March of the Penguins

March of the penguins trailer View the trailer by clicking the photo above.

Last week Priscilla and I went to see March of the Penguins at the movies. It is a documentry about the life cycle of the emperor penguin, paying particular focus to their mating habits.

It is a beautifully shot movie – the pictures of Antarctica with it’s blue-white ice are amazing, and the occasional shot of the penguins in the water are very impressive. Would you like to jump into freezing/frozen water and film penguins underwater in the middle of the polar winter? Me either.

A fair bit of controversy has surrounded this film. It won the 2006 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and was more successful at the box office than any of the films that were nominated for the Best Picture award.

Conservatives in the USA have praised the film for promoting family values, which is not really backed up by the facts – the penguins are monogamous on an annual basis, then they all swap partners for the next years breeding. Also the footage of the penguins has brought up the arguments for and against intelligent design.

We found the movie engrossing – Priscilla couldn’t bear to watch at times – and thoroughly entertaining. It’s only 85 minutes long, so if you don’t catch it at the movies, make sure you spend the couple of dollars when it comes out on DVD.

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6 Replies to “March of the Penguins”

  1. The concept of paying to see a documentary is alien to me.

    When I hand over my cash at the Hoyts counter, I expect to get fiction.

    It’s like, I get the real world every day of the week. Why pay for more?

    Obviously this position is ill-conceived… but heart-felt..(?!)

  2. I’ve heard that March of the Penguins is a bit overinterpretive, i.e. it ascribes a lot of human characteristics to the behaviour of the penguins, which leads to people thinking it promotes family values, etc. Do you agree, Dan?

  3. Dave – do you pay for a holiday? That’s real life, isn’t it? If you ever wanted to see the emperor penguins in Antarctica it would cost a lot more than the $8 I paid at the theatre. Plus, Morgan Freeman probably wouldn’t be doing the tour.

    Ben – I think people read into it what they want to see. The voice-over describes the arduous journey and talks of the “love” the penguins show for their young, but I don’t think it goes too far in personifying the penguins.

    The french version must have been awesome, however. The French language release had narration “dubbed” as if it was spoken by the penguins. It would probably be less defensible regarding personification.

  4. Nice comeback, Dan.

    Dubbing voices over penguins sounds pretty tacky, even for the French. 🙂

  5. Thanks Dan for mentioning the film this way.

    I make films – the kind people need not pay to watch – and when you do not need to sell the tickets, life is easy.

    Movies are about passion. and March…certainly has that.

    Keep writing.

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