This summer, Hollywood’s lackluster movie season made way for smaller films, like Luc Jacquet’s critically-acclaimed The March of the Penguins, which was by far the best thing I saw this summer. It is ironic that – besides Britney’s burgeoning belly and the ongoing feud between Lindsay Lohan and the other young anorexic blondes in Hollywood; its even getting hard for me to tell them apart, – the most insightful thing I saw this summer was a documentary about mating penguins. How is it that I could relate more to the trials and tribulations of penguins on-screen than human drama or comedy? Hollywood films this summer, with the possible exception of the ridiculous yet funny Steve Carell late-August comedy, The Forty Year Old Virgin, left me unmoved.
The March of the Penguins, however, was empathetic, kindhearted and sweet. Narrated by the impeccable Morgan Freeman, the director and his crew followed a group of penguins in Antarctica, who for as long as is known, have made the journey across the treacherous continent on foot, to find their mate – and true love. The penguins will go through harsh winds, long periods without food and devastating defeat in order to find their mate and make new life.
As romantic and cute as the idea of watching these penguins – and who doesn’t love penguins – for an hour and a half, it wasn’t just that they were adorable. Entering my last year of school has got me thinking about the sometimes-treacherous life cycles and journeys of our own lives. Whether it is a search for true love, or the perfect GPA or, scarily enough, a job, college is filled with such moments. Like these penguins, we will all go through intense bouts of caffeine consumption, take anxiety laden risks and undergo countless late-night cram sessions, all to achieve our goals. We, too, will risk it all for possible success. This all may seem a relatively long leap of the imagination, but is it so far fetched?
Maybe it was just the lack of other available sources of meaningful entertainment this summer, or maybe there is a reason Luc Jacquet’s film was a smash hit in a summer of disappointments. But I am going to have to start watching the discovery channel if Hollywood doesn’t make something interesting soon.
Archived article by Logan Bromer
Arts and Entertainment Associate Editor