Frozen Planet on Thin Ice (Reel Nature 2011) :UK

Reviewed by Linda Sweatt.Viewed at the Metro 4 Theatre, Santa Barbara Film Festival 2012.

Ice changes on Earth are unprecedented. Animals are already responding, but how are humans going to respond to changes on our frozen planet?  Frozen Planet: 0n thin Ice combines magnificent wilderness shots and scientific research with adorable animal footage. This is the last episode in a series of seven by Reel Nature. The US premiere, opened with breath taking close up aerial shots of  our planet frozen in the white emptiness of ice.

If you are a nature lover, if you loved National Geographic specials, you will love this big screened new and improved version (so to speak). Frozen Planet: on Thin Ice is primarily focuses on the vast wilderness of Antarctica.  Ice scientists are going to extremes to understand what is going on.  The film makers felt it important to bring international audiences to see what is happening for themselves, connecting people with reality. The elderly narrator, David Ashenberg, is one of the only people alive today who has personally traveled to see these ice changes over the years.

Soon it will be the first time in our planet’s history that there will be open water in the Arctic.  Results will be felt on the whole planet, not just the polar wilderness. A satellite transmitter tracks the break up of ice shelves.   Time lapsed images show gigantic glaciers now melting twice as fast as twenty years ago. Repeated shots over years are all real, nothing faked. Slow motion icebergs shattering show just how powerful they are, while every iceberg ads to the sea-level rising. There is no more arguing the facts of climate change, as a unbiased view is  magnificently recorded here.

I especially enjoyed the gorgeous footage captured of the polar bears, as the cinematographers followed a family of mother and cubs. First showing their incredible majestic beauty and their beautiful life in the frozen landscape  Then following a team of Norwegian scientists who study polar bears. As the far north arctic is warming twice as fast as anywhere else on in the world, they search for answers through these  animals. By placing tracking devices on these magnificent creatures they begin to see both how they are adapting and fighting to survive.

It’s simple, the polar bears need the ice to live. They fish through ice holes catching seals. As weather warms and ice melts the polar bears can not stay on shrinking icebergs and must swim to shore. It can be a very long swim;  most difficult for the cubs who cannot go so long without eating and then when they finally do get to land, there is no food for them. And it’s not only animals, the Inuit tribe, who live here, also survive by hunting on the frozen ice.

Loss of sea ice is effecting so many different things so quickly, this film does a great job connecting all the dots, by explaining both extinction and over population of different species. Effects of open water and sea rising and glacier melting speeds up the temperature rise as our whole planet continues to warm with some devastating results. But their are also some people profiting. Oil companies race for the huge amount of oil under ice. Many countries,such as Russia the US and Canada,  argue over the profits of these resources. As some win and others loose, It will be those that can best adapt to a changing arctic that will ultimately survive.

Collaborating with scientists, allot of schools and environmental organizations are beginning to use this as research film. Although the Frozen Planet is scheduled to be airing on the Discovery Chanel March 18. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to see  this on the big screen first hand. So if you get the chance to see this  in a theater, the thrill will be even bigger!


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