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article imageReview: Chasing Ice — Spectacular images, chilling realization Special

By Greta McClain     Dec 30, 2012 in Entertainment
Nashville - Whether or not you are a fan of documentary movies, and even if you don't believe in climate change, the powerfully stunning videography of "Chasing Ice" makes this documentary worth the price of admission.
Earlier this month, Digital Journal reported on a video clip from the movie "Chasing Ice". The clip captures the moment an iceberg in Greenland begins to calve, making it the largest iceberg calving ever to be captured on film. The magnitude of the calving event leaves the viewer with a glimpse into the raw power of nature, as well as with a sense of sadness, realizing that such a beautiful and massive piece of nature could disappear so quickly.
Digital Journal attended a showing of "Chasing Ice" at Nashville's Belcourt Theater, and found that the film is full of equally spectacular images and moments.
"Chasing Ice", which has been announced as one of 15 movies in the Documentary Feature category advancing in the 85th Academy Awards voting, follows photographer James Balog. Balog, a well known nature photographer, became interested in the subject of glacier melting after completing a National Geographic photo assignment in 2006. The images Balog captured during that assignment sparked a desire to study what was happening to some of the largest glaciers in the northern hemisphere, as well as capturing images of the glaciers "before they are lost forever".
The movie poster for Chasing Ice in front of Nashville s Belcourt Theater.
The movie poster for Chasing Ice in front of Nashville's Belcourt Theater.
The movie takes viewers from the birth of Balog's Extreme Ice Survey, the project upon which the documentary is based, through the daunting challenges of deploying 28 time-lapse cameras and the heartbreaking frustrations of equipment failure.
The individual photographs taken by Balog offer an astonishingly crisp and clear view of the brilliant blue and white colors of the towering glaciers. As one movie goer said:
"Breathtaking, amazing, spectacular."
The sensational beauty of the images leave the audience in awe of the glories of nature before reminding viewers that these ancient colossal mounds of ice are not so slowly melting away. As Balog himself states after pulling a memory card from a camera:
"This is the memory of the landscape. That landscape is gone. It may never be seen again in the history of civilization and it’s stored right here."
Chasing Ice A: 2.12.08 | Iceland/Svínafellsjökull Glacier. Jeff Orlowski  provides scale in a mass...
Chasing Ice A: 2.12.08 | Iceland/Svínafellsjökull Glacier. Jeff Orlowski, provides scale in a massive landscape of crevasses on the Svínafellsjökull Glacier in Iceland. Photograph by James Balog, © 2008 James Balog/Extreme Ice Survey
James Balog/Extreme Ice Survey
Director Jeff Orlowski ensures that the videography of the movie is equally spectacular. From capturing the raw emotions of Balog when he learns one of the deployed cameras failed to capture images, to the lengths Balog and his assistants would go to capture the "perfect" picture, the film helps audiences feel as if they are right there, experiencing the wonders of the landscape first hand.
Chasing Ice B: Rappelling into Survey Canyon  looking down at moulin channel dropping meltwater 2000...
Chasing Ice B: Rappelling into Survey Canyon, looking down at moulin channel dropping meltwater 2000 vertical feet into crevasses through Greenland Ice Sheet. EIS director, James Balog, is shown. Photograph by Jeff Orlowski/Extreme Ice Survey © 2009 Extreme Ice Survey
Jeff Orlowski/Extreme Ice Survey
The tens of thousands of time-lapse photos from cameras stationed in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Mt. Everest and Glacier National Park in Montana, are magnificently woven together to provide a breathtaking view of the artistry of nature. The also give the audience the haunting realization that these views are vanishing at a record pace. In fact, some of the glaciers are receding so rapidly, and at such great distances, Balog was forced to pivot his camera four times in order to continue to film one glacier that continued to retreat mile after mile over the course of four year project.
The end result of "Chasing Ice" is a film that seamlessly envelops viewers with mesmerizing images while also enlightening them with the undeniable facts surrounding climate change, without being overly preachy. While statistics can be manipulated to serve nearly any purpose, it is virtually impossible to deny the images captured on film. One audience member told Digital Journal:
" I have always wanted to go Alaska and Iceland because I have always heard of how incredibly beautiful the landscape is. I guess I came to mainly see the pictures. But I now realize that it is more than just pictures. It is a narrative of what is happening to our earth and a wake-up call for us to do something before it is too late."
Even if you don't buy into the idea of climate change, and Balog was a skeptic himself before starting the project, "Chasing Ice" provides a glorious look at some of the most remarkable and powerful images of nature I have seen. That in and of itself makes "Chasing Ice" worth the ticket price.
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