Monday, May 5, 2014

Into the Cold DVD Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Into the Cold follows two mens' dramatic expedition to the North Pole, widely considered the toughest on Earth. As magnificent as it is inhospitable, this is an environment that is rapidly vanishing. The film follows noted environmental advocate, photographer and polar traveler Sebastian Copeland through his intensive training before embarking on the two-month, 400+ mile trip on foot across the frozen ice cap with his partner Keith Heger. From personal reflections to last minute preparations, the story shifts when the two men are dropped onto the ice, faced with temperatures in excess of -50F degrees, alone for millions of square miles, and armed with their courage and determination.
Film (4 out of 5 stars)
Into the Cold is the journey of two men to the true North Pole. Zero degrees. One place on Earth where anywhere you go, you go south. Where every single time zone in the world meets. How amazing is that? It’s an accomplishment less than 200 people have ever made. It’s more difficult than climbing Mt. Everest and the endurance you need to do it is more than most people could prepare for.

Over five weeks in 2009, photographer Sebastian Copeland and his partner Keith Heger made the multi-legged trip and completed this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. After spending time in Minnesota in a similar climate (but, clearly not the absolute same), Sebastian and Keith are ready to make the thousands of mile journey from their homes to the far north of Canada where they will begin the long walk to the Pole.

It’s not as simple as it sounds. Conditions have to be right, equipment has to be light and portable, stamina has to be built up and you have to be mentally prepared for the silence and solitude of the area. Food supply is important. Having only a couple pounds of food per day is tough, but when those few pounds needs to have all the nutrients and calories of a normal day of eating, it’s a lot harder. Beans, rice, power bars and bacon renderings make up much of the supply. Of course, other protein is needed. Supplies like sub-zero blankets and sleeping bags, a tent, heaters, fuel for the heaters all increase the weight they have to carry on two sleds they pull behind them.

Once the walk has begun, what seems like a fairly flat walk is anything but. Sheets of broken ice, the Arctic Ocean and ridges stand in their way. Pulling the equipment over the icy ridges while on cross country skis is a difficult task and many days it slows them down. They have to average more than 10 nautical miles per day in order to make their goal. Finally, they make it and the sense of accomplishment is overwhelming. This has been a dream for Sebastian and now it’s complete. Looking around at the vast snowy desert is calming, peaceful, reflective, but dangerous. As they wait for the helicopter, both men realize their trip is over and just like that, it’s back to the real world.

Into the Cold was a beautiful documentary about the adventure to the North Pole. Sebastian Copeland is a wonderful writer and narrator whose description of the scenery, his preparation and his innermost thoughts really made the adventure real. As a photographer, he has an eye for the unknown beauty of the land and his photographs really captured it. I enjoyed watching and learning about an area that is rapidly disappearing due to the change in the Earth’s environment.
Video (5 stars out of 5)
Into the Cold is presented in high-definition, wide-screen and is beautiful. From the bright colors to the sharp white of the snow and ice, the picture was clear and crisp. The contrast of color on the almost completely white background was done really well and the colors really popped. The camera work was steady and shaky at times, but it really made the whole film come to life.
Audio (5 out of 5 stars)
The 5.1 Stereo Surround Sound presentation of Into the Cold is really good. The narration is clear and sharp and easy to hear. The dialogue in the film is also clear and every word was easily heard. The background music was really good and fit the film perfectly. I enjoyed listening to the film.
Extras (1/2 out of 5 stars)
There is only one special feature and it is a preview for Antarctica. This is a look at Copeland’s photography in book form and I really want to see more of his work.
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
I really enjoyed watching Into the Cold. It was interesting to see the journey these men took in order to recreate a trip that was first taken 100 years ago. It’s a trip that in another hundred years people may not be able to take due to the changing of the environment. Copeland is a great photographer and adventurer and I really enjoyed seeing his journey and learning about what it takes to complete an adventure like that.

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