The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition

A documentary about a disastrous expedition into a far corner of the earth. Remote, cold surroundings nearly untouched by man and nearly alien in appearance. An arduous trek over dangerous ground and freezing temperatures. Grand music and narration by Liam Neeson. No, this isn't Everest, this is The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition, a new documentary based on the book by Caroline Alexander, which recounts the ill-fated journey to the South Pole by explorer Ernest Shackleton. The two years in which Shackleton and his crew fought for survival was arduous and inspirational at the same time, and director George Butler (In the Blood, Pumping Iron) deftly combine vintage film and photographs with new footage to bring the story to life. The Endurance is adapted by Alexander and Joseph Dorman.

Shackleton wanted to be the first person to trek across Antarctica. His two previous tries were unsuccessful, and in the meantime, somebody beat him to his goal. Still, in 1914, in the days before World War I, Shackleton and twenty-eight men set off for Antarctica. The Endurance, Shackleton's ship, became trapped in ice one day before reaching its intended landing point. Time wore on, and the ice eventually crushed the ship, stranding the men. Over the months, Shackleton and his crew eventually trekked across the ice and made some treacherous boat trips to nearby islands.

All of the photographs and footage is thanks to Frank Hurley, one of the members of the crew. The photographs and footage are remarkably clear and well-preserved, giving a sense of heightened realism to the proceedings. Butler also uses some dramatic footage taken recently to show the barren landscape and dangerous waters that Shackleton and The Endurance traveled in. The meshing of the two is the best aspect of Endurance. It takes the viewer into the story, making them feel like they were actually there. Butler also uses excerpts from crew and interviews with descendants. What is missing is a complete portrait of Shackleton. His thoughts and motivations remain somewhat of a mystery, and this is a shame because his leadership skills are what pressed the men forward.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Rated G.

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