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March of the Penguins (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

Documentary and Educational movie directed by Luc Jacquet

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Worth full admission price

  • Jul 14, 2005
Rating:
+3
Pros: Photography, Morgan Freeman narration, beautifully filmed

Cons: None

The Bottom Line: Well directed and filmed nature documentary. Worthy of seeing on the big screen for the beauty of the penguins and their habitat.

It's been a loooonnngg time since I went to see a G rated film at the movies. But the subject matter of this film overrode any preconceptions I had about being bored. Although this was a "G" film, there were no children in the audience! Mainly there were older adults and studious graduate student types.

A touching 80 minute nature documentary film about the mating habits and rituals of the Emperor Penguins. This particular large flock trudges every March over 70 one way miles to their breeding ground to mate and raise their chicks.

Luc Jacquet, a French ecologist who turned filmmaker, directed March of the Penguins. He and a film crew spent an amazing 13 months in Antarctica filming this. Antarctica is not a very hospitable location with winter storms being very harsh.

Penguins are almost comical to watch at first, being birds who live in the water, mate on land, have no wings, but swim like fish. Their single file walking to their destination inspires admiration and awe at this long task. These birds walk upright, sometimes slide on their bellies, over rough ice to their ancestral breeding ground. This journey is repeated several times over their breeding period to return to the Ocean to feed.

The best part of the film is of course the photography which is sharp, clear and very vivid. The bird's glossy black feathers contrast well with the stark white ice of Antarctica. These creatures are among the only in habitants of the harsh ice bergs.

Do penguins have any special devotion to their chicks? Probably not, but it is very touching to see the male and female birds share their chick's upbringing and nuturing.
Male birds care for the chicks by hatching and holding them on their feet under their pouch to keep them warm and safe. The males hold their chicks for months while their female partners return to the sea for food.

Upon the return of the females, the chick is exchanged once again to the female partner. This delicate dance is performed with the utmost care as one slip means almost certain death of the chick due to the 50 below zero temperatures.

Morgan Freeman narrates the film with clear and inspiring words. Who doesn't like Morgan?

The film left me with a desire to learn more about these wonderous birds and their habits. I was amazed and awed by their adherance to their rituals in spite of very harsh weather, lack of food and general danger to walk so far. The quest for life and the urge to continue the life cycle is truly amazing.

Powerful film for the whole family!




Recommended:
Yes

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More March of the Penguins (2005) reviews
review by . December 17, 2008
Nothing short of a standard documentary with excellent narration by Morgan Freeman, all the hype this movie garnered seems a little lost on us. Surely it was an epic to make, but many films are that way.  The movie really got us thinking about animal patterns and even more so internal instincts.  As highly (and often over) reasoning humans, we sometimes forget that we are animals programmed by a greater force to survive and function.  But we're not just talking about the …
review by . January 02, 2009
DVD
This acclaimed documentary follows penguins in Antarctica over a nine-month period, beginning with a grueling, 70-mile march to their ancestral breeding ground. Once there, they find mates and each couple produces a single egg. The males protect the egg and baby chick while the females return to the sea to feed for a month. The parents take turns babysitting until one day, they just turn and walk away, leaving the young alone. Driven by instinct and hunger, the chicks march to the sea and begin …
review by . January 21, 2007
Simply intriguing documentary about the life of penguins in Antartica and how they breed. The journey that both the male and female each take in the frigid cold is simply mind boggling. The camerea work is just superb especially in such frigid harsh weather. How did the camera men endure such hardship?     It was just amazing watching the male and female penguin pass the eggs back and forth protecting the egg. Interesting how penguins survive for months without food and waht …
review by . May 16, 2006
March of the Penguins definitely gives me more information than I wanted to know about this hardy group of flightless birds. I prefer to see cute little pictures of happy penguin families than to have my idyllic vision of their life be disturbed by seeing the arduous travails they endure just to survive.    Their lives are spent either trudging for miles over icy to get to the ocean to find food, or standing on a frigid piece of ground balancing an egg on their feet. With the …
review by . May 09, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
If this movie were made in the seventies, it would be called "Everything You Wanted to Know About Penguins, but Didn't Think to Ask," and it wouldn't match the splendor of "March of the Penguins". What makes this movie transcend the usual nature movies like the old Disney features, "Vanishing Prairie," et. al, is that it is exquisitely filmed, smoothly narrated (by Morgan Freeman) and fascinatingly focused. (The life cycle of Antarctic penguins is documented for one year, so it flows like a story.) …
review by . April 07, 2006
Pros: An unflinching look at nature at work     Cons: None     The Bottom Line: If this movie doesnÂ’t put life into perspective for you nothing will.     Nature is cold, calculating, and unforgiving. Even we humans entrenched deep within our insulated lives (should) have come to that realization; live is not fair, nor was it meant to be. Life is what it is and each creature on the planet has to do what it needs to do to survive and promulgate …
review by . December 01, 2005
As a moment of respite and perspective in a world cluttered with tribal warfare, human responses to natural disasters, and the garish flames of politics, MARCH OF THE PENGUINS reminds us of the eternal cycle of life, life perpetuated against all manner of foes and odds, and helps us re-center our blurring focus. This eloquently beautiful film, a documentary that goes well beyond the genre limitations, is a work of art by Director Luc Jacquet and his fearless crew of photographers, and as art should, …
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About this movie

Wiki

March of the Penguins instantly qualifies as a wildlife classic, taking its place among other extraordinary films likeMicrocosmosandWinged Migration. French filmmaker Luc Jacquet and his devoted crew endured a full year of extreme conditions in Antarctica to capture the life cycle of Emperor penguins on film, and their diligence is evident in every striking frame of this 80-minute documentary. Narrated in soothing tones by Morgan Freeman, the film focuses on a colony of hundreds of Emperors as they return, in a single-file march of 70 miles or more, to their frozen breeding ground, far inland from the oceans where they thrive. At times dramatic, suspenseful, mischievous and just plain funny, the film conveys the intensity of the penguins' breeding cycle, and their treacherous task of protecting eggs and hatchlings in temperatures as low as 128 degrees below zero. There is some brief mating-ritual violence and sad moments of loss, butMarch of the Penguinsremains family-friendly throughout, and kids especially will enjoy the Antarctic blue-ice vistas and the playful, waddling appeal of the penguins, who can be slapstick clumsy or magnificently graceful, depending on the circumstances. A marvel of wildlife cinematography, this unique film offers a front-row seat to these amazing creatures, balancing just enough scientific information with the entertaining visuals.--Jeff Shannon
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Details

Director: Luc Jacquet
Genre: Documentary
DVD Release Date: November 29, 2005
Runtime: 80 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
First to Review
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