March of the Penguins

Amy’s making me watch March of the Penguins.  So far, it’s been about these totally bizarre looking birds that can’t fly and have chosen to live in the Antarctic.  It’s cold, windy, dark, cold, cold, dark, cold, and windy.  There’s lots of walking to the same place to get food – oh – it’s 70 miles away, they don’t have cars, and they don’t walk especially well.  There’s been a short romantic section that’s cute, followed by more cold, eventually some eggs, which occasionally break when they are transferred from mom to dad (since mom has to go get food again – yes – 70 miles away).  Eventually the eggs hatch and the babies are born, but the mom’s are away getting food (and some of them are getting eaten by seals.)  Did I say that it’s cold? The moms get back minutes before the babies starve, feed them, but then send the starving dads away to go get food (yup – 70 miles away.)  Oh – some of the babies freeze to death (it’s cold), the mom’s get devastated (especially since they have to tell the dad, assuming the dad survives the seals), and try to kidnap other babies (unsuccessfully.)  Seagulls make a special guest appearance and eat some of the babies.  Over the next few months, the moms and dads keep alternating going to the grocery store (70 miles away) to get food, although the grocery store (the ocean) gets closer as winter draws to a close and the ice melts.  Once summer arrives (in November!) and the babies turn into teenagers, the parents get divorced and the cycle begins again.

Morgan Freeman is magnificent as the narrator.  Lots of death.  Some happiness.  Beautiful photos.  And – according to Amy, “the babies are really cute.”

  • Ulrich Hegge

    Our 4,5 yrs old daughter was completely terrified by the whole atmosphere of the movie. The mixture of esoteric “New Age” voices (the penguins speak…), lots of deaths and impressive, wonderful pictures made her and quite a few other kids cry. We left after half an hour or so.

    My Web research after this experience showed that it wasn’t just me who didn’t like the mixture of underlying ideology and pathetic fallacy.

    I don’t understand what makes this movie so successful. Still baffeld. Oh wait, maybe you just have to turn the sound off.

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  • Ross Carlson

    I agree this really isn’t a kids movie. That’s why I think it did so well at the box office. I really think it’s one of the best main-stream documentaries I’ve ever seen – for the reasons you guys state – the images, the narration, the writing.

    To me the point of the movie was the life sucks for these penguins. The suffer through unimaginable hardship just to survive. They do it every year because they have to, that’s just how it is.

    Yeah it’s sad and scary but so is life. I appreciated that it didn’t just gloss over things like the eggs breaking, babies freezing and being eaten (but also appreciated that we didn’t have to watch the baby be eaten). It’s real. That’s why I liked it so much.

    It’s also amazing what the crew went through to film this. We aren’t built for this climate, the penguins barely are. Oh, and they can fly, they just fly through something thicker than air, water. And it’s amazing to watch…

    Just my 2 cents. I gave this one a 8.5/10 (which is very high for me…)

  • Timothy Campbell

    Brad, if you get the time, watch the documentary “the making of the march of the penguins” which is on the same DVD in the special features section. It doesn’t have the melodrama, was much more insightful, and, more to my sensibility than the feature film. It also includes “critter cam” where they strap a camera to the back of a penguin as it swims in the ocean, feeding and avoiding predators.

  • Miami Lawyer

    Over the next few months, the moms and dads keep alternating going to the grocery store (70 miles away) to get food, although the grocery store (the ocean) gets closer as winter draws to a close and the ice melts.

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