The Blu-ray version has the added bonus of a 20 minute extra feature relating to a "Big Miracle in Alaska" which offers a revealing look at how the movie was made here in Alaska. It is one of the best "making of a movie" features you will find anywhere and is a must see for anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes mechanics of modern movie production.
Heretofore I've caught my share of small land locked salmon and trout in my neighborhood lake that was used for the setting of the opening Whale Hunt scene transformed into the Beaufort Sea. I was amazed to see in the movie though that we now have (or had) a whale in our lake through the magic of CGI (computer graphic imaging.) lol
As to the movie itself, I couldn't believe all the scenes that ended up getting cut including some that were in the trailer. At least our neighborhood Jewel Lake and the whaling boat with its crew on the lake were prominently shown in the opening scenes of the movie. (Drew's performance on the lake/arctic sea as part of the back story though didn't make it.)
It looks like they chopped other parts of her back story since in the promo shots they had her wearing yellow rain gear and holding a bucket which suggested they had planned to include the episode in Tom Rose's book describing the actual Greenpeace girl's efforts to save a Beluga Whale here near Anchorage by dousing it with water when it got stuck on the mudflats. (In that real life event she was almost drowned and her boyfriend ended up saving her life. True to her character as depicted in the movie, she had insisted to her boyfriend that her dog be saved first.)
One cool thing that I was hoping might make it into the movie, and which apparently did, were some of the really neat sunsets that we had during the filming on the ice field set. When I watched those sunsets from my office window I was curious if the cameraman filming below me might try to include some. You can see one such spectacular sunset caught by the cinematographer just as the story fades from the whaling captains' meeting to the ice field set with its animatronic whale surfacing from the ice hole below.
By way of review, I thought the character playing Malik, Nathan's grandfather, put on a masterful performance worthy of a supporting actor Academy nomination. To me the funniest scene in the movie was where Malik shut up the rambling Ted Danson's character by instructing the gathered Inupiats to start cheering. Although he is a well known Alaska Native performer here, this was his first movie role. The acting overall was quite good although some additional character development would have been welcome - obviously hard to do with the large cast and varied story lines that would have required adding more time than the editors were evidently allocated.
Another piece of movie making trivia, dozens of period (1988) cars were used to circle the block during the Anchorage Greenpeace Office scene toward the end of the movie. Only a single red Pontiac survived the cutting room table as it alone was visible through the window as Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski reunited inside the office. As a point of interest, the movie makers went to great lengths to make this a true period piece from costuming to cars as noted above.
Not to be missed in the DVD and Blu-ray are the extra features which are most interesting in depicting how the movie was made here in Alaska and the true-to-life happenings that were incorporated into the film. (Note, as referenced above, the Blu-ray version has an extra Extra that goes into even more detail on the making of the movie.)