March of the Penguins (2005)

march of the penguins poster 2005 movie
9.0 Overall Score

Solid documentary which shows all sides of the penguins' lives


Movie Info

Movie Name:  March of the Penguins

Studio:  Wild Bunch

Genre(s):  Documentary

Release Date(s):  January 21, 2005 (Sundance Film Festival)

MPAA Rating:  G


Keep on truckin’

Survival in Antarctica is nearly impossible, but a group of emperor penguins travel from the sea to the nesting grounds is shown.  The treacherous crossing of the ice, the fight for survival against the elements, the birth of the chicks, and the return to the sea are essential for the species’ survival.

Directed by Luc Jacquet, March of the Penguins (La Marche de l’empereur) is a French documentary feature film voiced by Morgan Freeman.  The movie was critically acclaimed and surprising box office success.  The movie won an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

I grew up watching nature shows all the time.  It seemed like as a kid, you got rehashed video all the time with the same crocodile attacking, the same bald eagle swooping down.  Now, with more exploration and better equipment, nature films look better and better…and March of the Penguins is a perfect example of how the nature documentary has moved forward.


The power of life

The movie is relentless and unflinching.  Although it is rated G and for kids, you do see death and sorrow.  The documentary spares a lot of blood, but I can remember being traumatized as a kid with videos of seals killing penguins and killer whales killing seals.  Here, the danger of predators is shown, but in a way that a kid can handle.  What might actually be harder to handle is the loss of eggs and chicks and the mourning of the parents.

It is the penguins that really become the actors of the film.  It would have been too difficult to actually follow one or two pairs of penguins and the documentary doesn’t even lie about trying to.  Instead we see how the penguins act as a whole and the arduous path they take across the ice multiple times.  The mourning for lost eggs and chicks is real (and you even see a mother try to steal another baby when hers dies).


Agony of death

The movie looks fantastic.  When you consider the conditions the penguins survive in, you also have to consider the film crew had to survive.  The conditions and locations make for some great visuals, and it really feels like the movie gets the needed shots to tell the story.

March of the Penguins is a great documentary which shows the power of film.  It humanizes the animals and shows that they there are universal emotions in living creatures.  The movie is a must for fans of nature documentaries and just a good documentary in general.  Definitely, check it out!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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