Sunday, August 07, 2005

There's Something About Penguins

“In some ways this is a story of survival, of life over death,” says Morgan Freeman about “March of the Penguins,” a riveting documentary from Warner Independent Pictures and National Geographic. “But it’s more than that. It’s a story of love.”

Listening to Freeman’s soothing voice as he narrates this stunning film provides a bit of warmth to its icy cold Antarctic setting where Emperor penguins struggle to live and love under unimaginable conditions. For thousands of years, these beautiful creatures have carried on a breeding ritual that involves hiking 70 miles to a nesting ground. Once there, each penguin finds a mate and engages in a touching courtship. When the egg is ready, the mother and father both share in its care. And they take turns hiking back and forth to the sea for food until the penguin chicks are ready to strike out on their own. All this takes place against a backdrop of ice, snow and frequent blizzards

ReelTalk critic Donald Levit writes, “Against this vast whiteness that strangely appears all horizontal with scant verticality, the elemental drama plays out annually. Amazing, but true. The story is quiet, but the process and mere fact of species survival is majestic.”

I think “majestic” is a good way to describe “March of the Penguins.” But I would also add “spellbinding” and “enlightening.” This is a terrific film for the entire family.


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