March of the Penguins (2006)

March of the Penguins has won dozens of awards, including an Academy Award in 2006 for Best Documentary Feature. At best, I thought it was okay. Then again, I recently gave The Corpse Grinders two thumbs up. To each their own.

March of the Penguins follows the breeding cycle of Antarctic Emperor Penguins. The gist of the film (and Ill save you an hour and a half here) is that the penguins walk 70 miles inland to copulate and lay eggs, then split up so that the mother can walk 70 miles back to the ocean and feed while the father sits on the egg. Eventually the mother penguins return, at which point the male penguins head back to the ocean, this time for good. Eventually the mother penguins leave as well, leaving the baby penguins on their own to grow up, move to the ocean, and eventually (hopefully) grow old enough to continue the mating cycle on their own.

In typical nature-documentary style, the film is fairly slow paced. Save for a few sea lion and a pesky penguin-eating bird of prey, theres not much action within the film. If viewing with youngsters, be prepared to explain why at least a few penguins (both adults and babies) go to sleep during the winter and dont wake up. There are more than a couple of shots meant to tug at your heart.

It would be stupid for me to call this a bad film; its not. Its a documentary that focuses on how far penguins walk to lay eggs, and on a bigger scale, the strange and ritualistic customs that animals go through to survive. From that, you should be able to tell whether or not this films for you.

If nothing else, every penguin in captivity should watch this film in order to remember just how good they have it. Eating fish from a bucket is a pretty laid back gig compared to walking 210 miles (70 miles, three times) in 80-degree-below-zero temperatures in order to lay an egg.

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