March of the Penguins—Warner Brothers

Video: 5
Audio: 3
Extras: 4

Watching March of the Penguins, it's hard not to feel as though the cast, fleets of emperor penguins, is imbued with human nature. I kept catching myself thinking of the penguins as people—I kept searching for humanlike motivations to understand their behavior. But perhaps this is unfair of me to say, if not a little arrogant. After all, we humans are all animals (some of us more untamed than others), and this documentary essentially focuses on the central function of all mammals—procreation and the successful nurturing of offspring into self-sufficient beings. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this movie beautifully demonstrates that even something as complex as love is not reserved for humans.

The documentary, narrated by the gentle-voiced Morgan Freeman, follows Antarctican emperor penguins as they make their journey inland to procreate for the winter in what Freeman reminds us several times is the harshest place in the world. The penguins endure shockingly frigid temperatures and snowstorms, mostly without food, all for the survival of their children. When, after one storm, you see a mother mourning over the loss of her chick that did not survive, you can acutely feel her sadness.

The 1.78:1 anamorphic video presentation wonderfully renders the gorgeous cinematography—landscapes, penguins, and all. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is occasionally put to the test during powerful musical sequences and performs well. However, Freeman's narration constitutes most of the audio, and it's intelligible. Extras primarily include an excellent making-of featurette, a National Geographic special on the making of the movie, and a Bugs Bunny cartoon.