March of the Penguins (2005)

The March of the Penguins is one of the most beautiful documentaries of all time.  The penguins are cute and the scenery is breathtaking and exotic.  But the real beauty is the miracle of life.

Emperor Penguins set the bar much higher than mere humans can reach when it comes to selfless dedication to their offspring and to the penguin group.  In "the harshest place on earth" it is only this discipline and inner strength that has given penguins the ultimate victory of survival for untold millennia.

Mating and child rearing must be performed some seventy miles from the penguin feeding area.  This results in regular and protracted treks from one site to the other and long periods of time without food.

Mother and father penguins take turns looking after a single offspring.  Father penguins conceal the eggs from the cold under a fold of their skin and balance the precious new life on their claws.  Fathers go without food for more than four months to ensure survival of their young.  Once the young are hatched, the mothers arrive to rear the young, while fathers trek the seventy miles to where they can feed.

Unlike many nature documentaries that try to give animals human characteristics, this one worships the penguins for what they are.

(One human fathers' group called "
Fathers Are Capable Too" has taken the emperor penguin as its symbol of fatherly dedication and its push for a shared parenting model after divorce.)

The March of the Penguins could even be a good date movie as the mating scene is both touching and dignified.

However, there are several versions of the March of the Penguins.  In the one I saw, which is the most prevalent (in the US and Canada), Morgan Freeman ably does the narration.  One earlier version includes subtitles instead.  Another has ridiculous sounding voices for the mother, father and baby penguins.  Check to see which one you are getting.

Viewers of all ages, who have some emotional sensitivity, will enjoy this film.  There are some sad points in the film when penguins die, so toddlers with too much sensitivity may find it too heart breaking.

I highly recommend this beautiful and uplifting film.
                                           - Reviewed by Paul G.

Rated: G but there are sad parts where baby penguins die.

Duration: 1 hours 25 minutes          (UK title is "The Emperor's Journey")
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