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Thread subject: Antidote to the heat: movie review (March of the Penguins)
Name Date Message
Shelley 06/26/05 07:58 am There was nothing to do last night but find somewhere with decent A/C. I couldn't have chosen better!

This film was stunning on so many levels, it's hard to say which was more prevalent: the "awww..." factor or the "awe" factor.

You know even before the camera starts rolling that the cinematography is going to be exceptional; it is, after all, a National Geographic production. And it does not disappoint. I can't even count how many times I wondered how on earth they captured some of those scenes. Absolutely astounding.

The narrative was very well-written, not too much info but not too little, and while it was sprinkled generously with humour and affection, it did not spare the cold harsh realities of the lives of these remarkable birds. The voice of the narrator, Morgan Freeman, was perfectly suited to tell this tale. The music, too, was well-chosen and seamlessly suited to each scene.

But most of all, it was about the penguins. Besides being funny, and cute to watch (and eerily human-like, at times!), the fact that these birds have lived in the Antarctic for thousands of years, and have survived the harsh climate there, is almost beyond belief. It's one thing to learn facts such as the distance they WALK on their migration (120 kilometres -- almost 75 miles) and that temperatures can reach lows that we'd have a difficult time saying, much less surviving. The winds and storms can be so severe that it is impossible to imagine ANY living thing surviving. I also learned that they can hold their breath under water for up to 15 minutes and can diving to nearly the sea floor, to catch fish. But to actually SEE the migration, the *huddles*, the casualties, is an experience not to be missed.

Another aspect of their lives that we had the good fortune to witness is a snippit of their social lives: the courtship, mating and love. The emotions. Once mates are established (they were described as *sort-of* monogamous, lol. That is, they mate and remain loyal for one season; new season, they begin again, with a new mate), the ritual of nuzzling and courting is nothing less than exquisite. Such tenderness! And later, when a chick is lost, succumbing to the storm, the mother actually cries and mourns. There is no doubt whatsoever that these creatures feel and express emotion, loss. It was heartbreaking to watch but a necessary part of the film, to add balance and reality to the story which was unfolding.

The chicks are too adorable for words. They look like plush toys, begging to be belly-squeezed. Their comical faces, clumsy antics and amazing resilience are simply impossible to miss.

Like another film I loved, Winged Migration, I know I will be seeing this one again. There is so much I didn't, and still don't, know about penguins, so much to learn.

I am giving this one 2 thumbs up (more, if I had more!!)

March of the Penguins: (great screensavers, under *downloads* and a fabulous photo gallery!)
Cecilia 06/26/05 08:20 am I had read an review (which was excellent) and told Dennis that we have to go...but I need to find where it's showing. thanks for reminding me:-)
Pam 06/26/05 08:21 am Shelley - what is A/C and where did you actually view the film please ? Looks wonderful.
Shelley 06/26/05 09:02 am Pam, sorry. A/C is our lazy short way of referring to air conditioning. I saw the film here in Toronto but I believe it has only just been released. If you go to the website link I have at the end of my review, there may be more info on where else it is being shown. It was a French co-production, as was Winged Migration, so I have no doubt it will be showing in Europe, as well. A real must-see!!

You can also try googling the title if that info isn't available on my link
Celeste 06/26/05 09:13 am Just watching the trailer for this movie gave me the "chills"......Thanks....

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006