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March of the Penguins


Stars: (narrator) Morgan Freeman

Director: Luc Jacquet

A quite extraordinary film about the incredibly harsh Antarctic life of the emperor penguin.

When four or five years old, the penguins must emerge from the water, their natural habitat, and march 70 miles to their breeding grounds. Here they will find a mate., The male must guard the ensuing egg while the females trek back to the ocean for food to sustain the chicks - should they survive. The females then return, and the males go off on the same journey.

All the while, mega sub-zero temperatures, blizzards and predators reduce the chicks' chances of survival.

Crisply clear cameraowrk - the film took a year to make - lets us in the secrets of these tender, graceful and sometimes tragic creatures that, though technically birds, sometimes resemble a parade of head waiters en route to a conference.

Moving, exciting and fascinating, this surprisingly but deservedly took nearly $80 million at the US box office.

David Quinlan

France 2005. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
85 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Dec 2006