While it is the coldest place on Earth, where temperatures plunge to as low as 90 degrees below zero and the water temperature is freezing, Antarctica is a surfeit of riches.
In this remarkable IMAX experience, we witness the thriving and colourful metropolis in the ocean depths beneath the continent. That includes a sea spider that can grow to be as large as a dinner plate.
Sea anemones may look innocuous, but they dine out on an enormous jelly fish.
The photography, including never before seen footage, is outstanding. Honestly, there were many occasions I had no idea we were under water. Sharp … crystal clear … breathtaking.
Antarctica, the documentary, takes us through the four seasons, starting in winter, when the sun goes down for four months.
It is so cold that the only fish that can survive have anti-freeze in their blood.
Antarctica is home to the mammal that lives closest to the South Pole.
We witness a seal having just given birth to a pup trying to protect him from a hostile storm that rages for days.
It is so unbearable that the mother must seek refuge in the icy waters, leaving the youngster – who can’t swim for the first 10 days of his life – to try to survive the tumult.
It is literally a life and death struggle on the windiest continent.
The documentary takes us further north to Saint Andrews Bay, South Georgia, where animal colonies thrive.
It is there that a bull elephant seal has to fight off an adversary, having won over a group of 60 females.
The place is also home to half a million regal king penguins, several of which we observe trying to navigate their way around thousands upon thousands of pounds of blubber.
Every gulp taken by a humpback whale sees it consume over 100 bathtubs full of water, showing size does matter.
Deception Island is home to chinstrap penguins and their “artistic” poop can be seen from space. Yes, indeed!
If you though a mohawk hairdo was a sign of anti-establishment, think again. Penguin chicks develop that naturally, although it doesn’t last.
Antarctica, from BBC Earth, also touches on the impact of climate change, record high temperatures and rising sea levels in the area and the impact on glaciers.
Humans devastating effect on wildlife isn’t overlooked either. That resulted in the destruction of one and a half million whales. The Southern Right was the most affected, its number of females plummeting to just 35.
A leopard seal stalks penguins embarking on their first swim, which could well become their last.
That is before we are privy to a spectacle never before filmed in these numbers. I speak of a feeding frenzy by great whales – more than 150 of them.
The important point made is that what happens in Antarctica has an impact on all of us … on the whole planet.
Benedict Cumberbatch is a magnificent narrator. His mellifluous vocals add to the visual treat. He is both informative and pleasantly cheeky.
Antarctica is an awe-inspiring documentary – educational, entertaining and impactful.
It is a real eye opener, with cinematic quality that is truly special.
Without wishing to sound like a promoter, knowing full well that I will, no big screen experience comes close to matching IMAX.
Put another way, it is in a league of its own and when you witness something as super and slick as Antarctica that is when the format really comes into its own.