March of the Penguins (2005)

DailyView: Day 273, Movie 383

This was the film that made everyone wish that Morgan Freeman would narrate their lives.

The iconic documentary about the emperor penguin and their journey across the frozen tundra of Antarctica and the process of the family unit that the penguins undertake. The harrowing adventure is narrated with the ever smooth voice of Morgan Freeman, and the uncanny direction of French director Luc Jacquet.

Apparently, the film was first shot as a French film, with a different narrator and featured dialogue from the penguins and a pop music soundtrack, according to IMDB. This feels like a much better idea than that.

The part I liked the most about this documentary is that, unlike a lot of the Disney nature documentaries, they avoid the personification of the animals they are following. They do not give them cute little names or assign them an inner monologue designed to entertain the little children. Instead, it treats these animals as animals, following their behaviors and the nature of the animals. They keep the personification to a minimum.

And, of course, Freeman is gold. He is clearly the reason this documentary became such a smash hit, including an Academy Award for Best Documentary, feature.

The imagery is astounding and the shots of the penguins range from amazing to ridiculously adorable. It does not shy away from the real world consequences faced by the penguins on their dangerous journey.

This is a fantastic documentary and deserving of the status it holds.

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