Any time you think your life is tough, or you want to complain, or you think Jim Hendry isn't doing enough to improve the Cubs, consider the life cycle of the emperor penguin, profiled gorgeously in "March of the Penguins", recently released on DVD.
They are born in a frozen wasteland in Antarctica, and after several years of growing up, they march from there to the sea. Seventy miles. Walking. It is there that they feed, then return to the frozen wasteland. Walking again. And there they mate, thus beginning the lifecycle all over again.
This movie, beautifully photographed by a French cinematography team and director Luc Jacquet (if you watch the end credits, you'll see how the team had to work in absolutely unimaginable weather conditions), chronicles that life cycle. It shows how the males and females "meet" and "mate" (they are serial monogamists -- one mate per year), and after that, how the females go back to feed while they entrust the eggs to the males for safekeeping during the -80 degree Antarctic winter.
Some of the eggs don't make it. Some of the chicks don't make it either, and you see how protective both mother and father are of their young. And, you'll have to admit when you see them, the penguin chicks are pretty darn adorable.
Further, the scenery, though devoid of almost everything except snow, ice, water and mountains, is gorgeous. That may sound odd, but Jacquet and his crew put those elements, and the eerie-looking Antartic sky, together to form a fascinating tableau that you can see nowhere else on Earth.
It's magnificently narrated by Morgan Freeman, whose familiar voice is both comforting and yet lends an air of authoritativeness about a subject that you might at first think is a bit frivolous.
Don't miss this movie, which is without question going to be nominated and most likely win the Oscar for Best Documentary. It's still out in some theaters, and it would surely look great on the big screen -- it did on my plasma screen, too. And, it's something you can take your kids to and they'll love it.
This penguin was nowhere to be seen.
AYRating: * * * 1/2