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March of the Penguins (2005)March of the Penguins (2005)

           In this National Geographic documentary the filmmakers take your through a year in the life of Antarctica's Emperor Penguins. The director Luc Jacquet pitches this as a romantic story of migration and mating in which thousands of penguins waddle and glide 70 miles across an icy wasteland to the same place year after year, often in single file, to bear their young. The foreboding geography is fascinating and the cinematography remarkable, as they only could be. The technical challenges of making a movie like this where temperatures plunge to -70 degrees boggles the imagination. But I thought the film had trouble finding its exact voice. The music track suggests certain viewpoints, and the narrator's script equivocated between the purely scientific and the crassly cute ("This is a love story."). We can easily imagine learning much more about these fascinating creatures who thrive in such a harsh environment. March of the Penguins will take its rightful place alongside other family-friendly animal-lover films like Winged Migration, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, and The Story of the Weeping Camel.

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