BMZ Review: Antarctica: On The Edge

March 26, 2015 – 2:40 pm

Antarctica: On The Edge
By Ann Coates

Though a popular subject in the Giant Screen genre, Antarctica: On the Edge nevertheless feels like a new, vibrant film which explores the current, desperate state of the continent. As the warming of the planet escalates, a continued study of climate effects on Antarctica proves necessary which is exactly what the film provides.

Filmmaker Jon Bowermaster leads us on this journey to and within Antarctica, reverently capturing the unique landscape of the continent. The images are sharp with well-rendered 3D, likely the best format to view the film. We come to know Antarctica also through the solid narration from Tilda Swinton who lends a sincere and thoughtful voiceover to the film.

Though the vast icy stretches are indeed formidable, the film demonstrates its fragility as well. Ravaged by global warming, the Antarctic landscape and ecosystem go through a drastic and rapid change. The collapse of a massive ice shelf — what should probably be a rare and extraordinary occurrence — happens now with enough regularity that the film is able to capture it before our very eyes.

A brief history on Antarctica shows its relationship with humanity — first a land to be explored, then conquered, but ultimately protected. Through an international effort, the continent has been devoted to scientific study only, with no country using the land for hunting, commercial, or military use. The film in addition takes a look into the endemic wildlife, demonstrating the accelerated decline in the population of various species.

Overall, it’s a depressing situation. Though only a brief glimpse into this remote world, the film nevertheless provides a firm understanding of the continent, and our fundamental need to protect it.