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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 34.95%
Average: 8.74%
Pretty Bad: 7.77%
Total Crap: 10.68%

9 reviews, 49 user ratings

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March of the Penguins
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Luke Pyzik

"Death March"
1 stars

I do not understand the reviews ďMarch of the PenguinsĒ received last year. For months, I heard about the adorable, spectacular, feel-good penguin movie. Did they see the same film I did? Someone must have slipped me the directorís cut because the movie I saw was an hour and a half of watching some of the most adorable creatures on the planet die horrible deaths. And listen, Iím no prude. Really. I have no problem with a documentary exploring mother nature and the harsh realities these creatures face when trying to breed. But I am baffled by the way this movie was sold and received by the public. Who could have guessed that a movie which features baby penguins freezing to death throughout most of its running time would be a word of mouth smash to the tune of an eighty million dollar US box office total? So, yeah, I admit that going in I was expecting something else. But still, I didnít find myself captivated or excited or awed by the film. ďMarch of the PenguinsĒ really just depressed the ever-loving shit out of me.

You will learn one thing while watching ďMarch of the Penguins,Ē and that is it really, really sucks to be a penguin. Honestly, if there is any justice in the world, Ken Lay, Osama Bin Laden, and Dick Cheney will all be reincarnated as penguins. The movie shows us, in all of its hideous detail, the lengths penguins have to go through to procreate. See, it goes like this: for three months out of the year, penguins actually have it pretty good. They swim around and eat and frolic and generally have a good time. Just like in a Coke commercial. Unfortunately, the movie doesnít cover those three months. This movie takes place during the other nine months, wherein the penguins jump out of the water and walk seventy miles to their breeding ground. When they get there, the males and females partner up. Then there is an egg. Now, I am embarrassed to admit that I didnít really catch how that egg actually gets there. Is that really a two-minute penguin sex scene that we witness? What the hell kind of family film is this anyway? Or were they just canoodling? This is a good time to mention that Morgan Freeman narrates the film with his soothing and wise whisper-voice. Unfortunately, he doesnít tell us if that weird scene of close ups and rubbing and touching is indeed two penguins fucking. Maybe itís supposed to be obvious that the penguins are fucking, but Iím just too stupid to have gotten the point. Well excuuuuuse me. Youíd think a movie about penguin procreation would make this point clear to me, but here I am, still unsure if penguins fuck or not.

So ANYWAY, there is an egg. Now, the mother has to go back to the water seventy-miles away where she can feed. The father has to stay back at the breeding ground and protect the egg. He has to stand in one place for months sitting on this egg, not getting any food, and endure the harshest weather on planet Earth. Needless to say, they donít all make it. This is where the death and destruction starts. If you like seeing dead frozen baby penguins, youíll love this movie! Seriously, people actually said that animal lovers would adore this movie. Really? Because Iím an animal lover and it made me want to kill myself. Again, I have to reiterate that I donít have a problem with movies about death or reality or nature. I think a movie can have all those things and still be redemptive and uplifting. But frozen dead baby penguins? Really? I donít need that in my life. Iím sorry.

So at this point in the film, we get to watch the male penguins stand in the cold, get whipped by pummeling winds, and watch many of them freeze to death. Itís great. We also get to see the mothers feeding back in the water. When one of them gets eaten by some sort of arctic sea beast, Morgan Freeman kindly lets us know that not only is the mother dead, but her baby back at the breeding ground will also die because the mother will never return to feed it. Isnít that fantastic, all you animal lovers? So then the mothers come back to feed their chicks and the fathers go off to make the seventy-mile journey so they can finally eat. But the winterís not over yet. Oh, no. Itís just getting started. Many of the mothers will lose their newborn chicks to the freezing cold. Some of the females are so devastated by this that they try to steal other chicks away from their mothers. Isnít that cool? Itís fun to watch depressed penguins go crazy with grief.

All that said, I must admit the film does have plenty of ďWow, how the hell did they get that shotĒ moments. The movie is intimate and some of the footage is quite spectacular. Undoubtedly, a ďmaking-ofĒ documentary would surly be more entertaining than the film itself. I would have investigated the extra features on the DVD for such a film, but quite honestly, I was cold and couldnít bear to see another dead baby penguin. I know Iím alone on this one, but I just hate this movie.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/21/06 07:10:13
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Atlanta Film Festival For more in the 2005 Atlanta Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/16/14 Peter M Great subject turned into sentimental nonsense. Three times over length 3 stars
3/23/10 John Wow! Talk about a grouchy review. For unemotional info, get a textbook, not a film. 5 stars
11/08/09 joel try's to make penguins look like humans 1 stars
5/21/09 Luis Alvarez Really boring. I ended up making fun of of the penguins "sadness." 1 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. i learned alot about penguins watching this. 4 stars
1/21/08 deborah mclean ditto on what brian said 5 stars
6/19/07 Jessiika I really like it and thought it was great :D Penguins are cute hahaha 4 stars
5/23/07 isha boring more exciting please 1 stars
1/13/07 David Pollastrini they're cuuuuuute! 5 stars
12/06/06 chienne I work in Mental Health. Enough said. 4 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist An overrated mushfest,I dont understand why so many people adore it. 1 stars
7/29/06 David Cohen A brilliant antidote for the Disney "nature loves everyone" mentality 5 stars
7/01/06 Gerry Irons Amazing Filming-but thought it sensationalized penguins deaths-penguins die allot we get it 2 stars
6/12/06 millersxing Jacquet brings the penguins; Freeman brings the gravitas--and that's documentary gold. 4 stars
6/08/06 Peggy Doty INTERESTING 5 stars
6/04/06 michael Not just a kids movie either 4 stars
6/03/06 San Lamar i liked it 5 stars
5/27/06 lasharee davis It was very interresting 5 stars
4/29/06 Sheila Spectacular 5 stars
3/03/06 Tanya Beautiful, yet touching, I enjoyed it. great documentary 5 stars
2/25/06 PAG Overrated. Somewhat interesting, but no more than the average Discovery Channel doc. 3 stars
2/21/06 Anne Gallick I never suspected that the live of a penguin was so miserable. This movie is a cryfest. 3 stars
12/20/05 Martin I liked the penguins. 4 stars
12/11/05 Phil M. Aficionado Fascinating in all respects, and an astounding undertaking to film it. Beautiful too. 5 stars
10/20/05 Agent Sands Your obligated to see this if you're an animal lover like me. 4 stars
10/10/05 Jenny Chen A marverous movie 5 stars
9/09/05 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne ALMOST made me forget that Morgan Freeman twice co-starred with Trashley Dudd! 5 stars
9/09/05 John great story in eth tradition of the old Disney Nature documentaries 4 stars
9/05/05 Daryl Walker This is an adorable and fascinating documentary. 4 stars
8/28/05 jenjenmarie absolutely amazing. a true documentary that anyone can enjoy 5 stars
8/28/05 DM The kind of movie where you keep asking, "How did they get that footage?" 4 stars
8/25/05 Smitty Absolutely beautiful, see it in a theater, not on video, but a real bore-ass of a movie. 2 stars
8/25/05 Tom Benton As far as documentaries go, "March of the Penguins" is wonderful. 5 stars
8/23/05 chris. nothing i didn't know before, but i'm a nerd. i'm glad this gives a large audience a look 5 stars
8/21/05 flipst0oge it was so 1 stars
8/18/05 Ilana Sprongl Wonderful film about that most amaizing creature, the penguin. 5 stars
8/15/05 Mark This was the best nature documentary i have ever seen 5 stars
7/30/05 clinger26 You've got to see this documentary 5 stars
7/26/05 rachel fascinating! fabulous! intriguing! 5 stars
7/24/05 R.W. Welch Penguins outwit world's harshest environment. Nicely filmed and written. 4 stars
7/23/05 ajay wonderful story. everyone, yes EVERYONE should see this. 5 stars
7/23/05 Kristina Williams If only humans were so dedicated....... 5 stars
7/15/05 Jan K. A long way to walk with such short legs! 5 stars
7/14/05 Bill Joyner Outstanding Movie for everyone around the World. 5 stars
7/05/05 Brian Strilesky Eventually, as word travels, nearly everyone will end up seeing this amazing film. 5 stars
7/04/05 Ken Incredible movie. 5 stars
3/24/05 Rebekah Johnson Fabulous film! I loved it! Amazing footage and narration. 5 stars
1/27/05 lex Gidley Loved It!!! If it comes to America, it won't be a hit, but it is very entertaining. 5 stars
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  24-Jun-2005 (G)
  DVD: 29-Nov-2005



[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Luc Jacquet

Written by
  Luc Jacquet
  Michel Fessler

  Morgan Freeman

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