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Rated 2.98 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Baby, It's Cold Outside!
by Betty Jo Tucker

After watching Antarctica: A Year on Ice, I feel ashamed to complain about the cold weather here in my Colorado home town. Yes, the chill and the snow have arrived early, but that’s nothing compared to what Antarctica residents face year-round. Still, as this stunning documentary depicts, although Antarctica may offer the most severe environment on our planet, it’s also a place of gorgeous scenery and natural wonders. Kudos to filmmaker Anthony Powell for capturing all this so artistically in his remarkable movie.

I’m amazed by the way Powell uses specially modified cameras and spectacular time-lapse photography to chronicle an entire year in what might be the last pristine wilderness on Earth. His dazzling visuals of the sky as it changes colors took my breath away. And ditto for the spectacular views of icy landscapes. Watch your back, Emmanuel Lubezki (Oscar-winning cinematographer for Gravity)!

Thankfully, Powell also takes time for the brave people of Antarctica. The ones who live there the entire year have to be “hardy and devoted,” for sure. They not only endure months of darkness as well as long periods when the sun never sets but also incredible storms and feelings of isolation. It’s important to mention the research stations located in Antarctica and their population of scientists, technicians and craftsmen from various nations who cooperate together in work and play.  

Among the many highlights of Antarctica: A Year on Ice, my three favorites are: the sequences with the fascinating Adelie penguins; the annual film festival competition, which seems to generate a great deal of fun; and Powell’s joyful wedding to one of the Antarctica residents.      

It’s not surprising this superb documentary has already won important awards on the film festival circuit including: Best International Documentary (2013 Calgary Film Festival); Audience Award (2013 Beckenridge Festival of Film); and Best Documentary Cinematography (2013 New Zealand Film and TV Awards).

Am I motivated now to visit Antarctica? Maybe not. But I feel indebted to Anthony Powell for showing me the beauty, contributions and challenges of a continent that had been a mystery to me before seeing his terrific film.      

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything else. – Albert Einstein

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. – William Shakespeare

(Released by Music Box Films and rated “PG” for mild thematic elements and language.)

For more information about Antarctica: A Year on Ice, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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