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Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 11,418 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 60 user | 147 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

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Title: Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator
Scott Rowland ...
Himself - Transportation Dept.
Stefan Pashov ...
Himself - Philosopher, Forklift Driver
Doug MacAyeal ...
Himself - Glaciologist (as Douglas MacAyeal)
Ryan Andrew Evans ...
Himself - Filmmaker, Cook (as Ryan A. Evans)
Kevin Emery ...
Himself - Survival School Instructor
Olav T. Oftedal ...
Himself - Nutritional Ecologist
Regina Eisert ...
Herself - Physiologist
David R. Pacheco Jr. ...
Himself - Journeyman Plumber
Samuel S. Bowser ...
Himself - Cell Biologist
Jan Pawlowski ...
Himself - Zoologist
William Jirsa ...
Himself - Linguist, Computer Expert
Karen Joyce ...
Herself - Traveler, Computer Expert
Libor Zicha ...
Himself - Utility Mechanic
Ashrita Furman ...
Himself - Multiple World Record Holder
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Storyline

'Werner Herzog' takes his camera to Antarctica where we meet the odd men and women who have dedicated their lives to furthering the cause of science in treacherous conditions. A scientist studies neutrinos, which are everywhere, yet elusive; he likens them to spirits. A researcher's nighttime performance art includes contorting her body into a luggage bag. A survival guide teaches his students to survive white-out conditions by wearing cartoon-face buckets over their heads. Animal researchers milk mother seals as part of their study. Volcanologists offer advice on what to do when a volcano erupts. A pipefitter shows us the anomaly in his hands that he says are a sign he descended from Atzec royalty. A former Colorado banker drives what he has christened Ivan the Terra Bus. An underwater diver shows his colleagues DVDs of apocalyptic sci-fi films like Them! (1954). And -- though Herzog declares he's not "making another film about penguins" -- we meet a penguin researcher who answers ... Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 October 2008 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Rencontres au bout du monde  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,730 (USA) (13 June 2008)

Gross:

$943,934 (USA) (31 October 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Werner Herzog has disclosed that the scene of scientists putting their ears to the ice to listen to seal calls was entirely staged. Herzog asked them to position themselves according to his directions, and the sounds were previously recorded through underwater microphones by sound artist Douglas Quin. See more »

Quotes

Stefan Pashov: I've explored many different lands of the mind and many worlds of ideas, and I started before I even knew how to read and write. My grandmother was reading the Odyssey and the Iliad to me. So I started my journey in my fantasy before I even knew the means of accomplishing it, but my mind and my psyche was ready for it. I was already travelling with Odysseus and with the Argonauts and to those strange and amazing lands. That always stayed with me, that fascination of the world, and that I fell ...
See more »

Connections

Features The Lone Ranger (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Il Est Digne en Verite
from Basso Profundo
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User Reviews

Death in the Ice
10 March 2011 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

There is no denying the man. He has already changed me, and others.

Interestingly, it seems that this is less by design than by accidents that occur because he chooses to put his camera in places where the cosmos is unstable. Sometimes it rewards deeply, because we find our own window into beautiful chaos. Sometimes the experiments fail, and you can see how he has tried to distract us with observations from himself rather than the world he has placed us in.

This is such a failure. He goes, enticed by the promise of cruel, unfathomable beauty. He finds no accident with inherent narrative, so he inserts his own. Unfortunately, Herzog the man and mind is the least interesting element of any Herzog film. I know I am in the minority here, because he has a celebrity persona.

But watch this, and see how he interviews his subjects. He is trying to cast them as beautiful souls doomed be a part of the ugliness of humanity. Some of the interviews are staged or rehearsed. He admits this. I know the words are genuinely from the people who speak them, but the narrative is false. Herzog has this notion — this essentially Austrian notion — that nature is only full when it is cruel, stark and dangerous. Humanity is unnatural; only a few butterfly souls escape, and they are to be cherished.

So look here: we have his usual Wagnerian chorus, using internationally fused sounds. We have some nature, always presented as cosmically unfriendly. We have episodes that underscore the hopeless weakness of society. And we have characters that engage and inspire. But it all seems so desperately constructed here. Whether he likes it or not, he has simply made a penguin film, but with humans.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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A Rambling movie without direction in need of editing, wait for DVD pezzhull
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