Thursday, March 16, 2006

MARCH OF THE PENGUINS

Emperor Penguin March of the Penguins Directed by Luc Jacquet
Reviewed by Byron Merritt


BIG THUMBS UP! BIG THUMBS UP DOCUMENTARY RATING!

In a place as inhospitable as the Antarctic, almost the entire planet will never know the treacherous nature of this continent during its long winter months. There are no land based mammals that could possibly survive here ...except for the Emperor Penguins.

Why they still choose to nest here is a mystery (personally if I were them I'd be sucking down drinks poolside in Hawaii or something), but nest they do. And they come by their thousands, leaping out of the chilly ocean and marching (in March) single-file to their favorite breeding spot, the exact same location where they were born years before.

They must have an amazing internal compass.

They hike over 70 miles, never eating or drinking, just so they can match up with the opposite sex and produce one egg. And if their egg survives the blistering 80-plus degree below zero temperatures, the shuffling from one parent's feet to another's, the bustling and jostling amongst hundreds of other penguins, they might have a fighting chance. But even if they do survive this, the chicks still have to evade predator birds and other pitfalls that take lives so easily in this nearly lifeless land.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman's wonderful voice and filmed in unGodly cold conditions, this documentary deserves all the praise it has received.

My only beef with the film is that, at times, it seemed to be too anthropomorphic, using words like "love", etc. to describe how the parents' cared for each other and their chicks. Whether this is true or not, we'll never know, but what it does do is get the viewer into these animals' lives very intimately (uh-oh! There I go, too!)

This is a great, short film that the entire family can enjoy. And oogling a the cinematography on a big screen is a major bonus as well.

Click here for the March of the Penguins movie trailer!

Oscar Winning Film: Best Documentary

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