Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tears of Joy, Tears of Sadness

I finally saw March of the Penguins and if there is anything in this world that deserves to be labeled a miracle, it is the fact that there are still Emperor Penguins in it.

I think it’s also not unreasonable to label it insane, awesome, incredible, unbelievable, inconceivable, amazing... {add your own adjective here}

Words don’t come easily after watching this story of determination and hardship.

This production deserves all the awards that it has won, and even more kudos on top of those. And I do hope the production crew got to vacation somewhere warm!

This film has wonderful long passages that allows the penguins to tell their own story without a ton of editing or commentary. Don’t get me wrong: the narration by Morgan Freeman is outstanding, but it doesn’t interfere with enjoying the movie.

March of the Penguins also doesn’t shy away from the truth or over sentimentalize. Some of it is difficult to watch, because it’s not sugarcoated – life is harsh for these small creatures at the bottom of the world. There is death and heartache. And you’re in for a surprise if you think penguins don’t have emotions – just watch the scene with the first egg.

Do yourself a favor and watch this tribute to the power of life. Despite the agony and helplessness of some of this story, overall it’s very life-affirming. I’m still shaking my head over the improbability of it all....

I’ve been writing and re-writing this post, but I really can’t say it any better than Jérôme Maison did in the ‘Of Penguins and Men’ special feature (which is really like getting a second Penguins movie on the same disc!)

The paradox of Antarctica: splendor and sadness exist side by side.


Life seems all the more precious to us now that the Emperor Penguins have shown us how fragile, delicate, and miraculous it is.


If you follow the ‘March of the Penguins Press Materials’ link from the National Geographic website, you’ll find some fascinating background material (disguised as ‘Production Notes’) and awesome photographs (‘Hi Res Art). The ‘Official Movie Web Site’ has lots of info, too, and includes more photos, a screensaver, and wallpapers.

Oh, yeah, did I mention how darn cute penguins are?

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