The Polar Explorer

July 10, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The Northwest Passage has been a treacherous path to travel, given the Arctic sea ice and other hazardous conditions. But as the area is impacted by climate changes, the trek is much different now. In The Polar Explorer, a three week scientific expedition cross the Northwest Passage on the icebreaker Amundsen (named after the first man to reach the South Pole) documents how much the area has been changed by climate shifts. Also examined are the ways the climate change results are different between the North and South poles, exploring both the positives and negatives of the situations. And a panel of expert scientists provide the analysis on their in-field research, which yields valuable insight. While other programs have tackled these topics, few have the depth of information and in-field documentation of The Polar Explorer. The film was also presented to delegates at the Climate Change Conference in 2010, thanks to the discoveries within.

A lot of filmmakers have pushed to spotlight the climate change topic, but of the films I’ve seen, none are as effective as The Polar Explorer. This program functions like a real documentary, not an alarmist or political manipulation piece, but a film that wants to inform and spark discussion. This shift in tone makes The Polar Explorer stand out from other similar programs, since it never comes off as propaganda. The depth of research is also remarkable here, with a wealth of in-field data that is presented in simple, easy to understand fashion. The pros and cons are explored, which is another unique element to this piece. The issue of how to prepare for and deal with potential rises in sea level make grounded observations, seeking effective, real world solutions. I found The Polar Explorer to be an informative, insightful program that has noble intentions. If you have even a casual interest in climate change discussion, The Polar Explorer is worth a look.

Video: How does it look?

The Polar Explorer is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This program looks great in this release, with a clean, well detailed image. With all the beautiful scenes on showcase, I do wish there was an HD version, but even in standard resolution, it looks terrific. I found contrast to be consistent, which is important given all the white involved, while colors look natural in scope. A more than solid visual presentation all around.

Audio: How does it sound?

This Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack more than handles the needs of the material. The program doesn’t have much call for power or surround presence, but the track still sounds good. The interviews all have clear, clean vocals and the in-field footage sounds fine as well. This isn’t going to be a track that shakes the foundation, but it sounds good nonetheless. This disc also includes a Spanish language track, as well as English and Spanish subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a behind the scenes piece, as well as the film’s trailer.

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