PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Erebus: Operation Overdue (2014)

Erebus: Operation Overdue (2014) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 8-Jul-2015

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 70:36 (Case: 72)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Charlotte Purdy

Madman Entertainment

Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Tom Healy

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     On 28th November 1979 an Air New Zealand DC-10 on a sightseeing flight to Antarctica with 257 people on board crashed into Mt Erebus in broad daylight and clear weather. There was no warning and no survivors. Erebus: Operation Overdue, made for NZ television, is the story of the police officers who, untrained and unprepared, were sent to the crash site to recover the bodies and of the flawed crash investigation.

     Erebus: Operation Overdue employs a compelling mixture of dramatic reconstructions (using the South Island of NZ standing in for Antarctica), archival news footage and still photographs plus interviews with Inspector Bob Mitchell, the recovery operation leader, Sergeants Greg Gilpin and Mark Penn and the then 22 year old Constable Stuart Leighton, who all worked on the mountain, and Air NZ pilot and Accident Investigator Peter Rhodes. What is clear is how utterly unprepared the police team was, mentally, physically and equipment wise, to encounter a disaster of this scale in one of the most hostile environments on earth, and how the events on Erebus continue to affect them to this day. And while Air NZ blamed pilot error for the disaster, it seems clear that a cover-up, with shredded evidence and missing documents, continues to this day.

     Erebus: Operation Overdue is beautiful looking, thought-provoking and gripping television, and the memories of the men, some of whom had never seen snow before, who worked on the mountain coping with ice and snow, 24 hour daylight, bodies and body parts and the birds is heart-wrenching and harrowing. While the operation was successful, in that 214 bodies were recovered and returned to their loved ones, the toll on those who achieved this result was not acknowledge by the authorities for over twenty years. Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     Erebus: Operation Overdue is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which I suspect is the original broadcast ratio; it is NTSC and 16x9 enhanced.

     The reconstructions are generally sharp and detailed with occasional glare while some of the footage of the mountains is spectacular. Not surprisingly the colour palate in these sequences is mainly white and grey, but in other scenes in NZ the colours are natural. Archival news footage varies in condition; some has reel change markings, lines, scratches and other artefacts as might be expected.

    There are no subtitles.

    The video is reasonable, using what footage is available.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded at 192 Kbps.

     Effects are limited to some wind and music while some effects are directed to the rears by my equipment. However, it is the interviews which are important for the documentary and these are easy to hear and understand. Dialogue during reconstructions was also clear. The sub-woofer did provide some bass to effects.

     The score by Tom Healy was low key but suitable for the film. The added plaintive song, Bird in the Thyme by Tiny Ruin, was effective.

     Lip synchronisation fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Behind the Scenes (12:43)

     Shows the preproduction, costuming, reconstructing the crash site and shooting the reconstructions in the South Island, plus the visit of Greg Gilpin and Stuart Leighton to the set. Some interesting on-set footage; worth a look.

Trailer (2:11)

Extended Interviews (13:01)

     Extended interviews with Bob Mitchell, Greg Gilpin, Mark Penn and Stuart Leighton, parts of which were used in the film.

Photo Gallery (2:30)

     40 stills of the actual crash site taken during the recovery operation. The stills advance automatically with music.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 2 UK release of Erebus: Operation Overdue is advertised as PAL but I cannot find details of extras. The Region 1 US listed on is a DVD-R manufactured on demand. Buy local.


     Erebus: Operation Overdue is thought-provoking and gripping television about the traumatic event that continues to leave scars to this day. The reconstructions are spectacular and what these men went through harrowing. I was aware of the disaster on Mt Erebus but not the details or the follow-up and I found this docudrama a most moving film. Anyone who books a flight may be interested in how airlines operate.

     The DVD has acceptable video and audio. The extras are worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE