March of the Penguins

Rated 4.0

French documentarian Luc Jacquet and a hardy crew (led by cinematographers Laurent Chalet and Jérôme Maison) spent 13 months filming the life cycle of Antarctica’s emperor penguins, and the result has something like the thrill of the old Walt Disney True-Life Adventures films—taking us places we’ve never been and showing us things we’d never see for ourselves. For U.S. release, the sound of actors voicing a penguin family to Emilie Simon’s music is jettisoned, replaced by new music from Alex Wurman and a more conventional narrative written by Jordan Roberts and spoken with grandfatherly wisdom by Morgan Freeman. Jacquet and company, through a combination of patience, tact and technology, get some amazingly intimate footage, and the penguins tolerate the intrusion with cute yet dignified aplomb.