DATELINE: Shackleton’s Endurance Abandoned
Certainly the addition of Laurence Fishburne to the History’s Greatest Mysteries series is inspired. From the moment he walks into a gigantic hall of pillars and speaks in his distinguished tones, you have a throwback to real narrative voices from the Golden Age of documentaries.
In this limited series, he tackles a few carefully selected topics that have enough film footage and photo evidence to hold up as fresh looks at odd historical events.
The 1915 Shackleton disaster is a good case. Next to the Titanic, the is a mystery of an Antarctic ship made of hardest cured wood being lost and destroyed during exploration is a made for TV movie.
It helps that the actual case had a considerable amount of photographic evidence, as they hired filmmakers and photographers to document their unsuccessful, if not horribly gone wrong, effort.
As usual, these kind of shows blithely announce that their mission is immediately in jeopardy from the shortened good weather season. Well, why not start sooner? By this means they telegraph the mission’s ultimate disappointment to locate the wreck of Shackleton’s ship, Endurance.
Our technicians have first names like Devon, Blake, Channing, and Chad, which is certainly a sign of 21stcentury adventurers. Draw your own conclusion. This documentary will go a long way to not giving you satisfaction.
And, these shows seem to build in their own incompetence. During a test dive, they lose their multi-million dollar diving ROV or is that AUV? So, hunting for the Shackleton ship is not exactly finding it for about half of this documentary. Failures seem to happen twice on this voyage.
The ship, theorists say, will be fully preserved in the frigid ice waters where it sank. That’s great news–if you find it.
Too little time is spent on the history of the heroic 1915 crew who survived months walking across Antarctica and who had no modern conveniences or communication tools.
In the final moments of the show, the results finally are revealed. Those who do not learn the dangers and powers of ice water will be condemned to repeat the Shackleton lesson. Be warned.