March of the Penguins
December 11, 2005
Rated: G Runtime: 80 min Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Yes, you read the title correctly. Movies for Guys took a gander at this G-rated documentary. Some of you will know why. For those of you who don’t get it, let me remind you that Mr. Happy often makes decisions for us guys based on the best chances of us getting laid. And when your significant other demands to be taken to see a film like this or else she will be withholding all…uh…favors for a month, you will, by god, take her to this movie. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience, of course. *cough*
There are also enough guys out there that happen to be dads who are looking for something kid-safe and adult-friendly to go watch. On the surface, this movie appears like it would fit the need quite well.
But pretty pictures do NOT a great documentary make. Despite the gorgeous eye candy found within March of the Penguins, the end result is not a very satisfying film for adults and quite likely even for the kids. However, lest I get carried away while trashing it, the film’s pluses do need to be covered.
Firstly, as noted already, the breathtaking landscapes of the antartic are captured to film in a superb manner. You have to have an over developed sense of dedication to spend a year in 80-below temperatures and it shows in the final product. Additionally, the micro-level work is just as good. The closeups of the penguins, especially given the sometimes blizzard-like conditions, are simply amazing.
Also of note is that the actual story of the penguins and the extreme levels of self-sacrifice they endure for their young is both fascinating and exceptionally touching. *cough* Did I just say ‘touching’? Crap. There goes my left testicle.
Ok, sounds pretty good so far, right? Yeah, it does, but there are problems. The biggest problem is that the movie goes way to far in going for the emotional heartstrings. A good nature documentary should leave off the sentimental hooks and show the realities of its subject matter. Here, however, we’re treated to extreme anthropomorphism that seems to be done solely for the purpose of crushing the souls of those tenderhearted folk in the audience.
But what about the kids? Normally that kind of gushy thing is what kids like, right? Yes, it is. However, the movie shoots itself in the foot in that regard, too, by dragging things out and slowing to a pace that cause kids to get bored and distracted easily. In the screening I was in, there were several restless kids in there even before the film was half over. This slow pacing is also wasn’t helping my mood, either. At one point, I was kind of hoping a baby seal would shuffle onto the screen and get its skull bashed in by a fur hunter.
So, in short, while the kids and women-folk might very well collectively rate this at about four stars, it only squeaks up to about two stars for us guys.
Popularity: 17% [?]
Seen it? How many stars do you give it?