Encounters at the End of the World
Werner Herzog makes two kinds of documentaries: They’re either compelling dissections of human savagery, like Grizzly Man, or bizarre oddities in which Herzog recites apocalyptic prose poetry over found footage. The Antarctica documentary Encounters at the End of the World is a little from both columns. Herzog’s cameras capture the terrible beauty of Antarctica, as well as the madness that he sees at every level of the natural world, even in cute penguins. But there is just too much Herzog, and he’s in an especially cranky mood this time out (yoga classes are an “abomination”). Instead of gaining depth from the stories of the slightly unhinged loners who live and work in this remote, unforgiving land, the movie mostly views them as contemptible oddities.