Monday, August 13, 2007

March of the Penguins

A week or two ago, Karina and I took a detour from our pursuit of AFI’s 100 greatest film quest to be thoroughly entertained by March of the Penguins. And while it was an Academy Award winner, I was always intrigued but for reasons I could not fully explain. The film is largely concerned with the amazing migration and breeding of the Antarctic’s Emperor Penguins. While the multiple 70 mile journeys that the nearly 4 foot creatures take on is impressive in and of itself, it is the sacrifice that this semi-monogamous couple (as they one new mate every year) make to each other for the sake of the egg that stands out. Once the egg has been laid, it is entrusted to the male who rests it on his feet to keep it warm during the next 2-3 months while the female returns 70 miles to the sea to feed for she has lost up to 1/3 of her body weight. After the females have quenched their hunger they must hurry back to the breeding grounds to relieve their starving mate and by the time of their return, feed their fuzzy newborn. Both taking turns with the egg and baby they give the other rest and time to regain health before going their separate ways.

The film is utterly captivating with not only with the dramatic story, but also visually. The cinematography is remarkable. The detail of feathers makes you want to reach out to touch. My only small critique is that at times, the anthropomorphism that narrator Morgan Freeman imbues these creatures with feels stretched...but then again it is a G-rated movie suited for children. Highly Recommend.