(Below, is a song that you can play as you read this review. “Before My Time” is the beautiful theme for Chasing Ice and is sung by Scarlett Johansson. The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars and is one you’ll want to listen to.)
For many years, the debate over Global Warming has plagued many a conversation all throughout the world. Some claim it to be a myth that the Earth is just naturally getting a bit warmer. Others, would argue that CO2 emissions are responsible for polluting our atmosphere and melting the Polar ice caps. Al Gore tried to sway minds with his Documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which displayed many of the facts that the Earth is getting warmer and that the Polar ice caps were melting. His Documentary lacked the one thing that Chasing Ice has; sufficient photo and video evidence.
With Chasing Ice, acclaimed Photographer James Balog had an idea to use his set of skills to prove a point that needs to be addressed. While growing up, James never believed in any climate change issues and never ventured to the Poles. As he grew older and saw things change around him, he became less skeptical to the idea of Global Warming and went to the Arctic to find out for himself. What he saw would inspire him to create this Documentary and a new system of filming and photography that would display the terrible things that he saw.
On his first trip to Iceland, Balog created The Extreme Ice Survey. That survey entailed an expedition to film and photograph the changes in size and shape of many of the glaciers there. The idea was, that Balog and his crew would set up time-lapse cameras that were centered on certain glaciers. Over time, the cameras would collect hundreds of photos over a few years that effectively revealed hard data that the glaciers were melting at much faster rates. The only problem, was that the technology and set-ups that the group would need weren’t really available. They had what they needed, but they needed a way to set it all up and have everything run smoothly.
As the film proceeds, we get intermittent interview scenes with Balog as he details his experience. He talks about the things he saw and the troubles that the group ran into. With the harsh conditions wearing away at the equipment and the group, The Extreme Ice Survey seemed to be coming to a halt. Things only got worse when Balog suffered a knee injury during the expedition. However, Balog and the rest of the team worked furiously to perfect the equipment because they really believed in the cause and wanted to make this story known. In the end, their resilience and hard work paid off, when the Jakobshavn Glacier calves for 75 minutes.
No matter your stance on the issue, you can’t dispute the unbelievable factual evidence that Chasing Ice presents. Throughout the film, we see some smaller glaciers calving and at the time, they seem pretty significant. It’s not until you see the final glacier calv that you realize just how detrimental this can be to the world. The collapse of the Jakobshavn Glacier is a monumental sight that will leave you in awe.
What really impressed me about this film was the dedication that Balog and his team had for this expedition. After seeing the conditions that the team had to endure, most people would give up and go home. Most people would say that “it isn’t worth my life” and move on with the issue. Not Balog’s team, though. They stuck it out in the worst of weather and did what most people wouldn’t. They risked their lives for a cause that really matters and that really shows in this film.
There is a lot of beauty in this film, but the sad realization is the fact that if we don’t do anything to prevent these glaciers from melting, they aren’t going to be around for much longer. If they begin to melt, the Ocean’s will rise and land will begin to be flooded. It’s not a myth and it’s not going to slow down unless we do something about it. More than that, however, we’re going to lose some of the oldest and most beautiful things that we have on Earth. If we are so worried about preserving lakes, forests and a number of other things, why shouldn’t we be concerned about the glaciers?
As a Documentary focusing on the issue of Global Warming and the melting of the Polar ice caps, the film spends an awful lot of time on Balog and his struggles in setting up the cameras. As brave as he was, he’s not what the issue is. The issue is Global Warming, but we seem to get more about Balog than the actual glaciers. Regardless, Chasing Ice does the job of making you more conscious about Global Warming and leaves it up to you to decide what move you’ll make next. With beautiful and discouraging images, videos and facts, Chasing Ice is a film that you’ll remember.
Chasing Ice Trailer
Chasing Ice Netflix Link