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In 1914, polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, leader of the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, set out to be the first to cross Antarctica. His ship, the Endurance, was trapped and crushed in the pack ice in the Weddell Sea, and a 17 month struggle for survival began. His crew of 27 men followed him on a death defying 800 mile journey in lifeboats – and that was just the start of their harrowing escape.

This extraordinary adventure paying tribute to a real life hero, combines historic footage with striking re-enactment in what must be some of the most rugged and unforgiving terrain in the world – Antarctica. We are engulfed in a crisp cold world of white ice tinged with mystically beautiful cerulean blue. Whipped egg whites and rectangular chalk-like blocks are dotted over the royal blue, icy waters. This is the land that nature forgot, and where only penguins and seals populate these isolated locations. And of course discovering them on the huge IMAX screen is a wonder in itself. Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure is the perfect subject matter for this format, allowing this truly amazing story of human endurance by Sir Ernest Shackleton, to be shared not only in an educational, but in an entertaining and very moving way. Cinematically enthralling, the majesty of Antarctica itself is breathtaking, and through the magic of IMAX, we feel we are part of the experience; it is truly a memorable visit. Shackleton's story of hardship is almost too hard to bear, but his tendency for understatement in the most dire of circumstances is guaranteed to move the most hardened of hearts. Most inspiring is the way Shackleton converts failure into triumph; what an inspiring thing it is to change one's objective when faced with adversity. Food for thought indeed! It is extraordinary to imagine how the original footage was shot in these circumstances nearly a hundred years ago. The big musical score has all the traits of Rachel Portman's works with its distinctive phrases, but the musical credit goes surprisingly to Sam Cardon. Kevin Spacey's narration keeps the story alive and by the time Shackleton's adventure is over, I feel as though I have been privileged to have met an exceptional man and visited a spiritual place where not even eagles dare. This is an unforgettable experience that impacts profoundly. Enjoy this marvellously inspiring adventure with the whole family.
Louise Keller

A giant experience on the giant screen, this real life adventure is intensely gripping; 40 minutes is quite enough to generate a variety of moods and sensations. We are awed by the sheer enormity of the endurance the men showed; we are humbled by their fortitude in the face of extremely hostile nature; we are intrigued by their motivations; and we are proud of the display of human dignity under extreme stress. It’s billed as the greatest survival story of all time – and for once that is not bullshit. The size of the image as it almost wraps around you in the giant screen cinema, expands the experience a hundredfold: we are almost there ourselves. Certainly we are there is spirit. The film is intelligently constructed, combining actual visual material – thanks to Frank Hurley, the Australian photographer on the expedition – with superb reconstruction, thanks to three of the world’s finest contemporary (1999-2000) climbers retracing Sheckleton’s steps across Georgia Island. [Reinhold Messner, Stephen Vanables, Conrad Anker]. It is guided by a suitably spartan narration read by Kevin Spacey, and as a true story of human endurance it is hard to beat. You may well feel like a spoilt brat as you walk out. I did.
Andrew L. Urban

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NARRATOR: Kevin Spacey

DIRECTOR: George Butler

PRODUCER: Susanne Simpson, Scott Swofford and George Butler

WRITERS: Mose Richards and Crystal V. Spijer

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Reed Smoot (Additional Photography by David Douglas)

EDITOR: Steven L. Johnson

MUSIC: Sam Cardon

RUNNING TIME: 40 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 1, 2001 in Sydney & Melbourne; June 13, 2002 in Brisbane.

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