The other day, on Good Friday, I needed to work in my garden and do some yard work, but allergies+ chiggers+ rain, so I ended up spontaneously seeing DisneyNatures Penguins. When we walked in, we were the only ones there other than one other older couple, ( I apologized for ruining their private experience and he laughed). I was actually surprised that there weren’t more kids or families there, it was afternoon and some people had off work and school(plus the other movies out, looked, so lame). And.. I… LOVED IT.
First of all, Ed Helms. Ed Helms is the narrator, and I love him as NardDog, (Andy Bernard in The Office). At first when I saw there was a narrator, I was stoked to hear Ed in this role, but I also wondered if it would be cheesy or obnoxious. In a preview I saw, Ed was not only the narrator of the story, but also was the voice of the main character, Steve. Especially since really, my only experience with penguin movies, was Morgan Freeman in March of The Penguins, that is the documentary from 2005 about Emperor Penguins( I own this but haven’t seen it in years, i also included my link you can access it on prime video). DisneyNatures Penguins, is about the Adélie Penguins. With Morgan Freeman and Ed Helms contrasting in my mind, I wondered two things, A) Can Ed pull this off and not be annoying? ( and I do find A LOT of things annoying) and B) Won’t this just be the same story as March of the Penguins? So A) Nard Dog totally nailed it! and B) no, I felt it was a totally different experience, I mean yes they are all penguins so there are similar themes, but I was VERY entertained, and did not feel that DisneyNatures Penguins, resembled or reminded me of March of The Penguins.
If you don’t know me well, I don’t really watch television or movies, we have a tiny tv someone gave us,( I have not seen anyone else have one this small these days!) that has never been used in four years in this home, it has a painting in front of it. (Although I do admit it would be cool to have a projector and maybe a pull down screen, and a weekly movie night/pizza night!📽🍕📺) MOST television and films disappoint me or just don’t interest me, I don’t like to feel like I am mindlessly consuming entertainment, or wasting time. I don’t like to put a lot into my brain that doesn’t build me up, or spend time on things that don’t have a positive effect on my life. Plus once you start waking up to subliminals a lot is truly ruined for ya! I do, however, cycle through all of The Office a few times a year, and have watched all of Downton Abbey twice. Other than those two, I will watch some occasional youtube(homesteading, fitness, diy, art, like-minded people living meaningful lives), and lots of nature shows/documentaries! This was such a random splurge because I think we average going to like one movie a year around here. (this one was so worth it tho!)
One thing that is hard for me, when watching nature documentaries, is basically the hard parts of nature, starvation, suffering under elements or climate changes, predators, and just the sad and devastating parts of nature and life on Earth. Usually things like baby animals being born or some snuggling or the survivors who overcome all odds really cheer me up, but it is still hard for me to watch suffering, violence, and murder! I am a pretty peaceful and calm person so some parts of nature are just hard to understand, the brutality or harshness. For example a few years ago I was watching something and there was a bird family, mother and two children, and the one child basically decided that the other child was not worthy of living I guess and started to bully him, and then the mother also chose the bully child and they both bullied the other and then left him to starve. Or some elephants walking through the desert and one of their young didn’t make it. ALTHOUGH I make a lot of parallels to humans and life, and I like to have balance in how I see nature, things like that really anger me and AS YOU CAN SEE I AM STILL NOT OVER IT!
So, to the point- I was worried about having to experience the sad parts and the devastating parts of the penguins lives, but I did not feel that this film focused too much on those. There were a few parts where I was a little stressed, but they did a good job of not showing too much, and not dwelling on the hard parts. They could have done way worse, and I thought they did well on keeping things more sensitive, since a lot of children will see this movie, and even adults are more sensitive to images and media than we realize sometimes! I so wish everything could be wonderful, but the downs in life sometimes make the ups brighter, the hard times help you to experience joy deeper, and Sometimes It Be Like That. Overall, I felt that they did a good job of showing accurate threats and hardships(educational-and I would be annoyed if it was twisted in some unrealistic way) while still making the film feel good and exciting, adventurous, and fun! 🐧
To add on to my review of Ed Helms narration, and the previous paragraphs topic of stressful and traumatic nature moments- They did a REALLY good balance of narrating with educational facts and the story of what was going on with all the penguins, and also including the personal thoughts or comments of STEVE the penguin in a humorous way. I was impressed that they were able to intertwine both so effortlessly. It was like an adult documentary but not too heavy, and a kids nature show, but not too silly and obnoxious. It was really cool actually. Pleasant, lightweight comedy, while keeping it real. For example the penguin would make comments on what he was going through and showed his little personality, but if there was a threat or something serious or sad, he wasn’t like crying or screaming or something, it was usually the narrator explaining what was going on.
I found the actual videography to be super cool. I mean, the penguins themselves are just so cute and so interesting, and they captured them well! There were some really cool shots and there were some artsy time lapses that JUST MADE MY HEART COMPLETELY SOAR!! As someone who loves cameras, photography and video, I of course kept wondering how they got shots, and what it was like, as I always do in these shows. STAY FOR THE CREDITS because I found them a really wholesome treat. : ) 📹
This really impressed me:
“For Penguins, the production team went to greater lengths—and colder temperatures—than ever before, making it the largest logistical operation ever undertaken by Disneynature. The world’s top polar experts spent three years filming in Antarctica, capturing footage between October and February—the only viable window before the sea ice freezes over and sun sets on the region for six months. The filmmakers shot for nearly 900 camera days, including 128 days of underwater filming, in remote locations that were accessed by helicopter, by boat and on foot—and rarely did the temperature rise above 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The team also faced the same climatic challenges as their subjects, including subzero temperatures and katabatic winds in excess of 150 miles per hour. “
I also really loved that in contrast to some other movies I have seen, it was nice to focus on the journey of the one main penguin, STEVE, and his family, it seemed more personal and not just a group of penguins as I have seen before. I liked that the penguin had a character, and also that it was Ed Helms : ) Honestly, I really feel that I heard a calm and pleasant “rididididoo” , at one point, and I seriously appreciated that. (Office fans will understand!) 💙[ARE THERE ANY OTHER OFFICE FANS READING THIS-LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!]
The filmmakers called upon innovation and ingenuity to tackle a very different challenge during production: how to spotlight Steve, rather than his approximately 499,999 Adélie neighbors. In addition to wide-angle lenses, shallow depths of field and careful framing to keep Steve front and center, the photographers also engineered a specially designed “penguin cam” involving the use of a Ronin, or stabilizing rig, that’s typically used follow humans at their eye level. To film the diminutive birds, the filmmakers literally flipped the Ronin on its head and made additional modifications that would provide maximum stability while they tracked the winning penguin protagonist.
Ooo also, I found the soundtrack super interesting and unexpected. 🙂
To get your compassion going before you even see it:
Adelie penguins are some of the most at-risk of their species, with the biggest threat being climate change and the warming of ocean temperatures, according to NASA’S Biodiversity Program. By the end of this century, the same data showed that 60 percent of the Adelie penguin population could be gone.
So yes please go see this movie! Perfect activity for Earth Day, but every day is earth day, so go see it when your availability allows. Grab a loved one, your family, or even just yourself, and head to the theatre (check out if there is an IMAX near you because that would be SUCH a cool experience) and if you go during opening week:
For every ticket sold during the film’s opening week (April 17–23), Disneynature will make a donation to the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) to help protect penguins across the southern hemisphere. WCN invests in a select network of on-the-ground conservationists, including top experts in the field of penguins like the Global Penguin Society (GPS), the worldwide leader in science-based penguin conservation. Visit Nature.Disney.com to learn more.
If you don’t get a chance to make it opening week, still go! It is always so important for the mind, the soul, the Earth, and all of its inhabitants for us to keep getting in touch with nature. Nature films are such a wonderful opportunity to go places you have never been and may never go, and see the up close lives of little creatures you never encounter in real life!! : ) I really loved seeing Antarctica and the Adélie Penguins, especially Steve!! ❄
You can definitely find another way to support penguins if you want to, they are donating to the Global Penguin Society and you could too! Make a lil glass jar to put your change in, save up for a donation, and put a picture of a penguin on the front! That would be so cute and fun and sweet. 💕 You can also look into your local zoos or nonprofits to see if they are doing any conservation work you can get involved with. Some have animal sponsorship programs that are cool. I just recently realized our zoo we go to in Raleigh is doing amazing work in Uganda and many other places 🙂
Oh and before I forget -I found two cool resources on the Global Penguin Societys Site- an activity packet for kids and an educators guide, both downloadable pdfs so check it out! (I did and its really adorable! WHERE ARE MY KIDS?!?!)
HAPPY EARTH DAY EVERY DAY! 😍🌍✨🌈💚💛💓🌞👏🥰🌱🐧
IF YOU HAVE SEEN IT, LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT IN THE COMMENTS! AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO SEE IT AS WELL!!! ANY COOL IDEAS OR PLANS FOR EARTH DAY- WOULD LOVE TO HEAR THEM-DROP THEM IN THE COMMENTS SO OTHER PEOPLE CAN READ AND GET INSPIRED!
PS –I thrifted the most ADORABLE penguin sweater right after we saw the movie- its a bit too small for me but I’m gonna list it in my shop as soon as I can : )
READ MORE ABOUT EARTH DAY, COOL ACTIVITIES AND IDEAS, FACTS, QUOTES, HISTORY AND POEMS HERE! 💖🍎🦋🌞🌳🐦☔✨