March of the Penguins (2005) Poster

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10/10
Amazing
uptown76113 June 2005
I recently saw this film at the Waterfront Film Festival in Michigan and I can say it's one of the best documentaries I've ever seen.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, it follows the annual journey that penguins and their mates endure to bring a newborn penguin into the world. This film has some of the most amazing footage I've ever see in a documentary ... including underwater footage beneath the ice of penguins feeding and being fed on. Footage so amazing that I heard one viewer saying how it must have been CGI as he left the venue.

If you have any interest in nature, penguins, or just want to see a touching story of the amazing journey that penguins make simply to perpetuate their breed, definitely check this film out in theatres. It's a masterpiece.
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8/10
The Emperor's mating waltz in Antarctica
jotix10029 June 2005
"The March of the Penguins" has to be one of the most beautiful documentaries in recent memory. Luc Jacquet, its director, takes us on trip to Antarctica where we are introduced to the majestic Emperor penguins. Mr. Jacquet and his cinematographers, Laurent Chalet and Jerome Maison, have done the impossible task to capture these penguins in their own habitat under conditions that seem almost humanly impossible to live, let alone take this team to register it for us, the viewers in all its splendor and bleakness.

The Emperor penguins have to be the most elegant birds on this planet. They have such a noble way of standing and shuffling in almost perfect lines from the sea to the area where they will mate, hatch their eggs, and then have the females leave for the sea to feed themselves and bring back food for the new chicks. After that is accomplished, it's the males turn to do their march back to the sea to feed and fortify themselves, returning to the hatching and mating area. What makes these penguins so unique is the sense of family they project at all times.

Mr. Jacquet makes it clear for us to understand the behavior of the Emperors in their hostile environment. The English version has the clear narration by Morgan Freeman who expands on the way these birds live and how they are able to survive under extreme conditions. From what I have read about the documentary, the English version, which we are seeing in this country, has a musical score by Alex Wurman, that enhances the movie in unexpected ways.

Antarctica, that icy white vastness at the end of the world, has never looked more majestic than in this documentary. Thanks to Luc Jacquet we are enlightened by all what we learn about the Emperors as they endure and survive under the worst possible circumstances and remain the graceful figures they are. Watching "The March of the Penguins" feels, at times, like being at the ballet watching a magical dance performed by these flightless birds that manage to look so dignified all the time while doing for us their amazing dance of survival.
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9/10
Luc Jacquet has done the impossible.
jdesando8 July 2005
Toss that anthropomorphic expectation and embrace your inner animal because documentarian Luc Jacquet has done the impossible: March of the Penguins respects, even adores, these indomitable cuties, not because, as Morgan Freeman says in his voice-over narration, they may be just like us, but rather because they are not like us. Although we may want to see ourselves in them, we end up seeing in this incomparably intimate journey through the entire breeding cycle in Antarctica is a unique organism totally devoted to the survival of its family, brooking no selfish activity and no vacation from the harsh climate and relentless demands of nature.

This film's strength is a lack of sentimentality that allows us to focus on the strategies of survival: Thousands of penguins closely huddle with their backs to the sometimes 100 mile an hour winds; fathers and mothers equally share responsibilities such as trudging 70 miles each way to store up food for the babies; fathers protect eggs while mothers make that journey; mates separate after the season from each other and their babies forever. Their lovemaking is dignified and the essence of minimalism. These are just a few of the rituals that characterize an evolutionary process guaranteeing the survival of the species.

Jacquet occasionally courts repetition, anathema to a hyperactive audience, but if the audience gives itself over to the rhythms of penguins breeding to live, it will not be bored. Winged Migration seems strangely detached by comparison, formations mostly seen from afar. Jacquet gets up close and personal (The parents exchanging an egg to be stored under their coats is memorable) to make the audience collaborator rather than voyeur. Lamentably, the director includes no scenes of raw predator activity, just a large scavenger scooping up a baby. A documentary should allow the audience of experiencing the good and the bad.

A few years ago I hid in a trench in New Zealand to see Penguins rise out of the sea at the same time each day marching by us to their camps. I was deeply moved by their dignity and calm, punctuated with a resolve to keep their rituals intact for millennia. That unflagging constancy is devoutly to be wished in humanity.

For once, the trailer hype may be accurate: "In the harshest place on earth, love finds a way." Love of species would be more accurate. No matter, you'll love the film.
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10/10
A Story of Survival
leiser1815 June 2005
The March of the Penguins is a powerful film. It is sad, funny, and simply amazing at the same time. It teaches us that life is a miracle. For the emperor penguins life is an everyday struggle to survive against predators, storms, and raging winds in the harshest weather conditions on earth. The documentary, filmed on location in Antarctica, shows the birds' struggle to eat, live, and reproduce. Each year the birds walk over seventy miles across ice and snow to their breeding ground. There the penguins mate, then conceal their eggs from the cold under a fold of their skin and balancing the precious new life to be born on their claws. Fathers take turns in caring for the eggs until they hatch, while mothers walk long miles again to bring home food for the chicks. Once the chicks are born, the parents work together to feed, shelter, and raise them. French director Luc Jacquet was a scientist before he became a filmmaker. He succeeded in making the story dramatic, compelling, and comprehensible to younger viewers. The film is skillfully narrated by Morgan Freeman. It is a definite MUST SEE.
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8/10
Amazing, beautiful looking film
se7en18714 June 2005
I was lucky enough to see this film at the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck, Michigan. This was a wonderful documentary directed by Luc Jacquet which follows penguins traveling to their breeding ground in Antarctica.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, it's beautiful and I loved the way it didn't just point a camera at penguins and say how they live, this one actually told a story. If it wasn't narrated, you would still be able to follow the basic idea of the film. The countless penguins travel a very long distance to breed. It's very interesting to watch these penguins, they go through so many ordeals just to have kids.

It's in the style of Winged Migration, the scenery is a character. If you get the chance to see this film I recommend it, it's wonderful to look at and it's impossible not to love the penguins.
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8/10
Beautiful film-making. A real crowd pleaser.
tjackson17 July 2005
If you make the effort to catch March of the Penguins, you'll be predictably pleased for the simple fact that if it's penguins you want to see it's penguins you're going to get. Beaucoups de penguins. And you will learn plenty about these noble survivors of the coldest place on earth. If it's Danny DeVito or Burgess Meredith you came to see, you are quite off the mark. The Emperor Penguins of Antarctica survive and perpetuate their species in a frozen and surreal environment driven by instincts developed over centuries. They have mostly monogamous relationships and in the midst of this can recognize one another's 'voices'. These relationships help to organize survival. We get seemingly impossible and privileged views of their long marches across barren landscapes, complex rituals of protecting of fragile eggs in 160 mph winds, huddled in huge packs against the cold, males and females sharing food foraging duties, and chubby birds diving to great depths for fish. It's a remarkable system of survival. The French filmmakers shot on super 16mm film for one year (with 120 hours of images), which is a whole winter cycle for the emperor. They saw none of the images as they progressed. Nobody left until it was done and director as LUC JACQUET SAYS; "It took a year to recover. Re-entry is a long process." The result is, no doubt, some the most remarkable footage ever filmed on the subject. What they do, of course, to reel in their audience is to anthropomorphize these creatures. Like the recent "Parrots of Telegraph Hill" we see the penguins take on the attributes of 'love' and 'caring'. The baby penguins toddle along just like little people, except that they do so braving extreme minus degree temperatures. Miles of these cute birds march across landscapes like little wind up toys in a John Ford snow desert. The story is assisted by cloying music and narration, and the dulcet tones of the ubiquitous Morgan Freeman. But any criticism of the manipulative aspects of the film would be irrelevant in the face of the achievement. These are stunning images beautifully assembled to serve a remarkable story. If your going to get the paying public into a nature flick, this is the way to do it.
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9/10
Marvelous!
GHCool28 June 2005
If this comes to your town, do yourself a favor and see it on the big screen. I never realized how difficult life is for these amazing creatures. The fact that they continue to exist at all is something of a miracle. The movie doesn't anthropomorphize the penguins and yet there are times when the audience I attended with identified with them almost on a human level. The audience I saw it with giggled and said "Awww" many times with varying degrees of audibility. There are even some times when the audience fell dead silent in quiet reflection such as when, for one or two penguins, the long march was in vain.

Also, bring the family to this one! I saw it with my mother, sister, and grandfather and we all came out talking about our favorite parts and how amazing penguins are. My mom said she liked Winged Migration more, but I actually liked this one more.

P.S. I noticed in the credits that there were digital effects artists who worked on March of the Penguins. I'm not sure what digital effects were done. If anyone has any information on this, please send me a private message.
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10/10
Remarkable
sam-65012 July 2005
This is perhaps the most amazing animal documentary ever. The footage was gathered in what truly must be "the harshest place on earth". It is barren, cold beyond cold and then there is the endless night of winter. The underwater footage was my favorite, but every single frame is magnificent. I can't wait for the DVD, so I can see how the filmmakers did this.

The narration is less objective than it is romantic - making it less a true documentary than a story, but that is fine in this case, and Morgan Freeman does a great job. You really should make the effort to see this on the big screen - it is absolutely stunning!
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The real man behind March of the Penguins
jameslfrachon28 November 2005
Despite Luc Jaquet 's brilliant idea of making a documentary on the penguins, people should know that only LAURENT CHALET Director of Photography and assistant JEROME MAISON spent one year shooting the film completely alone and almost died there.

Luc Jaquet, quoted as the Director, was in fact never behind the camera.

Laurent CHALET shot almost 100% of the entire film while Luc Jaquet stayed in France, waiting one year for the return of CHALET and MAISON to start editing the footage that he discovered at the same time.

Laurent CHALET, is the real man behind the Penguins.
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7/10
Cute and visually spectacular
Potty-Man9 July 2007
La Marche de l'Empereur (2005) is a french documentary that features the habits of penguins during the course of one year: their mating rituals, their migrations, laying of the eggs, searching for food, etc. It also shows them facing a danger or two, and (what for me was the highlight of the movie) the moment when the baby penguins break out of their shells! The movie is visually astounding. The cinematographer has managed to capture extreme close-ups where you can see the pattern of their feathers, as well as breath-taking longshots of hundreds of penguins marching on the beautiful icy backdrop. There is also a suspenseful underwater sequence.

The movie is accompanied with poetic voice-overs that tell the story from the penguins' point of view, and gentle ambiance music. There are also a few laughs here and there, as penguins bump into each other or slip on the ice.

The movie could have been handled better from a dramatic storytelling stand-point, but it seemed the director was aiming to create a sort of poetic new age nature movie, and as such, it works perfectly. Admittedly, there are points where the style starts to wear on you, and some parts seem to be repeating themselves, but at 80 minutes long the movie doesn't overstay its welcome.

All in all, the movie is a memorable experience, and manages to be informative and entertaining at the same time, and even manages to be moving on occasion. And penguins are simply the cutest animals!
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9/10
A great film that had a misleading advertising campaign at the time of its release
AlsExGal2 October 2010
I really enjoyed this high-quality film about the life cycle of the emperor penguin. However, I believe the advertising campaign at the time of its release in 2005 was somewhat intentionally misleading. The cute pictures and even cuter lullaby-like music accompanying the TV ads would lead you to believe that you would be safe taking a kindergärtner to this film. Since the film accurately and starkly portrays the deaths that befall these creatures, I can't say that viewing by extremely young children is such a good idea. Instead, the level of violence on this film, although realistic and therefore not excessive, is more along the lines of what you would see on "When Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth" on the Discovery Channel. Thus, probably anyone over the age of 10 can take the death of these creatures in context and enjoy the film.

That being said, it is great to see Hollywood put out such a high quality film and I agree with all of the other reviewers that Morgan Freeman did a five star job of narrating the movie. I hope that the movie's success motivates the motion picture industry to produce more intelligent films like this one that depict the animal life around us and understand that audiences are capable of appreciating and understanding films that do not involve car chases, explosions, bad remakes of 60's sitcoms, and life size robots whose limbs come with machine-gun attachments.
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8/10
What a delightful film
iohefy-226 August 2005
I was going to let this movie pass me by, but friends told me how nice this little film was. So I decided to go see it and I am certainly glad that I did. This is a delightful movie that tracks a year in the life of a flock of penguins. I never realized the harsh conditions that these brave birds have to go through to breed and exist. The cinematography is wonderful making you part of this brave march for existence. In this day of so much junk being called movies, it is refreshing to see a well made documentary that will inform you. My hat is off to the crew that made this outstanding movie. Go see it, you certainly will enjoy it.
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9/10
I Just Loved It
BBrin2 July 2005
There's really nothing not to like about this movie. It is interesting being shown how the penguins behave and simultaneously told what they are thinking. Obviously the imagery is rather objective but the subjective "story" told makes this a movie rather than an Animal Planet TV show. The Story is amazing. Fact is truly stranger than fiction. The characters are well developed; the hero more beautifully photogenic than Brad Pitt and A. Jolie combined; the plot is compelling; and though the ending can never be in doubt its story is both riveting and the resolution impactful. I took my date and my 7 year old and we all loved it.
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10/10
Everything You Could Want from a Movie
arbogast-26 July 2005
This film is visually stunning, tightly plotted, and emotionally moving. I laughed uncontrollably and cried uncontrollably as the action held mt attention tight all 90 minutes. I identified with and sympathized with the films protagonists. Images and scenes from the movie have stayed with me in the week since I saw it - dipping in and out of my mind repeatedly. This film provides everything you could possibly want from a trip to the cinema.

Of course, I am describing a documentary about penguins. The important action linking the above paragraph to a documentary is the film's opening. The first shots show the penguins walking along the horizon. Slightly out of focus, they resemble people - are described as nomads enacting an ancient ritual. In these opening shots, a bond is forged between the audience and the penguins. The penguins - who throughout are portrayed as a sort of single organism in themselves (though there is constant focus on the individuals involved and their personal dramas set against the backdrop of the group as a whole) - are established as human.

Soon after this humanizing opening, the film establishes (through visuals, not scientific explanation) that these impressive nomads are emotional beings who, as individuals, form a society. These individual penguins show personality and desire separate from, yet subservient to, those of the group as a whole. Their dilemma - the plot of the movie - is laid out simply - they must reproduce. Their motivations are to survive as a group, to reproduce, to love, and to survive as individuals.

The visual simplicity of black and white objects moving against endless expanses of ice, sky, and later water matches the simplicity of the story.

These simplicities allow for brilliance of the visual landscape and the basic, endearing, and relevant story to come forward. There are many obstacles for the penguins. Gut-wrenching pain, strife, sacrifice and loss are juxtaposed with inspiring moments of humor, redemption, love, beauty, and accomplishment.

The universals of the story allow the viewer to lose himself inside the shot-by-shot movement of the story; to switch from one penguin to another, long-shots to close-ups, desperation to hope; to bask in the beauty of the film and the landscapes and the sheer amazement that this happens on the same Earth as the movie theater, and also to care about how an individual experiences this extremely unlikely adventure of life.

This is less a nature documentary than a feature film. Watch it as such. The science is there for the viewer to see and accept. Scientific explanation is not the focus of the narration; it is the backdrop for the stunning look that carries a deep and rewarding story.

This all adds up not just a feature film, but to the best feature film of the summer.
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10/10
Too Amazing To Describe
ccthemovieman-121 June 2006
This documentary showing what a group of penguins goes through on a yearly basis in Antarctica is almost too unbelievable to express in words. To use the cliché, you have to see this to believe it.

When I saw it, I remember almost being stunned afterward at what I had just seen, and then thinking about it for a few days afterward, which is not something I usually do. It was just a haunting, unbelievable story....and 100 percent true, not one of these "based" on a true story fiascoes. The hardships that these flightless birds endure to keep their species going is almost impossible to believe. No sense in me detailing it: just check it out. I have yet to hear a friend say anything less about this than I just said: all of them were amazed.
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8/10
excellent but flawed
paleolith18 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
March of the Penguins features stunning photography. The scenery is bleak and gorgeous, and the penguins are a marvel to watch. It was obviously done under dangerous and very difficult conditions. It gently teaches the basics of the mating cycle of the Emperor penguin. For these alone, it's well worth watching -- in fact, it's well worth paying to see it in a theater, since you won't get nearly as good a picture on DVD.

But.

The penguins are jarringly anthropomorphized in places. (And this is the American version. Talking penguins would have kicked my rating down two or three points.) The director is particularly enamored of the penguins' head-bent-down pose. This appears to be because it looks so touching when interpreted in human terms. But there's no reason to believe that it has the same meaning as the same pose in a human, and so it contributes to the anthropomorphism.

The music, while pleasant and mostly unobtrusive, is still jarringly romantic, and it's totally unnecessary. Why couldn't we have just heard the birds and the wind? That would have done wonders to set the stage in all its bleak beauty. As it was, I found it hard to get involved, and the music was part of what got in the way.

A few people have objected to the natural violence shown. But in fact, the problem for me was that the violence of nature was passed over so lightly. One egg freezes early, another egg freezes late, one or two chicks die, one mama gets offed by a seal and one chick taken by a petrel, all very gently. The penguins marching across the ice appeared stoic (more anthropomorphism) but we get little sense of the difficulty of the trek. And the storms, described accurately as ferocious and deadly, look on camera like a moderate March day in Iowa. Despite the setting, nature is seriously prettified here.

Although the basics of the mating cycle are clearly laid out, I left wishing the movie had told a lot more of the story. They had time. They could have mentioned the explorers who discovered the mating site (fascinating story from the little I know), survival rates (they give numbers for the weight loss -- is the mortality rate too frightening?), why the bird lays so large an egg, dynamics of the ice ridges, aspects of penguin anatomy which enable them to survive the cold and the long fast, how can the penguins slide on their bellies so much without losing their insulation. Could have included a lot more. All in all, some of my favorite part was the credits, where they show a little of the equipment and the setup and the people making the film, and how the penguins interacted with the filmmakers.

Finally several things didn't fit. They said that the penguins mated over thick ice because it was less likely to melt through before they left, but some shots of the location showed rock outcrops, implying land, and so were actually shot elsewhere. They show the females sloshing through a meltwater creek in late winter, when there would be no melting. The narration gets to September and talks about "several months" of back-and-forth treks for feeding, and then suddenly it's only November. The parents leave the chicks on shore "never to see them again", and then the chicks stand around for a month with nothing to eat but gaining weight and strength -- huh? I don't mind that they used some footage out of place for dramatic effect, but they didn't always keep it consistent with the dramatized locale.

I like MotP and recommend it, but with these reservations. It's a good film that could have been a great film.

Edward
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9/10
A story of a reality. A story where happy ending isn't found. Just lots and lots of amazing feats in between.
hanzy_boy10 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie can be read as too achingly cute, too pushily touching and too mundanely poignant, but hey, those birds damn well deserve them. They walk (more like waddle) for hundreds of miles in total, starve themselves for months, and oh yeah, have to endure extreme subzero temperature and a few more with 100-mile-speed wind, all that with unbelievable grace, not too mention poise (that's why they wear tuxes) and all that for the sake of procreation.

The movie starts with stunning helicopter shots of antarctic glaciers (some the shots are worthy of an exhibition at a Chelsea gallery) and in the sun-lurked distance 'tis seen dark figures strutting across the white ice, and lo they are emperor penguins shooting from an ice-hole, from that on we are taken for a journey of endurance and survival, with moments of humor and joy here and there, but one thing this movie doesn't lack is elegance.

Just like a tradition of complex animal behavior, this one is bound to be inspiring for us humans and so much so, I was kind of embarrassed for our species because of their superior adaptation and continued existence. I was moved when the penguin march leader decided that he was no longer apt to be a leader, he just stopped and another penguin replace his position. It was unnervingly stirring when the group huddle during a freak snow storm, that and more.

The movie is restrained right before it starts to develop tyrptophan (unlike the turkeys in "winged migration") and for some scenes, to protect the G rating. But this sublime retreat from logical narrative of men offer even more enlightened and transcendent view that life, no matter how harsh the situation might be, is never just about humdrum struggle for survival or just to fulfill purpose, but for these penguins, a passionate, selfless caring, reliant, and an understanding struggle. Even knowing that they're going to face the same cruel fate over and over and over again. The kingdom of these emperors will be standing for some time, I bet.
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10/10
U.S. narration NOT the same as what was shown elsewhere!
Faye-930 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Morgan Freeman's U.S. script was wonderfully written. There were no voice overs for the babies. He did not talk too much or too little. This was a different kind of documentary. It wasn't meant to give us a science lesson on "The Life of Penguins". It was meant to show us what they endure to follow their instincts, travel across the SOUTH POLE, not the North Pole, to the place where they were born, mate, survive the harsh winter, how they share parenting duties and how cute the young are before they go off on their own. There were things in this film that I didn't know about penguins. I was thoroughly entertained, moved and pleased. If you are an animal lover you will enjoy it. If you saw Duma and enjoyed it, you will enjoy this one. Don't let the negative comments influence you. Hey, one movie ticket is worth two Grand Latte's. Splurge!
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9/10
Creates an Amazing Sense of Kinship Between You and the Emperor Penguins
janqb15 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is extraordinary in that there are no human actors, it is a documentary, there are no special effects, and yet it manages to enchant, enthrall, excite, and bring an audience to the brink of tears. Though "March of the Penguins" has a feel-good quality to it, rest assured it is not Disney-fied and will not nauseate you with Hollywood's mawkish sentimentality. The joys of two penguins falling in love (do birds fall in love? I don't know but it sure looks like it) and successfully raising a chick is neither subdued nor overdone. When a penguin couple loves, you can feel it, when a penguin suffers -100° snowstorms for the sake of its egg, you can feel it, when a penguin grieves over the loss of a chick, you grieve as well.

Perhaps a little guilty of anthropomorphizing these creatures, Jacquet nonetheless demonstrates that penguins and humans are a great deal alike. There were moments when I wondered if the birds' behaviors could be interpreted as humanly as Jacquet leads you to believe, but by the end of the film he fully convinces that penguins and people are a lot more alike than we could have imagined.

A film like this can make you start wondering if we are genetically more related to penguins than chimps! "March of the Penguins" creates an amazing sense of kinship between the viewer and these tough, admirable, imperfect, and courageous birds.
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9/10
An outstanding nature documentary
gdshrout22 August 2005
It was a real treat to go to the theater for once and not a watch guns, explosions and over the top drama. Instead, this film is about the drama of life in the Antactic. Other comments will give you ample information about what the film is about, so I won't waste time and space writing about that. Instead, I will write about what I liked. The wide shots were cinematic in scope, and breath-takingly beautiful. There were plenty of close-ups of the penguins. Watching these noble creatures waddle about and occasionally slip and fall was good clean fun, and elicited laughter in the sparse crowd of the theater. The film and narrative is not overly sentimental; in fact, at times it is brutally honest about the harshness of life in that stark and cold environment. Finally, contrary to other opinions, I found the voice-over excellent and well-written. Morgan Freeman has an outstanding voice for this type of work. And I will say that I actually liked the music, and felt that it worked well with the action on-screen.
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7/10
a tribute to nature's spirit of endurance
Buddy-5118 August 2005
As informative as it is entertaining, the phenomenally popular documentary "March of the Penguins" demonstrates that life can flourish even in the remotest corners and harshest environments on our planet.

Director Luc Jacquet and his valiant crew of seasoned filmmakers spent a grueling winter in Antarctica getting up-close-and-personal with a group of penguins who turned out to be anything but shy when the cameras started rolling. The team recorded the complex mating and child-rearing ritual the penguins have been acting out on their own private little continent, far from the prying eyes of the outside world - until now, that is - for thousands upon thousands of years. After the penguins have marched seventy miles to their breeding ground, the males and females pair off into monogamous couples to do their thing (fear not, worried parents, the film stays within the pristine parameters of a "G"-rated, family-friendly feature here). Then, after the egg has been laid, the male and female trade off responsibility for protecting their progeny against the brutal cold in a fashion that can only make many exhausted mothers in the audience green with envy. Then we watch as the eggs hatch and the pint-sized young'uns finally get a taste of the challenging life they've been brought into this literally cold, cruel world to lead.

Although the photography doesn't have the sparkling clarity one would find in an IMAX film on the same subject, "March of the Penguins" still does an amazing job placing us right in the center of the action, be it on the ice as the penguins huddle for warmth against a raging blizzard or under water as the exhausted mothers search for food to bring back to their hungry babies. The movie is both funny and touching, keeping the inevitable anthropomorphic silliness to a decent minimum. The narration (voiced by Morgan Freedman) occasionally veers towards the sappy, but, for the most part, it stays levelheaded and informative, while the music ranges from the moving to the soupy.

"March of the Penguins" may be no more than a Discovery Channel feature blown up to big screen proportions, but it's still more fun to watch than most of the fiction films in theaters these days.
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8/10
Great documentary, with great filming techniques, and good voice over by Morgan Freeman
FrankBooth_DeLarge16 August 2005
I just went to see this today, and I'm glad I did. It is a good story that is shown through natural situations, and is told by Morgan Freeman. His voice over work really added a lot to the movie. At times, some of the things he said were funny, and some times the things that happen are sad. Some humor is present, such as how the penguins are compared to humans.

March of the Penguins follows the penguins in Antarctica from the moment they jump up from the water, to the moment the baby chicks grow up, and swim off to live in the ocean on their own. It shows the ancient ritual of the penguins, their march across Antarctica. Along the way they endure harsh conditions, mating, birth, loss, responsibility, gathering food, avoiding predators, and raising their young. This movie is good at making you feel delighted, and at the same time, it shows how many of the penguins, and the baby chicks die through natural occurrences, and some die because they are taken by predators.

This is a great movie for kids to see, because they will learn something, and will probably be delighted by the penguins antics. Adults will also like this movie. It has elements of a nature special, but it is taken to a new level, it tells a story like a movie. At this day and age, most movies rely on special effects and sound effects to entertain audiences. This movie doesn't rely on special effects, but on story and quality.

Another great thing in this movie is the camera work and cinematography. The shots are very well done, and the underwater shots are incredible. In the underwater shots, they certainly made the predators look intimidating.

I highly recommend this. It is great for kids, because it will teach them something, and adults will also enjoy it. It is very well made and very watchable. Special thanks to Morgan Freeman for the excellent voice over.
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8/10
"March Of The Penguins" is worth the trip.
BrigitteD15 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
At a time when documentaries are gaining progressive interest and are seeing wider exposure and release into mainstream multiplexes, it has been an opportune strategy to unveil this latest informative excursion into theaters, where it has surprisingly surpassed even some of the summer's bigger, albeit, stale ambitions which have ended up failing to impress.

Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman narrates this natural wonder as seen throughout the frigid exploits of French director, Luc Jacquet.

The film chronicles the incredible annual journey of the Emperor penguins as they leave their habitat and travel across endless miles in order to assemble at their designated breeding ground.

From there, we see them attempting to locate a mate, and going through the process of "consummating" their union.

Amazingly, their courtship methods are not so unlike our own, and in many respects, they are reminiscent of humans, often resembling a wealthy society gathering at a formal event.

Once the conception has been completed, the penguins must cooperate together in sharing responsibilities and protecting each other from both the unforgiving elements of the endless winter season and from wild predators alike.

In awaiting the birth of their offspring, the penguins must overcome starvation, separation, and harsh climactic conditions, and unfortunately, many of them don't survive long enough to greet their young ones into the world.

Once the eggs are completely formed and begin to hatch, it becomes a whole new method of survival as the proud and doting parents must oversee the protection and well-being of their newborn chicks.

The display of community and family bonds is incredible, as are the expressions of attachment, grief, determination, and altogether sense of instinct.

The cinematography is flawless in the way it presents the sprawling, lifeless, white landscape of winter as a background to the black masses of striving and vital creatures. It is a stark contrast between nature's unavoidable tragedies and its welcomed miracles. The accompanying musical score also underlines the atmosphere quite nicely.

In our civilization of greed and emphasis on material luxuries, we could really learn a lesson about selflessness, sacrifice and placing priority on more fundamental aspects of living, through this inspirational film.
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7/10
Fantastic cinematography, but...
soccernutter14 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Going into this movie, I had no idea of the premise, other than it was tagged with National Geographic and that Morgan Freeman was the narrator. The first encouraged me, the second did not. Upon reading the credits, I saw that Luc Jaquet was director – a Frenchman. Having watched many French movies over the years, and a long time follower of Le Tour de France, I was expecting excellent cinematography, and I was not disappointed.

From the opening narration, I knew that this would follow penguins (Emperor as it is) through courtship and birthing period. Of this I am used to, having watched Discovery Channel for years. The various nature shows I have seen about the struggles of life, death, birth, and a variety of other parts of life, engaged my curiosity and set my standard. Perhaps, that set my standard too high.

I was also put off having recently watched (finally!) "Million Dollar Baby." To me, having Mr. Freeman narrate "March of the Penguins" was too similar, and almost too popular, to give this movie a feeling of completeness to match my intellectual curiosity.

And I was right. The four of us who watched "March of the Penguins" walked away from this it with more questions than should be allowed, all about the life of the Emperor Penguin, and very little about the movie itself.

But don't take that I didn't like the movie – I enjoyed it tremendously. I just would have been satisfied watching it muted. Perhaps I will rent the movie and do just that.

And watch the closing credits, they are fun!
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9/10
Review on US Version
hluce230 July 2005
The US version contains a beautiful score with only Morgan Freeman's voice portraying the events on screen in delicate detail. The landscape is breathtaking and the film will engage both child and adult audiences.

This film follows the trek of the Emperor Penguin during their migration to breeding grounds in the interior of Antartica. The director portrays all aspects of their harsh surroundings as well as the realities of life, death, and birth with a deft hand.

I plan to purchase the soundtrack which added another layer of expression to the backdrop of the Antartic. The flute and bassoon duets were outstanding and the music seems to stand on its own.
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