Reviews & Previews - March of the Penguin

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 at 06:00 PM

March of the Penguin

By: S. Tran

Starring: The Emperor Penguin, Narrated by Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Luc Jacquet
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Rated: Rated G

World's Toughest Animal... The Penguin?

Yeah I am as surprised as you are. But after seeing this movie youll probably be a convert like me. Forget the grizzly bear, or lions or tigers oh my! The emperor penguin wins the award for worlds toughest animal for its ability to take Mother Natures worst in the Antarctic and then come back for more year after year, daring the Grim Reaper to do his worst.

March of the Penguins follows the migration of the emperor penguin from the waters of the Antarctic to their breeding grounds. The film follows the penguins as they leave the water and head inland to their ancient breeding grounds some 70 miles inland over the frozen ice. From the moment they leave the water they look literally like fish out of water and I was wondering how these birds would ever manage to even make it to the breeding grounds never mind survive the Antarctic winter.

But survive they do. These little birds not only make a journey that would kill most other animals, gimping along slowly on their claws, but they then must make it through the dead of winter in the Antarctic and not eat for up to 3 months at a time. All the while they also have to protect their eggs and finally their chicks from the brutal weather before waddling back into the water to do it all again next year.

The cinematography is so amazing that at times I wondered if some of the shots werent CGI. Working in the harshest conditions on earth with a skeleton crew and barely a production assistant on hand to get him a bagel, director Luc Jacquet manages to bring some of the most amazing images in recent memory to the big screen. A friend argued this was simply a National Geographic special but this is a film that deserves to be seen in the theatre to truly appreciate the images.

As a background to the penguin story Morgan Freeman has been brought on board to provide his usual smooth delivery as a narrator. The script around the story helps to add a sense of the melodramatic to the events unfolding on the screen. Sure its a bit sugary at times, but its all done well and at certain points there is silence and the images are left to speak for themselves. Jacquet handles it all with a sense of self control and understated elegance that many Hollywood directors should take note of.

Helping to round out the film is an effective score and terrific pacing. At 80 minutes the film is just about the right length as it left us wanting just a little more. Forget the gigantic multi-plexes, go check out these weird little birds.


4 out of 5 stars.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to