you liked the movie, and worth the rent if you are on the fence.

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