Encounters at the End of the World (2007)
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Critic Reviews for Encounters at the End of the World
Damnably frustrating and fascinating, Herzog's questions deconstruct Earth's DNA in a scientific process going beyond statistics to ancestry or spirituality - an idea that we're witnesses and valets who are here and, sooner than we think, will be gone.
Respect for the environment is not a moral issue for Herzog, but a common sense issue of survival. In the harsh environs of the polar regions, his point is made with crystalline clarity.
The footage is breathtaking. We also are privileged to watch seals feeding their young, but the revelations about penguin 'prostitutes' are perhaps the film's most extraordinary. Gay penguins? Insane penguins?
Audience Reviews for Encounters at the End of the World
Existential angst gets a huge power-up thanks to Herzog's cranky eye. Fears and sorrows previously limited to mere individuals now apply equally to whole civilizations, species, planets, Gods and universes.
Killer beauty movie.
Quite possibly one of the most fascinating and well-constructed documentaries of its time, Encounters at the End of the World combines hauntingly majestic and beautiful visuals, an eerily chilling and engrossing musical score, and intriguing humanist concepts on language, environmental effects, the lives of the many species that inhabit Antarctica, and even the fate of humanity itself, all told from the legendary film master Werner Herzog, proving again, not only are his films staples of quality cinema, but that he continues to break boundaries of convention and typical understanding that many of his contemporaries have long since abandoned. This film is not Antarctica: An Adventure of a Different Nature, nor is it March of the Penguins, this is a raw, even dark film that should be on the top of your "to watch" list.
Werner Herzog is such a brilliant filmmaker that I think I hate him as a result. It doesn't help that he makes what he does look so simple either. Of course, it's not as simple as just showing up at a cool and interesting place filming it, then narrating it in an unmistakable and idiosyncratic voice. It's definitely inspiring though.
This film sees him going to Antarctica, not to film the landscape of the wildlife there, but rather the most interesting thing to take up residence there- humans. The landscape and underwater footage (not shot by Herzog) is amazing. Some of it doesn't even look like it's Earth due to this haunting outherwordly quality. What's even more unique is how the buildings don't look like something you'd expect from a movie or something- they are dirty, cluttered, noisy, and filled with the type of crap you find in your average office complex. They even have a damn ice ream machine!
The people that Herzog encounters are some of the most out there, yet not too far gone people I've had the pleasure of hearing them talk about their lives and work. I think my favorites are the lady who hides in luggage, and the women who talks about how seals make noises that, to quote her, "sound like Pink Floyd or something". That's just sweet.
This film definitely fits in quite nicely with the rest of the stuff Herzog has done, although it is just a tad more mainstream and thus played a little straight. That's not a problem at all, though. If anything, it will encourage people to seek out the rest of his stuff, especially his more off-the-wall fare.
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