MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 80 minutes
Presented by Warner Independent Pictures and National Geographic Feature Films, the independent film March of the Penguins won enough acclaim from moviegoers to crossover to mainstream theaters. The film was directed by French filmmaker Luc Jacquet, and his powerful documentary has touched the hearts of audiences all over the world. For good reason, the film has become especially popular with children and families.
Morgan Freeman narrates this real-life story about the Emperor Penguins journey to create and sustain new life. The cameras follow the arduous trek the penguins make to their breeding grounds each year (as far as 70 miles) in order to find a mate and create a child. Enduring exhausting travel, starvation, and danger from predators, the male and female take turns guarding the egg and baby chick for a period of several months. The film beautifully captures the funny, sad, scary, and endearing moments that occur in the remote Arctic, where we would never otherwise be able to travel.
The narration of the documentary is as much a work of art as the story itself. Especially good for children, the prose of the documentary generally employs phrases like, fade away and disappear in place of harsher phrases regarding death. The narrator also points out specific examples of the penguins devotion to their children, and the bond that is created between mother, father, and child.
Although rated G, the documentary does contain some scenes that may be disturbing to children. As in real life, there are sad moments, and the endings are not always happy. Some penguins eggs freeze or their chicks die despite the parents best efforts to protect them. Also, some moments of peril are portrayed which may scare children. During the two scenes involving predators, I could actually hear children in the theater yelling at the screen, begging the predators to leave the penguins alone.
The subtitle of the film, Love Finds a Way, characterizes the sensitive approach taken in telling this amazing story. The photographers capture tender moments between penguin parents and their offspring that are so beautiful and full of human-like emotion, it is hard to believe they are real. This stunning documentary provides a rare opportunity for children and adults alike to learn about these amazing creatures, and it is impossible not to fall in love with them.
The funny, cute and cuddly penguins along with a few other animals make up the cast. Antarctica herself can be considered a main character, as her weather and changing terrain create unpredictable factors that the penguins must contend with. During the closing credits, crew and cameramen are also shown filming the documentary in the freezing, harsh conditions of the Arctic.
Topics to discus:
- The penguin parents endure many hardships and make difficult sacrifices for their chicks. Why do they make these sacrifices? Do human parents make sacrifices for their children? Why is the film subtitled Love Finds a Way?
- What lessons can we learn from the penguins perseverance?
- What was it like for the filmmakers and crew to document the penguins trek in Antarctica?
- After watching the movie, children may have questions about animals mating, death, predators, or animals feelings.
- Learn more about Antarctica and the animals that inhabit the South Pole. See coolantarctica.com for fun facts and pictures.
The following table contains some of the most prominent examples of possible offensive or disturbing content:
|Violence||Medium||-A seal grabs a mother penguin in its jaws and swims away. |
-A predator bird is shown biting at baby penguins.
-A mother penguin's baby dies, and she tries to steal another penguin's chick.
|Sex/Nudity||Very Low||-Two penguins are shown mating, but younger children will not be able to tell anything is going on.|
|Scary Scenes||Medium||-The scenes involving predators may be scary or disturbing to children.|
|Sad/Distressing Scenes||Medium||-Some penguins' eggs freeze and don't survive.|
-One frozen baby chick is shown briefly.
-A mother penguin pecks at her lifeless baby, and the narrator talks about her sorrow.