(G) 3.5 StarsDavid Hoppe
It's often tempting to look to nature for the simplicity and elegance of exemplary design. Then you discover phenomena like the way Antarctic Emperor Penguins mate and rear their young and, well, nothing could be more inopportune. This gorgeously photographed documentary takes us to the ice cap at the bottom of the world. Here we are introduced to this marvelous bird that walks 70 miles across some of the earth's most forbidding landscape in order to mate, endure temperatures as cold as 80 below zero and winds of up to 100 mph. In the meantime, the females lay a single egg, which they then pass to their male counterparts in a penguin version of that party game where you pass an orange to the person next to you without using your hands. The males keep the egg warm by propping it between the tops of their feet and their decidedly low-slung bellies. They huddle like this for weeks, starving while their depleted spouses head off to feed and renew themselves. No wonder they waddle so.
It's next to impossible to watch this film without being thoroughly smitten by the comic dignity - not to mention stoic devotion - of these wonderful animals. Also worth noting: I can't remember ever seeing a larger crowd or a longer line at Castleton Arts. This movie is a delight.