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Chasing Ice, Greenland, Extreme Ice Project, James Balog, National GeographicChasing Ice, Greenland, Extreme Ice Project, James Balog, National Geographic

Film Review: Chasing Ice

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Few films have the ability to be described as both strikingly beautiful and yet utterly terrifying. The global warming documentary, Chasing Ice, masters breathtaking imagery while showcasing realistic changes that face the landscape of our planet.

Directed by Jeff Orlowski, Chasing Ice follows renowned National Geographic photographer James Balog, as he captures the startling changes to the face of our planet’s largest ice shields. With a dedicated team, custom-built technology and a staggering amount of passion, Balog documents undeniable truth of the transformation and damages we have caused in the last few years.

Chasing Ice, Extreme Ice Survey, National Geographic, James Balog, glaciers, melting ice, melting glaciers

The Solheim Glacier in Iceland in February 2009. The line represents how much the glacier changed in nearly three years. Photo by James Balog / Extreme Ice Survey

Balog has spent the better part of his life photographing nature and endangered wildlife with a unique and stunning vision. When he set his sights on a project to photograph ice, he realized he had a much larger story to tell. He developed the Extreme Ice Survey, a mutli-year expedition with the mission of catching real-time visual change to glaciers all over the world.

During the middle of the project, Balog sent his team to Greenland to set up camp and watch the Ilulissat Glacier, which he felt was close to a major caving. After 17 days of waiting, their cameras recorded the world’s largest calving event ever to be caught on film. This scene struck a cord with me, as I had covered our story on the major caving of the Petermann Glacier, also in Greenland, this past summer.

The film is filled with incredible images of these magnificent giants in a way that they are not normally seen. Using time-lapse technology, Balog and Orlowski are able to bring the glaciers to life, and allow the public to see them disappear before their eyes. The effect is awe-inspiring and heartbreaking in equal measure.

Although the imagery and science carry the general message of the documentary, it is the paralleled story of Balog’s own determination that rests at the heart of it. Throughout the film you see his personal struggle, both emotionally and physically. He pushes himself to the edge, quite literally, all in the name of gathering the evidence he knows our world needs to see.

When asked what he hopes the audience will take away from Chasing Ice, Orlowski discussed the ability for the film to bring the glaciers closer to home.

“It’s something that people can see and feel that represents what the science has concluded. Glaciers may seem really far away, in a distant world that nobody ever goes to, yet we humans are changing them.”

The fact that we are indeed changing the shape and size of these historic landscapes is the larger theme of the film. In my opinion, it should be mandatory viewing for any climate change skeptic that still disputes the science. These images honestly tell a story that cannot be argued with.

With it’s official opening earlier this month, Chasing Ice is coming at a perfect time. There has been a wave of support coming from government and Hollywood to help protect our Arctic oceans and glaciers. Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jason Mraz have been very vocal about their concerns for protection in the Arctic region. Chasing Ice has also made it easy for you to bring attention to the film, by providing ‘tweet to’ page on their site. With one click you can send a link to the video to DiCaprio, President Obama, Jessica Alba and more.

Watch the trailer for Chasing Ice below and find local showtimes here.

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