March of the Penguins
At the end of each Antarctic summer, the emperor penguins of the South Pole journey to their traditional breeding grounds in a fascinating mating ritual that is captured in this documentary by intrepid filmmaker Luc Jacquet. The journey across frozen tundra proves to be the simplest part of the ritual, as after the egg is hatched, the female must delicately transfer it to the male and make her way back to the distant sea to nourish herself and bring back food to her newborn chick.
Release Date: June 24, 2005
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After losing his grip on several baby penguins, a larger bird finally succeeds in picking off one of the flock. A wicked-looking leopard seal rushes after adult penguins, and—giving the camera plenty of time to first go in for close-ups of its gaping maw—it grabs one female, swimming off with her.
Set against Antarctica's pristine background, the March of the Penguins is a remarkable narrative. Paying homage to these rugged royals, the movie is a testament to the resilient nature of the Emperor Penguins who reign in the land of ice and snow.
Though this movie was amazingly well done and appropriately rated G, it had too much of a documentary feel to capture the attention of our rambunctious preschoolers; however, the adults were mesmerized by the photography, soulful narration of Morgan Freeman, and intimate story of life and death in the Antarctic. The sacrifices that mother and father make for the life of their child is awe-inspiring, and we could learn a lot from penguins.
Parents need to know that the documentary includes stunning but also occasionally disturbing imagery of penguins walking, mating, and dying. Morgan Freeman narrates as the penguins make their annual march from the Antarctic shore in Antarctica. Some penguins die along the way, and others freeze during the long winter as they huddle to protect pregnant females and then eggs and babies, and still others are killed by predators.
Amazing film. It surprised me the lengths at which penguins go to, to have new babies. It is a story of love and hope. You almost feel bad for the penguins. It shows mothers and fathers taking care of their young. When a baby is lost you can see the sadness in the parents. Captivating show. Very well done. Definitely worth the watch!June 5th, 2013 · Details
Very interesting documentary. Even my young children enjoyed this one.July 26th, 2011 · Details
Watching "March of the Penguins" only reminds us of just how shallow and shoddy the character development and overall level of storytelling in mainstream film has fallen.
This enthralling, French-made documentary feature follows hundreds of emperor penguins as they trek across the Antarctic wilderness to find mates and reproduce. It's a life-and-death struggle that's much more compelling than any similar story line in any film so far this year.
The makers of this year's slew of phony and contrived romantic comedies should be required to watch "March of the Penguins" to see just how tender and rare a romance can be — even if that lesson is taught by a pair of somewhat comical looking flightless birds.
For this U.S. release, distributor Warner Independent Pictures removed the French voice-over (which included actors giving "voices" to some of the penguins), and the studio made a wise choice in selecting Morgan Freeman to narrate.
As he tells us, the penguins' harrowing journey takes them nearly 70 miles across the icy Antarctic shelf to their mating grounds, with the location being chosen out of safety concerns for their offspring. They then have to find a mate and hope that their coupling is successful.
There are also predators waiting to pick off the less hardy members of the pack. And in a couple of eerily beautiful scenes, the incredibly frigid Antarctic winter leads the penguins to huddle together to shelter themselves from the ice and cold.
Director Luc Jacquet has his cameras set at the penguins' level, in order to capture some of the most astonishing footage of the animals ever seen on film. Cinematographers Laurent Chalet and Jerome Maison also manage to capture some breathtaking underwater images, showing female penguins feasting once their pregnancy-induced "fast" is over.
Also, the animals shown in the film have considerable character. One of the more amusing scenes shows a female penguin falling down on the ice and then appearing to cuss.
The voice-over is not completely free of sticky sentiment and occasional bluster, but it seems appropriate here. And having Freeman deliver some of these lines does make them more palatable.
Also, stick around to watch the final credits, which show just what Jacquet and the camera crews went through to shoot their penguin subjects.
"March of the Penguins" is rated G, though it does contain some scenes of animal violence (a sea lion and gull attack), as well as some mildly suggestive material about penguin mating. Running time: 80 minutes.
E-MAIL: email@example.comJuly 15th, 2005 · Details