March of the Penguins

MARCH OF THE PENGUINS….Marian and I saw March of the Penguins this weekend, and it was pretty good. Of course, penguins are so fat and happy and absurd looking that you can hardly resist them, can you?

It was kind of weird, though. Morgan Freeman was a great narrator, but the script was pretty top heavy with syrupy treacle about how deeply the penguins love each other, how unbearable it is when an egg fails to hatch, their incredible dedication to life in an unforgiving climate, etc. etc. etc. This kind of anthropomorphizing doesn’t normally bother me that much ? I do the same with my cats, after all ? but it was kind of jarring in this case because the whole takeaway of the movie is that these cute little critters are really just genetically programmed biological robots. They march to their breeding ground, then march to the sea, then back to the breeding ground, then off to the sea, back and forth, back and forth, world without end.

And love? As near as I could tell, they spend a grand total of about three or four days with their mates over the course of a year. The rest of the time is spent marching endlessly to and fro across Antarctica in gender segregated groups. Real lovebirds, those penguins.

But still ? lots of good footage of cute penguins sliding across the ice, stolid penguins marching across the ice, steadfast penguins huddling together on the ice, and surprisingly dexterous penguins swimming around under the ice. Worth seeing if you like penguins.

POSTSCRIPT: Before the movie started there was an ad for (I guess) a re-release of Ghostbusters. When it was over, a teenage girl in front of us turned to her mother and asked, “What was Ghostbusters? Was it a TV show or something?”

Sigh.