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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Adventure
Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Adventure
Columbia/Tri-Star // PG // September 2, 2003
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 29, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

One of the most remarkable and daring journeys of the age of discovery, Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition to the Antarctic was one that was full of danger, risk and possible reward. Shackleton's call for possible sailors and crew essentially said, "You may not come back". Yet, 5,000 people accepted his challenge, and a small, carefully chosen crew set out for an exploration.

The ship's crew were able to successfully journey through miles of ice, before the ice proved too difficult to continue. The ship found itself in the midst of an almost otherworldly landscape of ice blocks, drifting in the ocean and becoming more tightly packed as the ship progressed. When it was decided that the ship should stop to conserve fuel, the ice froze around the ship, locking the men in, with no hope of communicating with the outside world.

Instead of being freed from its icy grip, Shackleton's ship, the Endurance, was broken apart in the midst of the ice flows. Saving whatever they could off the ship, the men found themselves in the middle of nowhere, with no hope of communicating with the outside world. Yet, Shackleton remained a born leader, keeping up the morale of his men in what many would very likely consider a dreadful situation. While what had happened was certainly horrendous, the men still had a long journey ahead: Shackleton and his men had a trek of 1,000 miles ahead of them, over some of the most brutal landscapes in the world.

"Endurance" is made from film and still footage taken by crew member Frank Hurley, interviews and other material. It is not as slick or big-budget as the IMAX picture, "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure", but certainly, both pictures have their positive aspects and serve as nice companion pieces to one another. The IMAX feature is a more visual picture, which goes to great lengths to try and recreate the journey to give viewers a better understanding. It also integrates maps and other elements to give viewers an idea of the length and destinations along the journey. However, the IMAX feature is only about half the length of "Endurance", and doesn't go into nearly as much depth or detail as "Endurance" does. "Endurance" fills out its running time nicely with informative and insightful interviews (and does hint at dangers such as possible mutiny, where that's not brought up in the shorter film), as well as more of Hurley's images.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Endurance" is presented by Columbia/Tristar in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Made up of largely of interview footage and Hurley's footage and stills (some of which are not in the finest condition, although I have to say, most of it looks surprisingly good, considering the age and what it's been through. Sharpness and detail are satisfactory during the new footage and understandably inconsistent during the older material.

Aside from the acceptable wear, there really weren't too many issues. Some very slight edge enhancement was present once or twice, but that was about it. Colors on newer footage appeared accurately rendered.

SOUND: "Endurance" is presented in Dolby 2.0. The soundtrack is simply a "documentary" audio presentation, focusing largely on the interviews and little else. Dialogue in the interviews came through clearly.

EXTRAS: A commentary by director George Butler, isolated score; 16-1/2 minute featurette, "Beyond The Endurance" and trailers for "Vertical Limit", "Anne Frank Remembered" and "The Endurance".

Final Thoughts: While at its core a tremendously compelling story of bravery and leadership, "Endurance" seemed to tell the most complete story of Shackleton's journey that I've seen. Although the story would be highly involving anyways, the film's interview and archive footage elements are edited together smoothly. Columbia/Tristar's DVD edition provides good audio/video quality and enjoyable supplements. Recommended.

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