Adventures of the Penguin King is a live action, family friendly documentary with narration by Tim Allen. Tim Allen does an outstanding job with his upbeat narration and connects with both adults as well as children (you may remember he also did the narration for Chimpanzee another movie we reviewed and loved). The movie took 14 months to film and the crew definitely had some setbacks due to the film location. The movie has a fantastic musical score, excellent sound quality and of course amazing cinematography. The film crew did some amazing work on this movie. The images are beautiful, breathtaking and crisp. And viewers are exposed to many of the locations landscapes including underwater shots, rocky beaches, grassy hills and towering mountain peaks. And of course some up close and personal shots of the amazing creatures that inhabit the human-less island.
The documentary starts out with a giant rotating Earth, that then zooms in on the location of the documentary, South Georgia. The documentary follows the life of a King Penguin aka Rex. After 3 years of being away and exploring the ocean, Rex returns to his home Penguin City along with his two cousins Larry and Moe.
Once Rex returns to his home on the island of South Georgia which is between Antarctic and South America his primary goal is to find a mate. But females are scarce and it could be harder than it looks. Rex finds his perfect mate (after much strutting, calling and cleaning) and pretty soon his journey of fatherhood begins. Rex watches and cares for the precious egg for weeks while his mate Patti ventures out for food. It may seem like an easy job but keeping that little egg propped on your feet, warm and out of dangers way from the giant, vicious Petrels...but it's not!! Rex's home is also home to many birds, seals, whales and other penguin species.
Rex does a terrific job and soon Junior hatches. Patti finally returns home with Juniors first meal. The kids thought it was really gross how the Patti coughs up the fish for the Junior...there were lots of eww that's gross comments.
Now it's Patti's turn to watch over Junior and Rex heads out in sea to find more food for the very hungry, curious, naughty Junior. But the ocean is a dangerous place and Rex must constantly be on guard especially against the Seals and Orcas. Patti is also on constant guard because penguin chicks are a favorite food for the Petrels and Leopard Seals on shore. But thanks to the protection of the massive colony Patti has some back up while Rex is away.
Junior continues to grow and grow. Winter arrives and food is scarce so both Patti and Rex must venture out to find food to feed all three of them (they must feed Junior for a year). Junior stays home as his soft downy, brown feathers are not waterproof. His feathers also don't provide insulation against the cold so Junior gathers with the other young penguins in the Penguin creche to survive blizzards and predators. Junior has a unique call so his parents can always find him amidst the sea of brown, fluffy chicks.
I am going to stop there because I don't want to spoil too much of the movie, but the movie continues to follow Patti, Rex, Junior and even the cousins through the Winter until Junior gets his beautiful black-white-gold plumage and dives into the ocean for his 3 year ocean journey. There is tragedy, comedy, love and more in this movie. And of course lots of learning!
We learned lots of facts about Penguins as well as the other residents of the island (Albatrosses, Penguins, Elephant Seals, Fur Seals, Orcas, Leopard Seals, Giant Petrels). The movie is great for both adults and children, though children are definitely the primary target. Though the movie is done in a documentary style it is still very engaging even for younger viewers due to the narrative format. My 6 and 7 year old loved it and have already watched it several times.
It didn't bother our family but there are two uses of language you may not deem appropriate for your children. The word damn is used once and the phrase "come hell or high water" is used. And since this is a story about the circle of life you will need to make sure your animal loving, sensitive children are prepared for some tragic events.
Rex, a young King Penguin, has been away from his home for three years, learning to hunt in the wild oceans, but now he's back in Penguin City. His mission: to find a mate, settle down and raise a chick. But can he survive the numerous predators and the harsh conditions on an isolated island at the bottom of the world? This is the journey of a typical bachelor King Penguin, from awkward adolescent to accomplished adult. It's a family tale of love and adventure, tragedy and triumph, all told through the charismatic and charming natural actors, the penguins of South Georgia.
Here are a few of our favorite quotes:
"You wanna see a penguin fly? This is as close as your gonna get." As he dives deep into the ocean.
"Another gas attack some light a match, or maybe that's not a good idea."
"A child taking food out of dads mouth, that's what fatherhood is all about."
This documentary has also been released in several IMAX theaters earlier this year. However it is a more traditional documentary and not the narrative format. The narration is also not done by Tim Allen instead it's done by Sir David Attenborough. But if you are an educator and interested in expanding on Adventures of the Penguin King I encourage you to check out the Penguins website for some awesome educational resources.
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