More than 175 years after a crew exploring the Arctic disappeared, new explorers are still looking for the leader of that expedition to learn more about what happened on that ill-fated trip in the National Geographic documentary, “Explorer: Lost in the Arctic.” Sir John Franklin led that expedition in 1847. It took until the 2000s for any remnants of that trip to be discovered. While some of the men’s bodies have been discovered and some records have been found, the tomb that contains Franklin’s remains still has not been found.

This is an interesting documentary looking at this journey, especially since there is no narrator to guide the audience. Instead, viewers have to rely on the words of the crew searching for Franklin’s remains. While those types of documentaries can be hit or miss, the subject matter of this one makes it more of a hit. It’s easy to follow this crew as they describe their inspiration for their own expedition, the successes and failures along the way and how the natives of the area could have been key to the original team’s survival.

The most interesting part of this documentary to me was how the Inuit played a role without really trying to play one. The first remnants were found with the help of the Inuit. This crew made it clear that if previous searchers had listened to the Inuit who live in the area, the remnants of the original expedition would’ve been found a lot sooner. Apparently, the Inuit knew where some of the people were buried in ice, and the crew being followed for this documentary believe that some of the Inuit may know where to find Franklin’s remains.

It’s also interesting to see how the crew who got stranded in the Arctic may have needed to listen to the Inuit to survive. Whether they chose not to listen to the natives or if a language barrier prevented them from understanding, I don’t know, but the natives will always know more about an area than some explorer who may have been there for a fleeting time in the past. I would love to know more about those initial meetings. I want to know if arrogance or ignorance played a role in the deaths of those 129 explorers.

By the time this documentary had to be finished, the crew had not found Franklin’s remains. Hopefully, they find them one day and we can get a follow-up documentary. I also would’ve liked to have heard from some of the Inuit in the area about past stories of meetings with explorers and current meetings as well. Like I said, they know the area and if anyone plans on finding anything there, the Inuit are likely key to those discoveries.

Rating: 3.5 stars

What did you think of the National Geographic documentary, “Explorer: Lost in the Arctic?”

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Jeremy Brown

Jeremy has been a big Disney fan since he was a kid growing up during the Disney Renaissance. One day he hopes to go to every Disney Park in the world.

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