Life in the Freezer
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Life in the Freezer (DVD)
Life in the Freezer is a startling portrait of Antarctica as a dramatic, violent, yet ultimately poetic ecosystem. It's also a miraculously beautiful documentary that can stir an armchair adventurer, make one wish to be standing alongside host David Attenborough as he gazes at the dream-like enormity of glaciers ("glass-yeers," as Attenborough pronounces it) or visits one of the pristine, Georgian islands where seabirds flock during Antarctica's version of spring and summer. With its frozen mass subject to cyclical expansions and retractions, Antarctica's changes determine the feeding, mating, and habitat patterns of a wide variety of wildlife. Life in the Freezer's multi-episode format allows each of those changes to be explored in rich detail. Attenborough demonstrates why certain birds migrate to Antarctica at the same time that humpback and killer whales show up to feed on swarms of shrimp-like krill. In some of the most amazing footage in the series, bull elephant seals appear on Antarctica's shores to manage their harems, mate as often as possible, and brutally fight to keep competitors away. As for penguins: they march, they partner up, they stand still in sub-zero snowstorms. But they also end up as seal prey (a darkly comic sight) and vault through sea waves like mythic heroes. This 1993 series is something special, easily surpassing March of the Penguins as a vision of life in the harshest environment on Earth. --Tom Keogh
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