The Endurance features the Sir Ernest Shackleton expedition to Antarctica. This movie takes you to a place where few people have ever been. No, I am not talking about Antarctica, because this crew never makes it there. I am talking about despair. Not “how am I going to pay the cable bill?” despair. No. Ernest Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven sailors aboard his ship, The Endurance, look despair and desolation in the face like very few people ever have during this expedition. The amazing part is, they knew before debarking what peril may lie before them on this Shackleton expedition. Sir Ernest Shackleton was a true adventurer. He had made two prior attempts to reach Antarctica and never had reached his goal. Shortly after the second attempt a different sailor and his crew became the first to reach Antarctica. Now Ernest Shackleton not only wanted to reach this new frontier but he planned to cross the continent using sleds pulled by dogs.
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As the men set out on The Endurance, all was well. When they were within one hundred miles of the goal their ship became stuck in ice due to a sudden, overnight, change in temperature. For the time being the men arranged soccer matches, trained their dogs and used their artistic talents to entertain themselves for the ten months The endurance was stuck in the ice. Then the inevitable happened, Just try to imagine your only shelter slash storage slash home succumbing to constant ice pressure and crumbling into the sea.
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Now what? With the scarce supplies they were able to salvage and their sled dogs, along with three lifeboats, the men made a trek back to the sea and off of the ice. The men decided to set sail again, cramming what they had into the boats. Each man now had a personal property weight limit of two pounds they were allowed to bring with them. They were left with no choice but to shoot the dogs because of lack of food to feed them with. With their own food supply dwindling, they were forced to eat some of the dogs. Temperatures were sub-zero. Winds were brutal and could last for days on end. The men were suffering from dysentery and frostbite. As they set out on the water, it looked as if all was lost. The men had only made it this far after The Endurance sank because of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s heroic leadership. This is only half the story. I am not going to spoil the rest. But I will tell you this; these men were in some of the worst situations that men have ever lived to tell about.
The film makes good use of the fact that there were a photographer and artist aboard the ship during the Shackleton expedition! There are some excellent photographic records of key events of the voyage and struggle thereafter. There is actually some video footage of the ship and crew that was taken included in the film. The photo and video records of the actual events really make this film. The music isn’t necessarily memorable, but it does help to set the tone of struggle and cold isolation. Liam Neeson does the film’s narration and he really shines as he recounts the event. There are interviews with several of the living relatives of crewmembers, including the Grandson of Sir Ernest Shackleton, that recall stories and facts about the trip that their ancestors told them. There is a bit of the “talking head” style of documentary film here, but not too horribly close to a Ken Burns style epic. After watching this film, and falling under its spell of placing me there, with that crew for 93 minutes all the problems I had seem to turn to just small bumps in the road. These men definitely overcome tremendous obstacles just when you think they should be out of options or willpower. An inspiring film to say the least! To find out what happened to the crew of The Endurance and their captain, Sir Ernest Shackleton,buy this movie by clicking here.
FAMILY WARNING! PARENTS READ!
There’s really not much to caution against on this film. Its inspiring and some children, especially boys, may like the adventure of the shackleton expedition. A great documentary film for any purpose, especially entertainment.