Encounters at the End of the World [Blu-ray]
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Extraordinary Herzog finds breathtaking beauty here in the awesome scale of things FOUR STARS --Uncut Superb. It also contains some of the most jaw-dropping photography you're likely to see this year. Powerful... eye-boggling... utterly masterful. FIVE STARS --Timeout Breathtaking Almost every image is astonishing. This is a film that makes our existence feel utterly insignificant in the most life-affirming manner possible. Brilliant. 9/10 --Clash
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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.
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.Read more ›
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Werner Herzog never fails and this is one of his worst doc's but it is still a 10 in my books.Published 16 months ago by renedare123