Review: Documentary worth chasing down |

Review: Documentary worth chasing down

The crystal nugget amid any discussion of whether global climate change is happening is this: Do you know that most of the glaciers on this planet are severely retreating and that many are disappearing entirely?

If you check out the facts of what’s happening to the world’s glaciers, you might say, “Yikes, we have got to do something about what this means”; or “Scary, but it’s bigger than us humans …. I guess we have to figure out a way to swallow what it means”; or “Whatever environmentalists are talking about the glaciers, it ain’t no big thing.”

This is just a movie review, so talk among yourselves about global climate change. However, to better channel the topic whenever it presents itself, see “Chasing Ice.”

“An Inconvenient Truth” put a vital documentary subject into a commercial limelight. “Chasing Ice” revitalizes the cinematic marker. It travels a route that avoids any of the off-putting things that many people might hang on “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“Chasing Ice” films remote locales beautifully. It is a field work — adventure and science in action — not an academic presentation. “Chasing Ice” tells a personal story with a dramatic arc. (Important as the information and style is in “An Inconvenient Truth,” personalizing Al Gore has some built-in limitations.)

“Chasing Ice” crystallizes the look and feel and digestibility of communicating global climate change, but this movie is worth seeing aside from any supposedly controversial “Oh, my god” and “Leave me alone” buttons.

This Academy Award-nominated motion picture follows National Geographic veteran James Balog’s quest. Documenting “a glacial pace” takes years of difficult devotion, of technical and artistic ability. You witness that the glacial pace of our ongoing era is massive but not slow.

Among a series of stunning images, you witness the largest calving event ever captured on video: about 10 miles of ice at the edge of Greenland fracturing from its base, breaking apart, rolling and roiling into the sea. See “Chasing Ice” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Nevada Theatre.

Chuck Jaffee of Nevada City likes to plug people into the spirit of independent filmmakers. Find his other articles for The Union at For instance, see his 2006 review of “An Inconvenient Truth” at

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