ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD(Werner Herzog). 99 minutes. Opens Friday (June 27). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNNN
Encounters At The End Of The World is the latest of Werner Herzog’s personal documentaries about the conflict between man and nature – which means it’s weird, idiosyncratic and wonderful.
Three years after Grizzly Man took him to Alaska to investigate the horrible death of self-?styled environmental activist Timothy Treadwell, Herzog lugs a high-?definition rig to Antarctica to wander around and capture whatever strikes his fancy.
The result is thoroughly engrossing, if somewhat shapeless and episodic. He interviews a few researchers, then decides to venture beyond the limits of McMurdo Station – which necessitates survival training. Once prepped, he’s off on a shaggy but delightful journey around the South Pole, complete with an active volcano, a colony of entertaining seals and some truly spectacular underwater footage.
And though the director declares that he won’t be making be one of those penguin movies, the five minutes spent with that particular species constitute the picture’s funniest and most tragic sequence.
Don’t wait for this to turn up on the Discovery Channel; see it on a big screen.