Weekly Penguin

Weekly Penguin 114

Staying on topic of larger-than-life penguin blockbusters, the truth is that none of them come even close to majesty of La marche de l'empereur (aka "March of the Penguins"). This Oscar winning masterpiece (Best Documentary, 2006) is a sight to behold and a must-see for every penguin fan out there. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you'll start your own march and head to the nearest DVD retailer, ASAP.

Though I've said it multiple times, I just have to repeat it; there are two VERY different versions of this movie, both of which have their loyal fans and haters. The original (as well as most localized versions) follow the penguins in an intimate way, as the story is told by dialogue and monologues written for the penguins themselves. The soundtrack, composed and performed by Émilie Simon, is very unique and lovable experience. Simon's soundtrack isn't just an underscore, but more like a cornerstone for the whole experience – so much so, that most variations of this version come packed with an alternative audio track with just the music and the natural sounds.

The U.S. version March of the Penguins, on the other hand, ditches the penguin monologues in favor of more traditional nature documentary narration, one delivered by soothing voice of Morgan Freeman. This changes the atmosphere of the film so much that the entire soundtrack had to be re-done. The new score was composed Alex Wurman and it's less attention-demanding and more like what you'd expect to hear in a documentary like this.

So if you'd like to witness a romanticized version of this grand tale, I strongly recommend picking up the original French version. If you want your nature documentaries to-the-point, the U.S. localization is more fitting for you. In the end, though, it really doesn't matter which version you'll see, you are bound to fall in love with both of them.

Here is the trailer for the U.S. version of the film;

Added: 2009-10-13