Chasing Ice (2012)

Tagline: “Art meets science.” Yet somehow neither. 

Premise: Documentary chronicling photographer James Balog's mission to photograph glaciers defrosting at an alarming rate and humanity predictably being the cause of its own demise. 

Delivery: Chasing Ice comes with a 7.8 out of 10 on IMDb score, for those of you who get all aroused by that kind of thing. That's not all there is to get aroused about here either, the film has more images of furious white liquid being splashed around than Ron Jeremy's wank bank. I'm being a bit silly here, but the film is so incredibly serious and knowingly important that I couldn't help but be a bit bored by it.

Yes, Chasing Ice looks beautiful, it should do given that it's about photography. It is also a terrifying insight into how we're destroying this delicate planet. But then on one hand it is powerful and a call to arms, and on the other, it's six years old. Even six years ago I wouldn't have been that surprised by it. The evidence it presents is shocking, as its science is thorough and earnest; but Chasing Ice feels like it is trying to convince people who don't believe in climate change.

Here's my issue as a reviewer: people who don't believe in climate change are fuckwits. Chasing Ice is aimed at convincing people climate change is real; therefore if I feign dismay and horror and talk about how much I learned from it, I'm essentially taking time out of my own day to write about, and then admit on the internet that I'm a fuckwit. Well, I'm not falling for that one again.

I'm glad I saw Chasing Ice, but it didn't cut it for me. Overall neither incredibly educating or really that entertaining. There's no dramatic arc, which even a documentary needs. It feels more like a rigorous, academic essay. Here's what we're going to tell you, here's us telling you it, here's what we just told you. The makers tried to jazz it up visually and with a human interest subplot about Balog's knee being fucked* but that felt like a desperate afterthought,

“Terry, this film, it's sixty five minutes of people talking about ice.”

“Throw in ten minutes about the nutter doing the ice glamour shoot. Human element. Bosh, job done.”

Bedsit it? Chasing Ice looks pretty, but you know what they're going to tell you and because they spend so long detailing the cameras set up on the ice to capture all of this, you know what the climax will be. A big, glistening white, slow motion money shot. 5/10

*Away from the main plot, which is merely about how all human life dies because we like cars too much, told via the medium of ice.


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