So according to the article above, the Conservative Right is co-opting March of the Penguins and everyone is scratching their heads about it.
What strikes me about this film is that it is incredibly boring. I get the feeling no one in the United States has watched "Animal Planet" or the Discovery Channel much lately, because there are far better documentaries about the world of wildlife than this overlong and shamelessly manipulative Disney-flick. The March of the Penguins is as overrated as Kill Bill (both friggin' volumes) and I am proud to put those movies in the same sentence together. Here's a few reasons why:
1. It asks us to "pick a side." The Penguins are the good guys. It's the first time I ever saw a seal treated like Jaws. It was hilarious that the penguins would swim about, killing fish for food, and when a predator shows up that eats Penguins, he is treated to the music from Psycho. Ever wonder what the fish think of the Penguins?
2. The narration could have been written by a committee of eighth graders. I laughed out loud when I heard Morgan Freeman say "The pain is unbearable" as a Mommy Penguin sort of picks at a dead Baby Penguin. You know what the Mommy Penguin was feeling inside? Um...no. You don't. Neither does Morgan Freeman. No one understands Penguin feelings. No one. But I think it's safe to say that it wasn't dying of ennui.
3. About 3/4th of the dramatic action of this film was huddling for warmth. I'd rather watch an Andy Warhol film...at least we know he's TRYING to put us to sleep.
4. I'm not a heartless bastard: I did think the baby penguins were cute. But Anne Geddes takes throw-up-on-a-carseat cute pictures too... and it doesn't mean she should get an Oscar Nomination. At least Human Babies grow up to do stuff like make art and start wars. Penguins babies grow up to continue to huddle for warmth.
5. Did anyone else feel vaguely uncomfortable with the Penguin sex scene? Ooooh....yeah! Penguinsex.
6. If you think that March of the Penguins is proof of "intelligent design" then I ask you why God ("the designer," sorry) would make these cute little animals, put them on top of the world, freeze them to death, let their babies die, and put them smack dab in the middle of weather that is INTENDED to kill them. It sounds like our intelligent designer is the Deity equivalent of the Marquis de Sade.
7. Bird suck as a dramatic subject. They have souless, black eyes that seem to say "I have no idea that I'm alive." They eat, poop, fly, die, and they leave in almost perpetual fear.
So, hey...if the conservative right likes this movie, let 'em have it. I'm going to watch that documentary about the ASL Gorilla, Koko. I love her, and she's not a bird.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.