By Ellen Marshall | June 27, 2005

Emperor Penguins move so gracefully and uniquely that it only makes sense a film like Luc Jacquet’s “March of the Penguins” should revel in them. Jacquet has beautifully documented the harrowing travel, mating and quest for food and warmth the penguins encounter during the Antarctic winter. The film goes beyond a nature movie with excellent photography and the determination of the animals it documents.

The impressive spectacles depicted include mass migration in which the penguins walk and slide on their stomachs to reach the mating grounds, protect their babies from bereaved mothers who try to steal them, and share moving moments of intimacy. There are even close-ups and quick moving shots in the stunning underwater footage, which includes a dramatically shot and edited flee from a predator. The visuals are so good that some of the materials designed to dramaticize it are superfluous. The electronic music overplays and the voice overs, done in the voice of a male, a female and a chick, are far more poetic than they need to be. When a documentary crew shot incredible footage of a group of penguins struggling through a horrific blizzard, you don’t need to try so hard to make it exciting.

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