REVIEW: DisneyNature Penguins
I love DisneyNature films.
I have watched each of them opening weekend with great excitment. I find them to be a wonderful look into the animal kingdom in a way that we don't normally get to see.
DisneyNature Penuins is no exception to this.
Throughout the film, we get to see the natural cycle of these creatures by way of a 5 year old Adélie Penguin named Steve. We see his migration to the mating grounds, his finding a mate (named Adeline) and their having chicks, and the struggle to survive before mates are separated for the season in the natural cycle.
One thing I always hear is that the DisneyNature films are "shallow" because they talk down to their audience by anthropomorphizing the animals. But, this has always been Disney's style through the days of the True Life Adventure series.
I'm hoping that Disney keeps the DisneyNature brand as it takes on National Geographic as a result of its purchase of 21st Century Fox. I think the two produce different kinds of nature documentaries and the DisneyNature narrative style is every bit as legitimate. The DisneyNature films are not made just for the animal documentary nut. They are aimed toward families in an effort to broaden horizons in the areas of conservation and the environment. I think, in order for younger kids to get through these documentaries, they need to see these animals come to life in this way. Heck, I, as an adult, enjoy seeing animals come to life like this.
Ed Helms is the perfect narrator for the film and voice for our hero Steve. He lends that loveable dopiness you often see in the characters he plays. Documentarians Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson do a wonderful job in capturing both the majesty of these creatures and the splendor of the Antarctic.
Is this the best DisneyNature film? I would say not. It can get a little slow at parts, although there is a very tense and dramatic stand-off between a penguin and a seal that had me a the edge of my seat. I also felt that, if they were going to give such personality to Steve, that they could have given a little more personality to Adeline and the chicks. But it is an enjoyable film and I am glad to have seen it. And, if anything, it is a beautiful film taking us to a place that very few people have ever gone.
And be sure to watch it in its first week as a portion of the ticket sales goes to the Wildlife Conservation Network to help protect penguins across the southern hemisphere.