If you like supporting causes that help nature, seeing this movie does just that for you! Without having to go through the trouble of finding a worthwhile cause, simply buying a ticket to ‘Penguins’ lets you see an entertaining film and make a donation to the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) to help protect penguins across the southern hemisphere at the same time. To do this, see ‘Penguins’ in theaters today through April 23. During that time, for every ticket sold, Disney Nature is making a donation to them to support Global Penguin Society’s work to protect these penguins. Outside of being an outstanding nature film, I can’t think of a better reason to see this than that. Take as many people with you as you can and spread the word so your friends and family can help, too. Now I’ll tell you some about the movie.
‘Penguins’ starts out by introducing us to ‘Steve’ who’s an adorable Adélie penguin. This breed is found along the entire coast of the Antarctic. When they become adults, they make a one-hundred-mile trek every year to mate with the females. Steve is an adult, albeit a somewhat naïve one, who we get to see meet and mate, purportedly, for the first time. The camera follows Steve, and Steve ‘stunt doubles,’ as producer Roy Conli told us, to keep the film moving along to complete the journey of the life of a male penguin. Before he gets to where everyone else is, he accidentally ends up in Emperor penguin territory, where he’s not at all welcome. When the poor little guy finally gets to the correct colony, he starts building a rock nest, hoping to attract a young lady with his skills. It takes him longer than he has expected because his neighbor keeps stealing his rocks when he’s off getting more! Ed Helms narration here is particularly invaluable because his voice impeccably captures the frustration Steve must be feeling. You’re definitely feeling it for him. When this occurred, there were several disapproving grumbles from the audience. This happens to everyone several times as your attachment to Steve and your concern for his welfare grows. You just want to see him triumph over all the horrid obstacles this cute little guy encounters.
Steve finally gets his nest made and next, he starts to do what instinct tells him to do… which is to sing! The filmmaker inserts REO Speedwagon’s ‘I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore’ into the soundtrack of this moment of Steve’s life. Speaking of, the songs that were chosen for the entire soundtrack, fit perfectly with his entire expedition. After Steve gets his groove on, which is how Penguins meet their beloved, he finds the one to have a family with. It takes him a while, but he manages to draw the attention of one young lady they’ve named Adeline. This is just your typical Hollywood story of romance. You didn’t think he’d be left hangin’, did you? By the way, once they sing and dance together, they will forever be able to use their song to find one another amongst all the rest. You have to admit, that’s astonishing considered how many penguins there are in the world. So, after they get their home life sorted out, and she’s performing the egg hatching thing, he goes for some much-needed R&R. In fact, the males take a long hike to swim and get some food to bring back for the hatchlings. Roy Conli explains that after all of his hard work, it was as if Steve was on ‘Summer Break… only colder.’ Usually, summer break doesn’t include the threat of killer whales, but they appear here… looking for snacks. Even though Conli said, ‘When in the water, they’re incredibly beautiful.’ I wanted to scream at the screen for Steve and the others to ‘Hurry! Get out of the pool!’ There were some beautiful underwater shots of Steve swimming around alone, not paying a bit of attention to the dangerous creatures around him, but they made me nervous. And hungry whales aren’t the only threats these little penguins have to worry about. They also face the bitter cold of 150 miles an hour winds, bitter cold and awful, barbaric Leopard Seals, that can eat approximately 100 baby penguins a day. Baby-snatching birds of prey are problems, too. Some of these scenes may be a touch to watch but only for little ones… if they understand what’s going on. The film is fairly sensitive to everyone while still getting their point across. Long treks parents have to take for food, away from their family, could be the biggest issue because, with only one left there to protect the babies from the elements, it’s difficult sometimes to survive.
Watching this film makes you realize that with what nature has in store for them, it’s amazing we have any penguins at all. At the end of the film, we’re left with Steve waddling again, this time to the song, ‘Here I Go Again’ by Whitesnake, in what looks similar to the opening scene. If all goes to plan and they survive to next mating season, Steve and Adeline will see each other again.
‘Penguins’ is the first Disneynature film to be released in IMAX®. See this on the big screen if you can. It’s worth every minute and every penny. Also, stay to watch a making of during the credits.