Simply you attempt to withstand the not possible adorableness supplied up within the newest Disneynature documentary, “Penguins.” You can’t do it, regardless of the cutesy anthropomorphizing, the too-tidy nature of the story it’s telling and the knowingly tacky soundtrack of ‘80s tunes accompanying these creatures’ adventures.
Come on. It’s 76 minutes of penguins waddling throughout Antarctica. In IMAX.
And as is all the time the case with these Disneynature documentaries, which come out nearly yearly round Earth Day, the pictures are really spectacular—particularly for those who can see them on a larger-format display. Following the likes of “African Cats,” “Bears” and “Monkey Kingdom,” “Penguins” is among the higher entries, with its stability of engrossing storytelling and the way’d-they-get-that? photographs. Sequence veteran Alastair Fothergill, director Jeff Wilson, co-director Mark Linfield and their workforce have gone to extremes on the finish of the Earth below brutal climate situations to seize moments of each cuddly intimacy and life-threatening depth. (Since that is rated G, you recognize it’s going to be OK, though the movie’s climactic showdown is very tense.)
At the beginning, although, every thing is superior. We meet an Adelie penguin named Steve—as a result of the animals in these films all the time get names and again tales and human traits—as he toddles alongside on a sunny, icy stretch of Antarctic tundra. (He does this to the tune of Patti LaBelle’s perky “Stir It Up,” which you most likely haven’t heard because it accompanied Eddie Murphy’s antics in “Beverly Hills Cop” again in 1984.) Steve is 5, we be taught, and making the annual 100-mile trek alongside lots of of 1000’s of different male penguins to the colony the place they’ll discover feminine companions, construct nests, mate and begin households. (This was additionally the premise of the Oscar-winning 2005 documentary “March of the Penguins,” which targeted on the bigger emperors. Really, there’s no such factor as an excessive amount of of factor right here.)
However we will inform from Steve’s clumsy approach of strolling as he bobs and wobbles and slips alongside the slick floor that he’s been tailored to suit a sure lovably awkward persona. Simply watching him flap his little black-and-white flippers is nice for a giggle. That turns into particularly clear as soon as we hear the fulfilling everyman tones of Ed Helms, who serves as each narrator and Steve’s inner voice as he fumbles from one problem to the following. That is all new to Steve, however nonetheless—the frequency with which he wanders off, will get misplaced, exhibits up late or finds himself at risk is sufficient to make you wonder if we’re actually watching the identical “Steve” the entire time. May one penguin be so constantly clueless in such narratively handy vogue?
Much less cynical viewers will discover themselves duly swept up within the majesty of the proceedings, that are excessive on awe-inspiring snowy vistas and crystal-clear underwater swims and low on precise data and science. We do, nonetheless, see Steve and his fellow penguins as they wrestle to scurry from predators together with killer whales, leopard seals and skuas, birds that swoop in to choose off each susceptible chicks and unattended penguin eggs. Steve and his mate, Adeline, are each dutiful dad and mom who work properly as a workforce defending their two furry infants (good lord, are they cute) and easily watching them in motion as we do right here, with wonderful, up-close entry, does extra to assist us relate to them than any overbearing voiceover may.
Fothergill, Wilson and their workforce additionally seize the unforgiving nature of the weather, together with a storm that sweeps in with blinding, blizzard situations and hurricane-force winds. Such sequences make you admire the large quantity of labor it took over a three-year shoot to deliver “Penguins” to the display—so you should definitely stick round by way of the closing credit to get your how’d-they-get-that? questions answered.