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Encounters at the End of the World [Blu-ray]

Werner Herzog , Scott Rowland , Werner Herzog    G (General Audience)   Blu-ray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 12.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Herzog's Antarctica Dec 29 2008
By Martin A Hogan TOP 500 REVIEWER
Werner Herzog is one of those unique directors that never give you quite what you expect, but always satisfy. This film, in amazingly clear and crisp "blu-ray" makes you feel as if you are on Antarctica and underwater. In fact, you feel every scene as Hertoz has a talent of pulling you into the picture. There is no dispute that a blu-ray player and a good flat screen television is just about as great an experience that you can achieve nowadays and Herzog takes it to task.

The scenes are massive in scale and include glaciers, mountains, underwater breathtaking scenes, human interaction and a thorough dissection of the land and the people that occupy this one outpost. Hertoz narrates the film with not just his comments on the amazing scenery, but his personal interactions with the people living there to study. There is plenty of heartbreaking and amazing history throughout the film (i.e., Shackleton's journey). The characters are both normal and odd. Traveling to this location in a huge specialized plane shows the crew in each of their unique positions; sleeping in bags on the floor, strapped into less than comfortable looking chairs, tents set up inside the aircraft, conversations both normal and strange. At times explaining their interest in the areas conditions and their own methods of survival - some of which are quite funny, if the consequences of dying were not so real.

The cinematography is the real star here and with copious amounts of blue and white surrounding you, the feeling is surreal. There are no cute penguins or whales, just great shots of bizarre looking starfish that move and clams that snap open and shut as they travel through the water. The underwater visibility is impeccably clear. The ice cutting, severe wind and blizzards make the experience real. This is another place with unique individuals all filmed in magically and frightening real circumstances.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Only Way Most of Us Will See It May 11 2009
Since I suspect I'll never get to Antarctica, this was a good way to experience it. Werner Herzog's film is both breathtaking and surprising, showing us the many different sides of the continent. The underwater footage is hauntingly beautiful, while the scenes of human habitation are almost sickening, with massive earthmovers digging up Antarcitica's soil as though carving into its body. Herzog didn't want to "make another penguin movie" and he has achieved his goal. His footage of penquins runs in sharp contrast to what we generally see, and I defy anyone to remain emotionless as they view it. His interviews with some of the South Pole residents -- and there are about 1100 of them -- illustrate Herzog's unique take on what makes people interesting. From the descendant of Aztec royalty to the linguist who has established himself on the only continent without an indigent language, the people Herzog encounters are remarkable. The only weakness I would comment on is Herzog's narration. His delivery is quite deadpan and the accent is difficult in a few instances. However, it reminds us that this was, indeed, Herzog's own experience, and his words reflect his emotions and interpretations as he filmed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Full of odd questions ("Is there such a thing as insanity in penguins?"), Werner Herzog lands on the ice runway at McMurdo base in Antarctica for five months devoid of night. McMurdo looks like an ugly mining settlement (reminds me a bit of Norwegian Arctic towns like Alta and Hammerfest) but "as banal as it appears, it is filled with professional dreamers"...dreamers whose favourite food, funnily enough, is Frosty Boy Ice Cream.

The scientists see the ice as a dynamic entity, not the static monolithic environment many think when they hear the name 'Antarctica'. There are cracks in the ice that sound like ghostly footsteps, and seal calls which sound like Tangerine Dream. Life forms in the sea are "like science fiction creatures" as one scientist puts it. It is "a horribly, violent world" full of strange, Lovecraftian organisms, some of which seem to possess "borderline intelligence...almost art."

Some of the scientists Herzog interviews have a religious sense of awe in the face of their discoveries, while others seem almost braindead. "Yes, it's a truly wonderful moment when you increase the known biodiversity," one tells him, sounding about as excited as if he had just filed a report on the origins of sawdust. But another talks with spiritual and poetic insight of the sub-atomic particles called neutrinos.

The whole film, in fact, is full of surprising insights - for instance, that the British empire started to fail only after Shackleton had reached the South Pole. In other words, when no further expansion was possible. Strangely, in a film about uninhabited Antarctica, Herzog delivers a moving defence of the languages that are dying out around the world: "Tree huggers and whale huggers are acceptable, but no one embraces the last speakers of a language.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST SEE! April 13 2009
Encounters at the End of the World is truly a movie about all of the Encounters at the End of the World. Not only about animal life but also about the people who live at the end of the world. Visually spectacular. Make sure to check out the special features.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good documentary Feb. 14 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
What I appreciated about Wernor Herzog is that he focuses on the people. Most documentaries about the antarctic focus on the ice, the snow, and the wildlife, but this one explores the odd cast of people who work (and live) in this remote area of the world.
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