Donald K. (Njoyboatn) from BIG FLATS, NY Reviewed on 4/25/2010...
A great portrayal of a true and remarkable story of survival through persistence and determination. The biographical and "behind the scenes sections" are particularly enlightening. Although not the primary intent of the movie Shackleton provides some insights in true leadership that is applicable today as well (maybe more) than it was in his day.
A keeper if you are a history buff or lover of adventure / exploration.
Carmen C. (CarmenCS) from PIPERSVILLE, PA Reviewed on 2/28/2010...
Another excellent performance from Kenneth Branaugh. Interesting insights into how exploration was done. A keeper!
The most amazing Antarctic adventure ever
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film when it was broadcast on UK TV around Christmas 2001. It is a wonderfully acted and hugely evocative historic account of an amazing adventure story. Essentially a British period drama with some fine actors who are eminently believable in their roles. The Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh stars as Shackleton with Lorcan Cranitch and Mark McGann as his loyal lieutenants Frank Wild and Tom Crean. The first part of the film may drag a little for those eager to get to the ice and the true adventure, but it sets a historical basis for what is to follow. How Shackleton is up against the odds even before his ship has sailed and the planning for an expedition that may not actually happen is a story in itself about Shackleton's self-belief and his intention not to fail those who have put their faith in him.Once the story gets to the Antarctic, the frozen south and the pack ice, it inspires feelings of "How did they make that look so real, without actually doing it?". The atmosphere of being lost in the middle of endless pack ice is portrayed very realistically and the human emotions of those caught up in this drama are believable.For those who do not already know the story, I would recommend reading it first in one of the many books available. For me this is one of, if not the most amazing stories of all time. It is like three incredible adventures back to back. I won't spoil the full story for the uninitiated, but in the first adventure Shackleton's crew are stranded in the Antarctic pack ice for the winter, not a totally unexpected state of affairs in itself, but certainly not good news. This slowly turns to disaster as the ice crushes the ship leaving the crew stranded on crumbling ice, miles (hundreds of miles) from land with no way of summoning help. They manage to get to dry land eventually on Elephant Island. Elephant Island is a respite, but no place to hang around. The second adventure then starts when Shackleton and five others have to cross 800 miles of the stormiest ocean in the world at on of the worst times of year in a 20-foot lifeboat.This accomplished, they find themselves on the wrong side of a mountainous island having to cross peaks, ice fields and glaciers that no one had ever done before hand to reach a whaling station where from where rescue could be called. With no equipment and already exhausted, three of the men strive onwards and make it.None of the 28 crew of the ship, the Endurance are lost against incredible odds. A fabulous story, that is gripping for the Antarctic buff, history buff and any one who just enjoys a good tale."
A pretty good mini-series with first-rate extras on this DVD
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 04/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I certainly thought "Shackleton" was an above-average mini-series, but this is really a first-rate Collector's Edition DVD set. "The Making of Shackleton" featurette is the least impressive of the extras, and it is certainly an above average example of the traditional look behind the scenes of the production on the ice flow in Greenland. However, it is the Ernest Shackleton episode of A&E's "Biography" and the History Channel's "Antarctica: A Frozen History" that are impressive, especially since both incorporate the actual footage and photographs taken by Frank Hurley when the "Endeavor" was trapped in the ice during the failed Trans-Antarctic expedition in 1914-16. On one level it is hard for this mini-series to compete with those historic pictures: I almost felt as if the movie should have been in black & white as well, in the spirit of the same logic that dictated that approach in "Schindler's List." Of course, here those images become real people trapped in a desperate quest for survival. One advantage of watching the movie on DVD is that you do not have to endure all those commercial breaks, which certainly worked against the drama of 28 men trapped on the ice. The cumulative feelings of hunger and despair should not be dispelled every ten minutes by commercials, otherwise your sense of empathy is hurt. Kenneth Branagh plays Shackleton without the Irish accent that marked him as a less than authentic British hero in some eyes, but the most important part of his characterization is the idea Shackleton is a flawed hero. What stands out is the way that Branagh embodies the man's contradictions, going from dictatorial outbursts of anger to nonchalant moments of compassion. As the situation worsens, Shackleton does whatever it takes to lead, whether by threats or examples or whatever else is needed. "Shackleton" reminds me of a Greek tragedy, with the ensemble of actors making up the crew of the "Endurance" functioning very much like a Greek chorus, from which members emerge to engage the leader in a series of dramatic confrontations. As much as he had to contend with the elements, there was the human dimension as well. If you have not yet seen the mini-series, I would even suggest that you watch MOST of the "Biography" episode. Certainly it will give you a more detailed background on his life and career prior to the point that "Shackleton" begins. So as soon as he prepares for the "Endeavor" trip you can switch over to the mini-series and complete his "Biography" when you have finished. With the production of "Shackleton" the re-discovery of this remarkable survival story has come to an end. Amazing to think that but a few years ago he was a largely forgotten figure."
Incredible life-Incredible mini-series!!
Stacy E. Tadlock | Roscommon, Michigan United States | 04/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recently watched this film when it premiered on A&E in April and I was amazed by both the real man's life and the care the production crew took to bring that life to the screen. I saw the biography on the real man and I was really impressed on how accurate the movie was to the real expedition that Ernest Shackleton took in 1914. I shouldn't be surprised though for the star of the film has always been associated with great productions. I have long been an admirer of Kenneth Branagh, whether he does Shakespearean drama or modern film, he never disappoints. This film was certainly no expection, his performance was worthy of an Emmy as were all the performances. While watching this film I was filled with excitement and anticipation of what would happen next, not to mention COLD!! even though I was safe in my living room. I can't recommend any Branagh movie high enough being an avid admirer of his work, but this movie is truly spectacular and rates 10 stars, not just five ones."
"This movie, combined with the generous bonus material, is a genuine bargain for those wishing to augment their reading on Shackleton's epic Antarctic survival story. It cannot be used as a primary source for learning about it, however.
For that, I highly recommend 'Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage' by Alfred Lansing.
Lansing used the diaries of the men as his primary source, along with interviews of expedition survivors. The result is a much more detailed understanding of all of the men and how they came to be chosen so intuitively by Shackleton, using his unerring sense of not only their particular skills but how they would all work together as a team. Also, it gives one a much better sense than the movie of their interrelationships as the hardships mounted and the sheer length and depth of their struggle to survive. By being able to go well beyond what a necessarily time-limited (and budget-limited) dramatic production can encompass, one is drawn much deeper into the day-to-day struggles the expedition faced and the truly heroic nature of the effort put forth by all - particularly Shackleton. Where the movie gives short shrift to perhaps the most unbelievable part of the entire adventure - the voyage of Shackleton and a few of the men from Elephant Island to South Georgia in a small boat - Lansing's book allows us to relive the sheer terror and utter exhaustion and deprivation the men faced. The movie spent far too much time dwelling on the pre-voyage quest for financial backing and the fairly irrelevant sub-plots about wife and mistress - which, most certainly, had absolutely nothing to do with 'The Greatest Survival Story of All Time'. There was also precious little detail in the movie about the many, many months the men spent on the pack ice, then on Elephant Island while Shackleton made his way to South Georgia and back, and the means they all used to stay alive and relatively sane in their respective situations. Also, Shackleton's astounding mountaineering feat in the crossing of South Georgia to the whaling station was not given its proper due - truly an incredible accomplishment in its own right.
The movie is, however, quite well done and the actors are very good and well cast. A bigger budget production could perhaps have better captured the daunting scope of the challenges faced by the expedition, but it would have had to be many hours longer.
All in all, when you take into account the bonus extras - the A&E biography of Shackleton and the 2-hour History Channel production on the exploration of Antarctica - it's pretty hard to beat this DVD set.
Just make sure you read Lansing's wonderful account to really get the full flavor of the incredible hardships and sheer terror faced by Shackleton and his men, because you just won't get that from this movie. "
CERTAINLY A GREAT SURVIVAL STORY...
Sébastien Melmoth | Hôtel d'Alsace, PARIS | 12/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
This is quite an excellent film for its genre. The production values are pretty darned good. Branagh is a brilliant actor who really makes the film. The representations of Georgian England are splendidly drawn. The film stands repeated viewings."