By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
From Disneynature comes another gorgeously shot documentary which showcases the life and trials of a particular species. The subject, this time, is a family of Adélie penguins as they go through their regular seasonal routines. This actually proves to be much more exciting than it sounds. Adult Adélie penguins must battle the harsh and sometimes treacherous elements and evade viscous, calculating predators all of their lives. If one thinks raising a human child is difficult, it just doesn’t quite compare to the challenges faced by these intelligent and determined little birds in Antarctica.
The film follows a young adult Adélie dubbed Steve. Steve has come of age to live on his own and is ready to start a family. Though an adult, Steve is a bit of a runt; so he has to stand up to his larger competitors and assertively defend his nest. Steve is able to find a suitable mate, and thus begins his family. As Steve and his mate raise their family and continue their cycle of migration, it becomes increasingly challenging to survive in a wild and dangerous environment.
Written by David Fowler and directed by Alastair Fothergill, Penguins is a thrilling, poignant and rather amusing documentary. With very funny narration by actor Ed Helms, the movie radiates charm, hilarity, and heart. A few of the jokes fall a little lamely, but overall, Helms proves to offer the right sense of humor to keep audiences entertained. His work also helps flesh out the characters well and highlights their lovable personalities.
Once again Disneynature can boast having some absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking cinematography. Rolf Steinmann has a wonderful eye and uses his skills well to capture the beauty of the landscape and the amazing creatures that live there. I feel that people should definitely behold the visuals at the best and largest theater screen available to them. This movie will also look awesome on a large high definition television.
The film is probably more family-friendly than March of the Penguins, so feel free to take children. They will definitely enjoy the zoological lesson, and the narration makes the experience even more accessible to them. The film does have some tense and harrowing moments, but has no graphic or gory violence. The movie opens just five days before Earth Day. This would be a great film to appreciate the beauty, magic and excitement our planet has to offer.