Frozen Planet (2011)
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The Last Frontier 

The polar regions are earth's least hospitable environment, yet people live in the Arctic regions. Modern urbanized life is possibly even there thanks to technology, but some (often tribal)... See full summary »

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Episode credited cast:
Himself - Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself - Narrator
Ted Giffords ...
Dan Rees ...
Adam Scott ...


The polar regions are earth's least hospitable environment, yet people live in the Arctic regions. Modern urbanized life is possibly even there thanks to technology, but some (often tribal) communities still practice traditional methods, dependent on specific fauna, such as reindeer herding, dog sleds, hunting seals and collecting bird eggs. Some of those are even used by modern patrols in mineral-rich parts, e.g. in Greenland. The even harsher Antartic, were territorial claims are frozen, remains off-limits for exploitation, except controlled eco-friendly tourism and scientific research. Written by KGF Vissers

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TV-PG | See all certifications »


Release Date:

15 April 2012 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


This episode is renamed 'Life in the Freezer' for the USA release. That happens also to be the name of a 1993 UK documentary, but that is probably coincidental. See more »

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User Reviews

Human polar life
28 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

Despite how much he apparently dislikes the term "national treasure", that term really does sum up David Attenborough to a tee. He is such a great presenter (in his 90s and still sounds, and looks on a side note, great) and whenever a new series of his is aired they are often among the best the BBC has done in years.

Attenborough has done so many treasures over his long and remarkably consistent career (even his lesser work is still good) that picking a favourite is not easy. 'Frozen Planet' is one of those treasures, perhaps not as ground-breaking as something like 'Life on Earth' and anybody who was familiar beforehand with 'Planet Earth' may find themselves not finding much truly innovative. Having said that, it left me in the same amount of awe as when watching that series, both 'Planet Earth' series and 'Blue Planet' (am loving the second series too). It is a shame that despite being one of IMDb's highest rated shows, the ratings here for each episode individually has such a wide divide between them and that for the show overall. To me, the series overall is wholly deserving of its acclaim and the individual episodes are rated far too low.

"The Last Frontier" is not as good as the previous five episodes, with more focus on how humans adapt to these unforgiving environments rather than the wildlife it didn't connect with me quite as much emotionally. It was still great though, there is a lot to say about how humans adapt and their struggles and it's all interesting. Said in my review for 'Frozen Planet' that it transfixed, fascinated, moved and educated me more than any other documentary seen in a long time and is an example of how documentaries should be done. Still stand by that. Likewise with saying that one forgets they're watching a documentary and instead feeling like they're watching art.

Visually, like all the 'Frozen Planet' episodes and all of Attenborough's work, "The Last Frontier" looks wonderful. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic. The polar region scenery is some of the most breath-taking personally seen anywhere, whether in visual media and real life. The behind the scenes stuff gives a touch of honesty and humanity.

George Fenton's music score soars majestically, rousing the spirits while touching the soul. It not only complements the visuals but enhances them to a greater level. Some of my favourite work from him in fact, coming from someone who's liked a lot of what he's done. The main theme is unforgettable.

Can't fault the narrative aspects in "The Last Frontier" either. There are things already known to me, still delivered with a lot of freshness, but there was a lot that was quite an education and after watching the full series it honestly felt like the series taught me a lot, more so than anything in my secondary school Geography class. Attenborough's narration helps quite significantly too, he clearly knows his stuff and knows what to say and how to say it. He delivers it with his usual richness, soft-spoken enthusiasm and sincerity, never talking down to the viewer and keeping them riveted and wanting to know more.

Even with less focus on wildlife and more on the human condition, "The Last Frontier" boasts memorable moments, especially with the Dolgan tribespeople tobogganing their way across the snow and the guillemot-egg hunting sequence. Wildlife is still featured, the penguin colony making the biggest impression.

Nothing episodic or repetitive here. Instead, it feels like its own individual story with real, complex emotions and conflicts.

In short, truly great if not as much as the previous five episodes which set an incredibly high standard. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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