Thursday, August 25, 2005

March of the Penguins

Last night a friend and I took our favorite guys (the 6 and 4-year old sons of mutual friends) to see March of the Penguins. I had the idea several weeks ago that I wanted to do something special with them before their sister comes home from China. I figured a documentary about penguins should be pretty safe for young eyes.

What I didn't expect was that it would be a movie that I would so thoroughly enjoy. If you haven't heard much about the premise of the movie, it really isn't that much different that most popular movies: the quest for love and the obstacles one overcomes to find and fight for that love. One scene that stuck out to me panned across to show a thousand or so penguins, all exhausted from the trek to arrive at the meeting place. (Not so different that singles gathering after a long work week). As the camera zoomed in and around, we see the different ways the male penguins attract the attention of the female penguins. There are more males than females, so we see a few cat fights (penguin fights) as well.

But what I found truly stunning was the way the film showed the courtship ritual. I looked over to my friend, momentarily wishing there weren't two little boys between us. I wanted to tell her this would be a great romantic movie if we were with guys a few decades older! And like any true romance, the bond between the two penguins doesn't culminate with the physical union. Both the male and female demonstrate great commitment and sacrifice to protect the egg (the dads balance the egg on their feet under a fold of their skin for 3 months in the brutal winter while the moms go off to the ocean to fill up so they can feed the babies when they hatch).

It really was a beautiful picture of committed love, all in the context of stunning photography. Highly recommended.

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