Friday, 25 February 2011

March of the Penguins DVD Film Review

I was interested in seeing this when I first heard about it and knew it was a documentary so didn't think it was really worth seeing at the cinema, so when the chance came, I watched the DVD instead and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

"This is a story about love" starts the documentary about the emperor penguins' treacherous journey to breed. Set in Antarctica where the penguins live, adults make an annual journey to the South Pole where they all gather to mate, producing one young a year. This documentary follows one cycle of breeding and rituals, revealing the beauty, danger and emotional stress that these animals can go through, in doing so, creating a roller coaster of emotion for us, as viewers.

The first thing to notice whilst watching this doc is the sheer beauty on the landscape and the animals. Even if you hate penguins, you can't deny the beauty of the ice landscape and the stratified icebergs as something stunning and truly mesmerising.

Another admirable thing is the struggle and hardship that is required by the filmmakers, embracing the cold, trekking along with the penguins and so on. Whilst some will argue this movie is an intrusion on the private breeding of the animals, I think it is a beautiful piece of cinematography that showcases the unique rituals and patterns of one of Earth's endangered species, which will no doubt raise awareness for them.

One of the reasons this film is so emotive is the sheer realism that it portrays. Whilst this film shows beautiful lovey dovey mating scenes of penguins caressing each other, it also dishes out the truth- penguins don't all get a mate, older penguins will die, young chicks get eaten and it eggs need protecting or they'll freeze. I did not expect these shocking images but they definitely added so much power to the film. They make you appreciate the beauty of the animals and of life itself. 

Perhaps the most obvious selling point to this movie is the gut-wrenching cuteness of the penguin chicks, so small, round and fluffy. In that aspect, the film does not disappoint in ensuring we are catered for with funny and sweet clips of them. [See my cute baby penguins blog post]

The film ends as the chicks grow old enough to fend for themselves and whilst it isn't a solid resolution to anything, as this ritual is ongoing, it leaves us with a few questions. Why do these creatures go to such lengths to breed? What drives them to protect each other? What motivates them to return to their young? It is these unanswerable questions that make nature so mysterious, and these creatures truly unique.

Morgan Freeman- Narrator

A beautiful documentary NOT voiced by David Attenborough!! Morgan Freeman has a soothing voice that aids in presenting the highs and lows of the dramatic journey of the penguins.

"March of the Penguins" is an engaging and emotive documentary which takes us on a journey, following the emperor penguins' annual mating ritual and their fight to keep their young alive. This is a beautiful doc- one of the best- I've ever seen, though for those who can't cope with the beauty of these animals or the underlying messages of love, this will just be penguin porn.

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