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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Penguins’ is a visual treat

‘March of the Penguins’

Grade: A-

Imagine a sea of shiny, black heads huddled together as a fierce blizzard rages against their shiny feathers.

They are male penguins, and they are not only cooperating to keep each other alive: they are maintaining the warmth of their eggs, which they shelter under flaps of skin under their stomachs.

These starving fathers anxiously await the return of their eggs’ mothers, who are on a month-long trek across the foreboding ice to reach the water’s edge and catch enough food to feed themselves, their mates and their soon-to-be-born young.

This is the picture painted by ‘March of the Penguins,’ a documentary filmed in Antarctica by a French crew.

The 85 minute feature chronicles the nine-month mating cycle of penguins in Antarctica. Seemingly boring on the surface, this yearly ritual is told in dramatic and entertaining fashion by the accompanying narration.

‘Penguins’ features lots of great close-up shots of its bowling-pin-like subjects, from heartwarming images of baby penguins sliding across the ice to a harrowing look at a mother penguin tenuously sliding her egg to its father, exposing it to the elements for a few dangerous seconds.

Just as amazing is the awe-inspiring views of single-file penguins stretching on into the distance, ‘marching’ to their mating grounds.

The movie is a visual treat from beginning to end.

‘Penguins’ certainly doesn’t shy away from the grimmer side of a penguin’s life, including scenes of exhausted penguins collapsing on the ice, babies getting attacked by predators and young penguin couples ahem procreating.

All of these scenes are handled somewhat gingerly for the sake of any young’uns in the audience, but nonetheless, the documentary does not ignore any part of the circle of life.

Sure, it’s a little like a glorified episode of National Geographic (the company that, ironically, also distributed the movie in North America).

But who cares? ‘Penguins’ is narrated by Morgan Freeman a man who, based on his more-than-auspicious film career, doesn’t know what a bad film is.

As a former editor of mine once said, ‘I could listen to Morgan Freeman read the phone book.’

It’s so true. Freeman’s warm, animated voice keeps the film which is thankfully more interesting than a phone book, I might add moving along at all times.

The only moviegoers who might be disappointed by ‘Penguins’ are those who don’t find animals either cute or interesting.

All others will find this flick endearing, fascinating and funny, making for one of the more positive experiences to be found at theaters this summer.

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