The crew endured for 635 days and nights without real shelter or sufficient rations, frequently eating seal blubber and even their beloved dogs. As an animal lover, I came to realize the true depths of their situation when they had to shoot their cat and dogs, and ultimately eat some of their true canine friends.
The story is one of tremendous hubris and heroism all wrapped up into one larger than life explorer. Shackleton's true gift was not in being a great explorer, but in being able to largely control the morale of the crew and provide leadership when it was most critical. Only thanks to that leadership did every man on the expedition survive.
The documentary itself is a brilliant mix of the film shot by expedition photographer Frank Hurley (including a lot of motion picture film) and modern film of the sites in question, along with a bit of reenactment footage of recreated lifeboats identical to the originals. The work is seamless, deeply moving, and will give anyone a new appreciation for the powers of ice and the human spirit.
In addition to the actual documentary the disc has several choice extras including a director's commentary track, interviews with children of survivors, and, best of all, a documentary on the making of the documentary, which I found absolutely fascinating. The most amazing thing that was revealed in the 'making of' documentary was the fate of the duplicate lifeboats, which under the control of the modern seamen ultimately sank in heavy seas, but seas far less than Shackleton encountered.
This is in every way a spectacular production, and I would recommend it highly to anyone. You will never forget this film.
This is a must buy, watch all the extras including the commentary (which I rarely do).