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Flash Movie Review: Penguins

AT PRESENT, ONE OF THE MOVIE theaters I frequent had a portion of its entrance roped off. There was a sign hanging on the barrier that instructed visitors not to disturb or go near the nesting goose because she might attack. In the middle of this long patch of landscaped greenery was the goose sitting upon her nest. Seeing the goose sitting there looked weird to me because, except for this one patch of greenery, she was surrounded by concrete and glass. With people shopping at the outdoor mall I thought there would have been too much noise and activity for the mother goose. I knew geese were territorial and were not afraid to defend their area. When I came out from the movie theater the goose was standing out in the open near the curb. She still had an eye on her nest; but she watched me as I had to make my way around her, giving her enough space while getting to my car. Once I was safely seated I looked back at her and thought about the unsuspecting people who would not read the sign and get to close to her. I bet they got a nasty surprise.      HAVING SEEN THAT MOTHER GOOSE REAFFIRMED a memory of me being told to always respect the bond between a mother and her child; there is nothing stronger than a mother defending her baby. I do not remember if I learned it in school or from that weekly television show hosted by Marlin Perkins. All I can recall is seeing a nature film clip of a pack of wildebeests being chased by a big African cat. Maybe it was a cheetah or lion that had focused its attention on one of the babies. When the baby could not keep up and swerved away from the pack, the cat changed directions to zero in on the little wildebeest. The mother saw what was happening and made a beeline towards the cat. She headbutted the cat in its side, knocking the animal over. It was enough time for the baby wildebeest to head back to the pack. I have so many more memories of adult animals nurturing their young. Seeing a mother chimpanzee teach her baby how to use a stick to dig food out from a hole or polar bear mothers teaching their young the necessary survival skills for the first 2 years of their lives; not to be rude, but some humans could learn a thing or two by watching their animal counterparts. One group worth watching would be the incredible penguins in this documentary.      DESPITE HAVING ONE OF THE HARSHEST environments on the planet, Antarctica is the home of the Adelie penguins. They will travel miles on foot, fend off predators and be a shield against the cold to protect their young. Directed by Alastair Fothergill (Chimpanzee, Earth) and Jeff Wilson (Our Planet-TV, Great Bear Statkeout-TV), this movie was beautifully filmed. The scenes were fascinating to watch as the film studio spent something like 3 years to capture their footage of the animals. The script with Ed Helms (The Hangover franchise, Love the Coopers) as the narrator was a little too cutesy in my opinion. The focus of the story was on Steve, a young penguin coming of age. I enjoyed watching this movie but compared to the other animal documentaries I have seen from this studio, this one was not as moving and fun for me. The issue had to do with the penguins; as a whole, penguins do not have a personality like monkeys or bears. There were few antics and some of them were being generated by the way Ed narrated the script. Despite this I still enjoyed the film. After seeing what these penguins go through in life, I have to say my life is pretty good compared to these stoic animals.

 

3 stars      

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Flash Movie Review: Adventures of the Penguin King

My first encounter with exotic animals took place at a zoo. It was a family outing and our first time going to the zoo. I remember how excited I was as we passed through the zoo’s tall metal gates. There were signposts that had wooden cutouts of animals standing on arrows, pointing the way to where we could find them. I was struck by the pungent smell as we entered some of the indoor pavilions. My two favorite animals I wanted to see were the tigers and the chimpanzees. There was something about the way the tigers moved that mesmerized me. As for the chimps, my favorite stuffed animal was Zippy the Chimpanzee that was handed down to me from my brother; I wanted to see some of Zippy’s relatives. After spending the entire day at the zoo, the last thing we did before exiting was to visit the gift shop. It was here where the magic of the day solidified for me. Standing in a corner of the shop was a machine that looked like a jukebox. Instead of records there were wheels and molds that would come together and create a wax model of your favorite animal. That was it for me; I deposited the quarters that were given to me and watched as the machinery created a golden tiger. Once I got home I placed the wax figure on the top shelf of my bookcase so it could watch over me as I slept. There were so many wonders discovered on that first trip that vividly remain with me today. If you never had a similar stirring experience regarding the sight of live animals at a zoo then you might enjoy watching this family adventure film. Tim Allen (Wild Hogs, Big Trouble) was the voice of Rex, a king penguin who returned home to Penguin City on South Georgia Island near Antarctica. The movie followed Rex as he struggled against harsh conditions to find a mate and start a family of his own. This sanitized drama confused me; I thought it was gong to be a documentary. When I looked for a movie trailer, I discovered this film was released a year ago as Penguins 3D. It seems as if they added more footage and created this story. I did not see this in 3D nor find anything that had not been shown before in TV shows or movie documentaries. With Tim narrating, the humor was kept at a mild children’s level. If you know nothing about penguins or have a child that has never been to a zoo, then it would be okay to see this movie. For me, it did not provide any joyous wonder.

 

2 stars

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