The Netflix Report

Movie reviews from my Netflix queue. Highly personal and opinionated!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

March Of The Penguins

There’s a lot to like here, as you obviously know from all the hype and hoopla surrounding this movie. Penguins are innately fascinating and lovable to humans. The Arctic environment is breathtaking in its beauty and harshness. The danger and difficulties the penguins face in their breeding cycle is real. And the photography in the movie is crystal clear and gloriously detailed.

BUT... This is 15-20 minutes worth of material padded to fit an 80-minute running time, which must be the least they thought they could get away with for a feature film. The filmmakers spend ages just focusing a super-tight closeup on the neck feathers of a penguin. It’s thoroughly unnecessary. The movie is of course suitable for children, but be prepared for tears when penguins, eggs, and chicks sometimes don’t survive.

The DVD contains an unfunny lesser Bugs Bunny cartoon where he is involved with a penguin. There is an unwatchable documentary on the two French photographers who put the documentary together (boring and repetitive).

And then there is a National Geographic short documentary obviously intended for a youth audience. In about 15 minutes, it tells the same story of the penguins without the sensationalizing that the French team goes for. It contains more facts, more varied shots from more perspectives, and more real scientific understanding of the birds and their environment. This is the gem of the set and for my money, a better film than the main feature.


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