It's Friday night, and I decided to stay in tonight. Why? No particular reason, other than that I didn't feel like doing much at all and I have a stack of about 20 DVDs that I need to shell through over the next week. So, I pop in Encounters at the End of the World, which was recently released to DVD, and, lo and behold, it is one of the most boring movies I've seen in years.
The documentary is by Werner Herzog, who isn't exactly a novice. While I haven't seen a lot of his films, I have seen a couple of his most recent, namely Rescue Dawn, which was surprisingly excellent, and Grizzly Man, which is one of the best documentaries made in recent memory. Needless to say, expectations were high, even though I knew nothing about the movie.
I'm sorry, but who wants to sit around and watch a fragmented documentary with some scenery, scientists and Herzog's uninteresting narration? The movie has a whopping 8.0 on IMDB as I write this review, which means that some people must like everything and anything nature-oriented, but Encounters at the End of the World is one of the dullest, most pointless documentaries I've ever seen.
The movie, set in Antarctica, basically documents a bunch of random, er, encounters, Herzog has with both people and nature. There's some great scenery - especially the underwater shots - but that's about it. Otherwise, Herzog interviews random scientists about their thoughts, talks about how Antarctica makes him feel and basically shows me nothing I haven't seen before. I was expecting an immersion into Antarctica, but instead he barely skims the surface.
I haven't seen "Planet Earth," but I have to imagine that the same people who loved that would be lured to Encounters at the End of the World. Yet, I also have to imagine that they will be extremely underwhelmed, as "Planet Earth" undoubtedly showed much more interesting and visually appealing creatures and scenery.
Encounters at the End of the World is a disappointing and boring documentary. A few good scenery shots aren't enough to save this one from disaster.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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