Incredible and breathtaking are two words that escape you quite soon as you start watching this documentary which has a narrative like a movie script. At the core of the script is a very human story of love, perseverance and sacrifice and yes tragedy and triumph in equal measure. The words “Human spirit” has been used so often that it is easy to forget that the the same spirit of dogged determination to survive is present in all species – from the lowly ant to mammoth whale. It is just that we have the faculty of diverse language to express it more often and very self-consciously. For the ‘dumb animals’, the ‘spirit’ is just a way of life.
Of course, what makes this movie extremely watchable is due to the fact that it has penguins in its main starring role. Who hasnt found these gentlemanly birds cute?!!! When they waddle across the wide expanse of Antarctica, swaying from side to side, they look exactly like portly Victorian gentlemen complete with a coat, who have had a little too much of the drink!!! Put a hat on them and from a distance they would look like a procession of 19th century gentlemen brought accidentally by some time machine.
That and the fact that they almost look and act like humans at times (which is us human’s primary fault of course – in our infinite ego, we like what looks like us). When they find their mates, they almost look like a couple in extreme love, standing with their heads close together, caressing each other with their beaks.
The story focuses on the whole process of the march of the penguins to the breeding ground, to the role that each mate plays in the survival of the egg and then the chick, to the dangers and the tragedies that lurk at every corner, to the final triumph of the chicks finally surviving to add to the tribe. What is implicit in the story is that nothing comes for free and the ultimately without cooperation, nothing is possible. The penguins, in fact, has a very egalitarian approach to the process (born out of necessity, no doubt), which is very endearing.
The movie is one of a love story. What makes it magnificent is the fact that it has exquisite scenic photography, great moments captured on camera and above all, it only makes the penguins look, well, very cute!!!
A great watch…