New and noteworthy experiences among home video, games, gadgets and the Web.
In 1988, people from many backgrounds stumbled upon a unifying goal. What issue could possibly ally Greenpeace activists and oil executives, even Reagan and Gorbachev? "Big Miracle," based on a true story, has the answer: three whales.
Starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski, the film opens with a TV reporter hard at work, uncovering the fluffiest of feature stories in Alaska. He stumbles upon three gray whales that have become trapped under ice. Without human intervention, the whales will be dead in days.
His news flash brings an influx of visitors to the Arctic Circle. Each has his or her interests in mind, but all ultimately agree to help figure out how to save the whales. Politics are politics, however, when the last resort turns out to be Soviet aid. Cold War-era bonding over whales? It would sound utterly absurd if it weren't based on fact.
The DVD and Blu-ray (Universal, $30-$35) include commentary by director Ken Kwapis, deleted scenes and featurettes.
Also out on video Tuesday
VIDEO GAMES: Shooter comes up short
The side-scrolling shooter "Akai Katana" ($40 for Xbox 360; rated Teen) is alive with blazing lasers and explosions, yet it has one massive flaw: The game lasts less than 90 minutes, perhaps even under an hour depending on your skill level. Animated feature films have a longer running time and cost about a fourth of the price.
The goal is to blast away freely, all the while avoiding a kitchen sink's worth of bullets and bombs being hurled at you. Complicated gaming lives somewhere else. You choose from one of several World War II-era planes. After that, you dodge, weave and hammer your trigger buttons until your fingers are sore.
If "Akai Katana" were an inexpensive Xbox Live offering, it would get top marks. But $40 is too steep for a game offering so little in the long term, making it a weekend rental at best.
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Let's Play Hockey Expo
Latest equipment, new products and demonstrations from more than 350 exhibitor booths, celebrity visits, door prizes, hockey school and camp information, free skate sharpening and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. RiverCentre Convention Hall, W. 7th St. and Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. 651-265-4800.