Sunday, September 18, 2005
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll coo at the nameless, flightless birds
I’ve never been one to be captivated by nature programs or glue myself to Animal Planet, but everyone’s been talking about March of the Penguins so I figured it was time to see it last night. And I was really pleasantly impressed. The music, the scenery, the narration, the story, and the animals themselves combine to create a really touching documentary. It probably helped that I knew so little about the emperor penguins, except that they make for cute plush toys. You can’t help but think about their fateful mating season and child rearing in human terms, and that’s what makes it so great, because as much as we endure and as much as we do for our children as humans, our lives would rarely seem so austere or brave. (We also can't go without food for 125 days.) It certainly has some staying power at the box office, too. First released here in June, it’s now showing in more than 2,000 theaters and has grossed about $68 million. It’s so popular in fact that "Mad TV" did a (pretty dumb) skit with Morgan Freeman describing someone's backyard animal life, joking how every movie he narrates or acts in seems to end up doing well.