• Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

Penguins – DisneyNature Heads to the Antarctic!

Penguins is a DisneyNature documentary directed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson. The documentary is narrated by Ed Helms.

Penguins follows a penguin named Steve, who must endure a long trek across Antarctica, so that he may be safe, find a female penguin to mate with, construct a nest, and raise his young so they may become independent as well. But along the way, there are plenty of threats, including unforgiving weather and fearsome predators from the land, sea, and air alike.

It’s been a decade since DisneyNature documentaries began, and we’ve gotten several superb docs for all ages with fantastically shot footage showing the wildlife of all corners of the globe. Penguins takes us to the Antarctic, following the life of a penguin through a harsh and unforgiving landscape. The doc does a superb job capturing the exotic yet dangerous Antarctica scenery, presenting some amazing footage throughout its brief-but-effective 75-minute duration, with its only real weaknesses being in its overuse of humorous narration and popular music.

As far as the filmed footage goes, you couldn’t ask for much better than this. It’s clear the crew is experienced in their duties, and they have access to state-of-the-art equipment; some brief footage during the end credits does show the filming process and some of the lengths they went to in order to achieve the shots they did. What’s truly amazing is how, during the duration of the proper documentary, their shooting in no way seems to interfere with or impede the animals themselves. To achieve this while capturing the creatures in the wild is no small task. Not to mention these penguins are adorable and just plain fun to watch. At a mere 75 minutes, the documentary breezes by, yet doesn’t feel shortchanged or rushed.

The only real issues I had with Penguins were its overuse of humorous narration and popular music. Ed Helms serves as narrator, but can’t quite seem to decide if he wants to pay it straight or be a funny man. The often juvenile jokes are giggle-worthy at times, but much of this undermines the visual experience unfolding on screen. Less narration and fewer corny jokes would have made for a more perfect experience. Likewise, the movie has beautifully composed music playing throughout its duration, but at times, can’t fight the urge to throw in some popular music. I love REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake, don’t get me wrong, but popular music is out of place in a nature documentary such as this. Much like the narration, these elements undermine the experience and distract more than they help.

Penguins, overall, is a superb documentary despite a few minor flaws which are in no way the fault of the film crew, who outdo themselves throughout. Definitely recommended viewing.

Rating: Three stars out of four.

DISCLAIMER: all images in this review are the property of their respective holders, including DisneyNature and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. All rights reserved. For promotional use only.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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