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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      


Flash Movie Review: Penguins of Madagascar

True friends have the ability to reflect our real selves back to us. No matter how ugly, scary or false we act out; our friends have an open line to the sane part of our minds, reminding us who we are and to stop acting in such a poor fashion. I have a select group of friends who help me cut through the minutiae that spews out of my pinball brain from time to time. As the years stack up for me and my friends, we tend to communicate in a form of verbal and nonverbal shorthand. A simple look can reveal what one of us is thinking. One of the major facets established with these friendships is the supportive aspect. Whenever an event, either of a celebrating or crisis nature, comes up all the friends are right by each one’s side, ready to do whatever is necessary. There really is something to that phrase about “friends from the old neighborhood.” The people who have grown up with us have a special connection that is not affected by distance or time.    BEST friends Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private; voiced by Tom McGrath (Madagascar franchise, Megamind), Chris Miller (Shrek franchise, Madagascar franchise), Conrad Vernon (Shrek franchise, Madagascar franchise) and Christopher Knights (Shrek franchise, Madagascar franchise); all agreed to work with a top secret organization called The North Wind. Led by the secretive agent referred to as Classified, voiced by Benedict Cumberpatch (Star Trek into Darkness, The Fifth Estate), the penguins would help to stop the evil Dr. Octavius Brine, voiced by John Malkovich (Red franchise, Secretariat), from wreaking havoc across the world. This animated adventure comedy was filled with a variety of clever lines and visuals, A couple of them went by so fast they easily could be missed if one was not paying close attention. The actors all did a fine job voicing their characters; each with a distinct enough voice to keep the characters separate. As for the story, it was geared more towards a younger crowd; it lacked the sophistication of some of the recent popular animated films. What did not work for me in this movie was the constant chase scenes. It began to feel monotonous to me after a short time. Fortunately I did not have time to dwell on this because I was busy trying to catch the fun twists to the printed words and sight gags flying across the movie screen. With strong themes of friendship, loyalty and commitment; I wound up enjoying this fun animated story. There was an extra scene at the end of the credits.


3 stars

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