If you like Antarctic history, you’ll love THE ENDURANCE.
Chock-full of extensive historical content and amazing footage, THE ENDURANCE provides solid documentation of Irishman Ernest Shackleton’s 1914
expedition to the South Pole.
Shackleton, a man with an extraordinary obsession for exploration, placed an ad in the newspaper saying, “Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey.” He had
previously led two unsuccessful journeys to claim the South Pole. At age 40, this was his last chance. The Norwegians had won the honor of actually discovering
the Pole prior to this, his third trip. Ouch! That had to hurt.
The film bears the name of the three-masted wooden sailing ship that the 28-man crew navigated. Unfortunately, the ship got stuck in the ice on the way, just one
day’s sail away from the Antarctic continent. The men were missing in action for nearly two years, as World War I swept over the European continent.
THE ENDURANCE opens with testimonials from children and grandchildren of the men on the expedition, who are all really, really old now. Though some of
them are a little hard to understand, this does serve to set the time period well. The beginning and middle of the film flow nicely as the characters and story are
From there, it’s a series of new footage of breathtaking Irish, Scottish and English seascapes, coupled with remarkable vintage footage of the voyage. The latter
was captured by Frank Hurley, an Australian photographer and cinematographer who went along for the ride. Periodic readings of candid crew members’ diary
entries add to the reality of the catastrophic event.
THE ENDURANCE is sort of like “Castaway” for real, without the cheesy love story. Although, it might have been nice to have a little more love in the film.
George Butler, the man we have to thank for introducing Arnold Schwarzenegger to the international film world, fails at conveying the roots of Shackleton’s vision
to the audience. We are left to decide for ourselves whether Shackleton is a sublime optimist or an ignorant adventurer. In other words, the documentary is well
framed, but the interior is lacking a bit.
The concluding portion of THE ENDURANCE disappointed me a bit. After their long, treacherous journey is over, there is an all-too-brief segment on what
happened to the men. We are told that most entered WWI after their return, but are left wondering how the amazing escapade affected their lives, short-term or