Now, it is the male’s turn to go for food.  The mothers stay behind to watch their young and attempt to protect them from flying predators.  When they return, the females will go, leaving the males behind again.  And so it continues for many months, until the chicks are strong enough to survive on their own – and much of the ice has melted, making their trek to the sea for their first swim much shorter. 

Finally, after this long journey is completed and the birds are back home, they will swim and fill their bellies with fish.  Sometimes, only 20 percent of the chicks make it this far.  But the next year, those five years of age and older will begin anew.  They will have different partners, but their hope – and their commitment to survival – will remain the same.

“March of the Penguins” is a truly beautiful film, and Freeman’s voice is the perfect addition to this Americanized version.  The musical score is melodic and uplifting, and the cinematography is outstanding – even breathtaking.  In fact, so clear and colorful were the water scenes that I mistakenly assumed they had been digitized.  At times, the narration is overly dramatic, although this is due to the text rather than Freeman’s voice.  For example, Jacquet insists on calling this a love story.  Nine months of monogamy, after which the couple abandons one another – and their child – only to re-mate with another, just months later?  Ah, oui.  But he is French.  It’s a French love story!

Jacquet and his crew definitely deserve the Oscar for this film, and I have no doubt that they will get it.  However, it’s our Heavenly Father who deserves the most praise for this work of art – the natural one.  It was reported that Jacquet, a biologist, wanted to communicate a message about evolution with this film (as he briefly alludes, at the film’s beginning).  Fortunately, he has failed.  As I watched this film, I could see nothing but a visual masterpiece bearing witness to a divine and loving Creator who cares for even the smallest being.

I also see another of God’s purposes in this creation narrative.  Jacquet shows us, in all its splendor, the true role that fathers – both human and animal – were meant to play in families.  Although few are called to “birth” their young like the penguins (we women can only wish!), all men are called to be an active, ongoing and crucial part of their progeny’s birth and growth

It is the godly man indeed who could look to a penguin for inspiration.  Let it be, Lord.  Let it be.

AUDIENCE:  All

CAUTIONS:

  • Violence:   Conceptual only – narrator recounts deaths of male, female and chick penguins that may upset younger children.