MARCH OF THE PENGUINS: 4 STARS
Usually I cringe when I hear that a foreign film has been altered for release in North America, but for once, they got it right. In the original version of this film the filmmakers dramatized the procreation cycle of Antarctica emperor penguins, focusing on a single couple out of thousands. Worse yet, they hired actors to voice the penguins murmuring sweet nothings to each other.
For release over here the film was re-jigged, losing the annoying penguin pillow talk, replacing it with a comforting and authoritative voice of God narration courtesy of Morgan Freeman, and widening the scope of the film to include the entire herd of penguins, not just the one couple.
March of the Penguins is G-rated, but still shows some of the dangers and hardships faced by the birds—eggs that are not properly warmed and never hatch; chicks dying of starvation, exposure, or ending up in the stomach of predators. The brutal life-or-death battle against nature and the elements may frighten very small children, but the up-lifting finale and the extremely high cute factor of the waddling penguins finding love against a backdrop of brutal blizzards and biting winds make this a film the whole family can enjoy.
If you liked Winged Migration, you’ll LOVE March of the Penguins.