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Customer Review

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can learn a lot from a penguin, 21 Mar. 2006
This review is from: March of the Penguins - Luc Jacquet [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
The Oscar winner for Best Documentary, March of the Penguins actually earned more at the box office (to the tune of over 77 million dollars) than four of the five movies nominated for Best Picture. It may be a wildlife documentary, but it is definitely a theatrical experience. With its gorgeous cinematography and impeccable narration by the acclaimed Morgan Freeman, it can't help but impress, but the stars of the show are the Emperor Penguins of Antarctica, truly one of the most amazing species of animals on the planet. These aren't just little guys in tuxedoes who waddle around and sometimes fall down for our amusement; these are incredibly sensitive, intelligent creatures who truly reveal the wonders of Creation in the form of their uniquely challenging lives. Anyone who says that animals have no souls hasn't looked into the eyes of a single animal; emotions that some consider uniquely human are revealed for all to see in March of the Penguins.
It's no surprise that life on the Antarctic continent is a rather harsh affair, but it's amazing to see just how hard life truly is for the Emperor Penguin. It would seem, though, that this is the way they want it. Every autumn, hundreds and hundreds of these creatures leave their ocean homes to trek no less than seventy miles to their ancient breeding ground far inside the Antarctic interior. Once they arrive, the males and females form up in monogamous pairs. Once an egg is laid, the female and male take part in an elaborate dance by which the egg is transferred from the female to the male. Each precious egg can only survive mere moments in the harsh Antarctic cold, so the transfer process must be done efficiently - there is only one try. Not all transfers are successful, and even Mr. Magoo could clearly see the pain and sorrow etched on the faces of both mates as they look down upon their lost egg. All of the males who have secured their eggs then bid goodbye to their mates, as the females return the dozens of miles back to the ocean to feed so that they can return and sustain their young after birth. Huddled together in the freezing cold, instinctively shifting position from time to time to allow everyone some time inside the warmer inner circle, the males wait over the course of four winter months - no food, nothing but fallen snow to abate their thirst, and trying not to freeze to death. After the eggs begin to hatch, they must work harder than ever to keep their young warm and wait for the return of the females and the food they will provide. After the happy reunions of those who have survived, the fathers then set off on the trek back to the water, leaving the females to raise the young, protect them from the harsh conditions, predators, and sometimes one another (as some females who lose their chicks try to steal those of other mothers), and prepare them for their own life journeys.
As amazing as it sounds, you have to see it to truly appreciate it. It almost makes you ashamed to be a human being. So many men and women treat procreation as a lark or a mistake that can be "fixed," thousands of deadbeat dads refuse to support their children, and far too many mothers and fathers take no responsibility for raising their children, seemingly not caring one thing about them. How different we are from the Emperor Penguins, who routinely suffer almost unimaginable hardships in order to sustain their species. There is a tremendous amount for viewers to learn about Emperor Penguins in this masterpiece of a documentary, but I daresay there may even be more for us to learn from these noble creatures - they are more human than far too many men and women who are human in name only.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Daniel Jolley
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Shelby, North Carolina USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 576