A Great Documentary for the Whole Family

I’m not usually much of a documentary fan but while at the DVD shop, trying desperately to find five decent weeklies to hire, my hubby and I picked up ‘March of the Penguins.’

It turned out that this is a fantastic little documentary and one that Princess Toddler, myself and hubby all enjoyed immensely. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, it tells the story of the annual breeding pattern for the emperor penguins in Antarctica. Sounds boring? Well, these flightless birds are actually quite the romantics and the males are definite SNAGS.

The penguins travel to breeding grounds with full tummies. The doco beautifully depicts the penguins waddling and sliding their way there in a massive group. Not only do you get a sense of the organization required, but the cinematography cleverly combines this with the charming nature of the birds.

Once at the breeding grounds the penguins find themselves a mate and once found an egg will hopefully be laid. From here on in the pair, mum and dad-to-be, are monogamous for a full year. That’s pretty good odds in the animal kingdom, and not too bad when compared to the human population either! Seeing animals mate is usually pretty cringe-worthy, whether it be in real life or on a doco, but in ‘March of the Penguins,’ the filmmakers actually made the mating ritual a touching and gentle affair.

The documentary goes on to demonstrate how the egg is passed from Mum to Dad. Dad cares for the precious egg while Mum travels a long distance to replenish her food supply. Upon Mum’s return the family is reunited, this time with a rather cute and cuddly looking baby to add to the pair. From here Mum takes over the feeding and nurturing role while Dad gets some much-needed sustenance of his own (having gone without food for three to four months – Ouch!). As the babies grow up they make their own way into the world and all three members of the little family go their separate ways – for it all to begin again the following year!

The story of the penguins’ breeding pattern is complex, fraught with danger, and stretches across wide expanses. ‘March of the Penguins’ manages to capture all this in an interesting and informative way. I came out of the doco with a clear understanding of how it all works, and enjoyed every step of this discovery.

Not only that but it held Princess Toddler’s attention for a fourth and even fifth replay. Admittedly, there was a bit of distraction with food and toys, but to have her sit still for as long as she did is no easy feat. It wasn’t long before she was saying ‘pengon’ ‘pengon’ and waddling around as the emperor penguins do. A couple of days after she’d first seen ‘March of the Penguins’ she was asking to see it again. And again!

I’d highly recommend it. Stunning cinematography, interesting and succinct narration, and a wonderful story of life for the Antarctic emperor penguins.

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