See It at the Movies

PENGUINS

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PENGUINS

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(Disney Earth Day feature film)

For the past 10 years we have been looking forward to Disney's Earth Day feature film. This year it is Penguins. The Antarctic Adelie Penguin, to be precise.

Screenwriter David Fowler (no relation, unfortunately) has created the penguin character of Steve, a five-year-old male who meets his mate-for-life Adeline and is about to become a father for the first time. Many penguins assume the role of Steve, because, let's face it, all penguins look alike.

Ed Helms is the narrator, while also providing for Steve's out-loud thoughts, some of which are clever and some of which are corny.

The photography, as expected for Disney nature films, is extraordinary. Music adds to the enjoyment, perfectly timed to the fast-moving, often awkward creatures who waddle over snow and ice and jump into ice-cold water.

We follow Steve and millions of male and female penguins as they make their ways to rocky covered areas to make their nests, lay eggs, keep them warm by gathering rocks, and lay on them until they hatch. We see babies being born and fed through the yucky regurgitation process. We watch them grow until they learn to fend for themselves.

Fowler makes the most of the awkwardness of the penguins as they slip and slide over the terrain and provide many chuckles. He also gives us a look at the dangers they face from killer whales, leopard seals, 150-mile-per-hour winds, and minus 40-degree cold temperatures.

The movie goes by quickly at an hour and a quarter, with our favorite part being the credits, which nobody reads because they are watching scenes of the photographers taking the incredible shots, some underwater.

Rated G for Great.

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