80 min / 2005
Penguins are cute but tough as nails too, and March of the Penguins gives us the insider’s look at both the grit and the comedy.
These waddling, wacky creatures mate and reproduce in a clearing that, while miles and miles from most predators, is also miles and miles away from any source of food. So God has equipped the parents to be able to go for months without food as they wait for their egg to hatch. To give us the inside scoop the filmmakers spent a whole year in the harshest of environments, with temperatures as low as -60°C (-76°F), to bring us right into the penguin huddle.
Somewhere in this film there is a line about “millions of years” but it seems almost beyond belief that a person could watch this film about the trials and triumphs of penguin life and not see it as a testament to the wonder of God’s creative hand.
More important for parents considering whether to watch this with the family, not all the penguins survive the journey, including a couple of instances where we see a dead chick. There’s a scene where predator birds attack a group of chicks, eventually carrying off one. So I wouldn’t recommend this for younger, more sensitive viewers.
While I loved this film, the pace was sometimes a slow waddle. My dad owned a DVD player that sped films up to 1.25 times while keeping the sound at its normal timbre – this would be a prime candidate for such a device, and if you stream it online, that’s sometimes an option.
That said, there is a reason it won an Oscar for best documentary. The filmmakers took us somewhere we’ve never before been, right into the middle of that penguin huddle. And that is a remarkable place to be!
If you like March of the Penguins, there are a couple of other documentaries you may like too. Winged Migration tells the story of dozens of different bird species as they travel thousands of miles from North to South and back again. And if you found the ice and isolation of the Antarctic captivating you’ll likely enjoy Imax: Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure.