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Customer Review

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant visuals, and you can always switch off the sound, 11 Dec. 2005
This review is from: March of the Penguins - Luc Jacquet [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
They're big birds, Emperor Penguins, and they combine the dignity of a maitre d' in formal dinner suit with the comic bathos of a Chaplin … multiplied by the thousands. ''March of the Penguins" follows their Antarctic breeding pattern - although 'breeding' is altogether too rapid a word for such an astonishing feat of endurance. The birds march miles through some of the most inhospitable weather and terrain on earth - 'march' may be too dignified a word for their metronomic waddle and occasional belly slide, but it does convey their indomitable determination and sense of purpose.
The film may concentrate on the routines of survival on ice, producing an egg, keeping that egg warm until it hatches, keeping baby alive until it is capable of fending for itself (there is an enormous death toll), but it also follows the penguins into the sea. Unable to fly, once in the water they take flight. Water really is their element. But, with no predator on land (or ice) except the temperature and weather, at sea they are hunted, and life becomes a life and death struggle for survival.
A massive box office hit, ''March of the Penguins" is a French documentary which has attracted considerable critical acclaim. It's original French soundtrack can be a bit twee in places in the way it gives the birds a voice, but the American, English language version casts Morgan Freeman in the role of narrator. Now Freeman has a lovely voice - warm, avuncular, yet with just a hint of gravitas. Unfortunately, the narration at times does tend to sound like "The Shawshank Redemption" - a brilliant film in its own right, but the voice-over here can be a touch sentimental … overwhelmingly so at times.
The visual imagery, the sheer visual genius of the film is extraordinary, and often commentary enough. It literally features a cast of thousands, every one of them typecast as a loveable little character. And, let's face it, penguins are about as loveable as they come.
If you like nature photography, if you love penguins, this is a must-watch film which, despite the voice over, will keep you entertained and amazed for hours. And maybe, just maybe, it'll waken up a few more people to the threat of global warming - somebody needs to ensure that George Bush sees this and recognises that the world we have needs protecting!
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