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On the brink of death – courage was his only weapon

Movie
To go where no man has gone before, true!, What would it take, would it be for you?
WOW, WOW and WOW. Based on the true facts of Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to be the first man to successfully cross the entire continent of the Antarctic.

Shackleton

Shackelton takes us from the moment he finds out that his colleague made a successful journey to the South Pole through the financing of the journey right up to the actual journey. The viewer might think he will never embark on the infamous journey, but with a little patience, the trip is well worth the wait for most.

Kenneth Branagh plays a magnificent Sir Ernest Shackleton. Through one man’s pursuit of his dream, any viewer cannot help but watch in awe and inspiration that sometimes the impossible is indeed possible. Sir Ernest more than demonstrates courage, determination, but endurance in striving to conquer his dream. It is no wonder that his should be re-named The Endurance.

Sir Ernest assembles quite a colourful sort of characters who are an integral part to the journey’s future success. Each man will have to and need to depend on each other for their expertise. Like pieces of the puzzle are placed together to form a whole picture, so each of these men in turn were the pieces of the whole fantastic journey.

A special mention must go out to Lorcan Cranitch as Frank Wild, Second in Command, Kevin McNally as the Captain and Ken Drury as the feisty Scottish Henry McNish. While the 27 men might not have had many things in common in real life, they all had the desire to explore, they all had the desire to succeed and through their strong wills and determination, live to tell about this true story. One of the more commanding lines by Sir Ernest in Shackleton was “My job now is to make sure you all live…I will not fail”.

Shackleton

Video
Presented in 1.85:1 and 16:9 Enhanced, Shackleton’s video transfer is quite good overall. There is some spectacular cinematography to look at, which included a topical view of the Endurance while traversing through the icy waters. The penguins actually seemed like that were coming towards you and you could almost welcome them into your home. In addition, when a flash photograph is taken of the ship, snow drifts quietly and almost majestically across the ship. What a magnificent photo and experience that must have been. The visuals are a little soft at times and grain creeps in every now and then but this is still an above average transfer.

Audio
The soundtrack is restricted to Dolby 2.0, which is fine for this type of movie. The dialogue was crisp and clean and clearly audible throughout the movie. One may have presumed when difficulties arose, there might have been some difficulty in understanding or hearing what was said, but this was indeed not the case. The audio on occasion became quite unique and it made it sound as if the viewer was actually on the Endurance making their journey along with the crew. Even if there was no surround usage this is still a serviceable soundtrack.

Extras
Aside from the obligatory scene selections, there are no extras to speak of whatsoever. What a total disappointment! It would have been great to hear from the cast members with their personal experiences in making Shackleton. It must have been difficult enough and mentally challenging to have to re-enact certain conditions and historical facts. I am sure viewers would have been interested in the behind the scenes making of this movie, so to view  Shackleton for the entire 209 minutes and not have any extras was quite a let down.

Shackleton

Overall
No sex, violence, language as such, but what a delightfully refreshing film! With 27 of his men and 69 dogs, explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton set out to accomplish his dream. He strongly suggested that it is in our nature to explore and that the only true failure would be not to explore. Robert Browning captured this experience by writing, the worst turns the best to be brave. By Endurance, we all can conquer.


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