Review: “Penguins”

In the latest film from the nature documentarians at Disneynature, Penguins gives us an up-close look at the challenging and interesting life of the Adélie penguins in Antarctica.

As with most of these Disneynature films (not to mention the classic Disney True-Life Adventures series of the 1950s and 60s), the filmmakers have created a narrative into this particular corner of the natural world by following a penguin they named “Steve.”

Official theatrical poster (©️ Disney)

Steve the penguin has just come into adulthood and it’s time for him to find a mate and hopefully have offspring to carry on the species. Steve does indeed find a mate (her name is “Adeline”) and Steve and Adeline end up having two baby penguins that they now hope to raise into adulthood themselves.

Narrated by actor Ed Helms (Andy Bernard from the U.S. version of The Office), the filmmakers give a deft tone to the truly taxing life of these Antarctic penguins. The penguins have to deal with the extreme weather of the location, they co-parent (meaning both mother and father take turns finding food for their young ones and they both keep the eggs and the hatched baby penguins warm), they have to combat the local predators (in this case, the skua birds and the leopard seals), and have a difficult migration path.

I saw the film in IMAX and was completely wowed by the gorgeous cinematography of this icy landscape and its inhabitants. It’s so amazing what these filmmakers are able to accomplish and how close they are able to get to all of the wildlife. (Stay through the end credits to see how some of the shots were actually done—again, amazing.) This film has lots of shots above ground as well as under water and they’re all remarkable and beautiful, just like the subject matter.

I found the film to be an impressive, compelling, and entertaining look into this part of our natural world. And I applaud Disneynature and their production partner the National Science Foundation for carrying on the important work of helping us all to better understand and care for our planet.

Make sure to check out the official Penguins website for additional educational materials as well.

Penguins is rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America.

My score: 4 out of 5

As an added bonus, check out these cool posters for Penguins from the folks at Poster Posse.

(🎨: Vincent Aseo)
(🎨: Salvador Anguiano)
(🎨: Simon Delart)
(🎨: 17th and Oak)

Images ©️ Disney