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DVD Reviews: Shackleton

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Dean Malandrini
Review Date: 21 April 2003
Distributed by:
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Running Time:
206 Minutes

Kenneth Branagh (more recently seen as the dark arts teacher in the latest ‘Harry Potter’ film) stars as Shackleton, one of the less fortunate and famous explorers of his time.  Based on a true story, ‘Shackelton’ follows Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 attempt to cross the Antacrctic continent on foot. 

As numerous explorers race to be the first to reach the South Pole (in that year, an achievement that would secure fame), Shackleton performs a lecture on his recent attempt at reaching the pole.  As he finishes his lecture he receives a call: “The South Pole has been reached”. 

With this shock revelation of his complete failure as an explorer, Shackleton’s job is in jeopardy, and ‘ah ha’, he is struck by a phenomenal idea: to lead the first expedition to cross the Antarctic continent on foot.  With this great new idea, Shackleton’s path is set. 

He begins to build finance for the expedition, a task that proves difficult with the world on the cusp of the first World War.  Finally finding his funding with only days to go, Shackleton sets off to explore the unknown land that lies before him and his crew. 

After a short stop at a whaling station in Iceland, Shackleton and his crew set off on their quest.  Before too long their ship ‘Endurance’ comes in contact with the huge ice burg that they must navigate to start their eighty five mile journey. 

Pressing on through the ice the ship becomes trapped in what is called “pack ice”, a type of ice that is carried by the currents and then squished into the coves of the Pole.  In this situation, the crew can only pray.  If the temperature rises, the ice is given more room to “pack in” and the Endurance will be freed, but if the temperature drops the ice becomes harder and Endurance will have no chance of being freed.  Their fate will be sealed. 

As it turns out, the fate if the crew has been decided.  With the coldest winter Iceland has ever faced, the Endurance is crushed and sinks.  With only three small life boats to carry the 28 men to safety and a very limited amount food left, the men must move fast to preserve their lives.   

In an amazing story of courage and survival, this movie will keep you interested for the duration.  This is a good movie and one of the more interesting ones in my collection.  It’s a little slow to start, but once Shackleton and his crew get on the Endurance it really takes off, delivering heaps of twists to keep you interested. 

The DVD contains no extras whatsoever, just Start Movie and Jump to Scene.  The quality of the picture and sound is great.  When the Endurance and the ice start to break up the sound is great, with huge deep booming cracks appearing and the wood bowing. The sound is very believable and realistic.  The picture quality is always top notch throughout the movie, with no glitches or pauses even at the layer skip.

The Unnatural History of the Cane Toad/ The Natural History of the Chicken Features

  • Directors Commentary
  • TV Promo
  • Umbrella Propaganda


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