Wednesday, July 20, 2005

March of the Penguins

March of the Penguins (Director: Luc Jacquet)

MARCH OF THE PENGUINS won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature

Or: La Marche de l'empereur. This is Jacquet's first film, based on his story and a screenplay by Michel Fessler and himself. That makes it sound like he made up the story of the march of the penguins, and trained them to do his bidding for the film. However, this is a documentary.

The latest of hit documentaries covers the harsh life of penguins in the Antarctic, their long march towards thicker ice that will serve as a breeding ground for newly minted penguins. The story gets its weight from the cuddly penguins having to endure starvation, extreme cold, and predators as they try to complete the circle of life. How they got Elton John to get out in the negative-degree cold and play the piano in his old 70's rock gear is beyond me, but half the fun is seeing Sir Elton ignore the icicles forming on his ears and just playing good old-fashioned music. The other half of the fun is that I'm completely lying about Elton John making an appearance in this film.

But yes, when the stark realities of the dangerous conditions rear their ugly head, it's devastating. The penguins act pained when a young one dies or has no chance of ever being born. They react in ways in which you would never think. But America's favorite grandfatherly figure Morgan Freeman assures us that this may be the terrible truth, but that it's all a part of the penguins ultimately increasing their numbers, even though many may die in the process. Man, Morgan Freeman has been biz-zay this year. Fine with me.

To sum up, this is a nicely-filmed documentary with some deft camerawork. It's a tad repetitive, but it's short, and fun. Worth a watch.


At 7/20/2005 07:32:00 AM, Blogger NLock said...

So, this is not a cuddly penguin movie for kids. The penguins in Madagascar were cool. I'm guessing the penquins in Luc Jacquet's movie aren't hijacking ships and teaching lions to each sushi.

At 7/20/2005 10:55:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Well, it's more cuddly than not. It simply states the horrors, and you might see some dead penguin bodies, but it doesn't overburden you with images.

And yes, I was sitting there thinking, this is what MADAGASCAR should have been--you know, only with a satirical script.

At 7/20/2005 11:15:00 AM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

Man, I was really hoping they'd be just like the penguin from Wallace & Gromit...rubbing their flippers together in evil-henchmen fashion.

At 7/20/2005 02:51:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

A good, quiet movie. I thought the painful moments where the couple lost their egg/baby were the most moving, especially with the horrible sounds of grief they were making. At times I wondered if there were some sounds edited in to make them more human, a common problem that is my main, but minor, complaint about the movie.

The painful scenes aren't so bad that you couldn't take a kid - there's death in Bambi as well. And if you know a girl who loves cute animals, she'll love that, too. I liked it because I like nature documentaries, especially here when they don't have to make it sexy or cool like the Discovery Channel feels the need to do. Recommended for people who like this kind of movie.


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