penguinsWe went to see a movie with the kids this weekend as we tried to get in family fun before the school treadmill starts up again. We went to the super-mega-multi-plex where they had a gaggle of movies playing, including a big fat ONE MOVIE that was rated G and OK to take the kids — we saw “March of the Penguins” by Director Luc Jacquet.

For some inexplicable reason, Hollywood can’t make a decent G movie. Many movies are made that could have been a decent G-rated movie yet instead they are made PG-rated where for no discernible reason, they contain off-color remarks or foul language which seems to have been inserted solely for the purposes of gaining a PG rating. If you’ve ever been forced to sit through Stuart Little, you know what I mean. But, I digress.

Anyway, Jacquet follows nine months in the lives of emperor penguins, from the time they march off on their annual trek 70 miles to a breeding ground to lay one enormous egg to their return to the sea. Amazingly, we don’t know how they find their way, as changes in the ice shelf force them to find new routes each year.

The female lays the egg, transfers it delicately to the male and then walks 140 miles roundtrip (to the open sea and back) to gather food it can give the chick that hatches. Meanwhile, the male stands around and holds the egg between its feet and a belly of dense feathers, incubating it to keep it off the ice and basically fasting up to four months amid blizzards.

The story of these amazing penguins and the extreme levels of self-sacrifice they endure for their chicks is fascinating and incredibly moving. It does have a bit of a slow pace at times — my three year old fell asleep. But overall, I would give it two thumbs up for a superb job of telling this tale. The cinematography is breathtaking in capturing the mood of the Antarctic.

Besides the story itself, the movie shows Herculean efforts by the film-makers. I would like to have had more of the story of the making of the film. It must have been some extraordinary circumstances to spend a year in 80-below temperatures. You can’t believe you’re able to watch all the moments they’ve captured.

Check out the movie (whether you have kids or not).

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