Movie Review: Penguins

DISNEYNATURE celebrates its tenth anniversary of nature films of with a docu-drama style to benefit Penguins around the globe called PENGUINS.  The April 17, 2019 film debut of PENGUINS will be the first-ever Disneynature film to be released in IMAX form. For every ticket sold opening week (April 17-23, 2019), Disneynature will make a donation to the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) to help protect penguins across the Southern Hemisphere.

President and co-founder of WCN, Charles Knowles, count it a privilege to collaborate with Disneynature and say, “Disneynature is able to reach a global audience in a way that we can hardly fathom. They are uniquely positioned to tell the real story of penguins and the challenges they face.”

Global Penguin Society (GPS), founder and president, Dr. Pablo Borboroglu agrees with his counterpart and explains, “Penguins swim thousands of kilometers to migrate and look for food. What they encounter during their journey determines their survival, affects the viability of their species and informs science and conservation of action.”

How does Disneynature capture the big personalities and intense lifestyle of the Adélie species of penguin from the icy Antarctic on film? They petition the best polar experts in world. On the Adélie penguin assignment, the highly esteemed team was placed in multiple locations over a three-year span. The cinematographers immersed themselves into the icy habitat shooting both on land and underwater. They used helicopters, boats and trekked on foot to acquire the most unique photography to make this animal shine. Together the team filmed a total of 900 camera days. According to PENGUIN director Alastair Fothergill, “It’s hard to think of a tougher habitat on the planet and may be the hardest of locations to get to, of any Disneynature film they’ve made thus far.” He adds that the world’s Antarctica is an unforgiving environment but the crews persevered even when temperatures would drop -40 degrees or the coastal hurricane-type winds known as Katabatic Winds would hit 150 miles per hour.

Director Jeff Wilson says, ” Adélie penguins deserve our respect and adoration and stewardship for the fact that they are superbly adapted to living in one of the harshest continents on Earth.”

Wilson describes two main themes in the film: perseverance and fatherhood. Wilson says, “While a male Adélie penguin, named Steve, is coming-of-age, he’s trying to raise chicks with his partner Adeline, within the harshest habitat in the world. The two of them must learn to survive the dangers of weather, killer whales and leopard seals.” Continuing, “Steve’s just trying to figure out how to be the most supportive partner and best father he can be. It’s not about being a perfect father. It’s ok to make mistakes because that makes a stronger parent. But, being a good parent requires effort.”


Actor, writer and comedian, Ed Helms narrates the story of Steve–an Adelie penguin coming-of-age. We journey with Steve trying to fit into an Adélie adult community, finding a lifetime partner and becoming a father for the first time. Through trial and error Steve learns that perfection isn’t the name of the game but perseverance and patience is how one will only survive the harsh environment of the Antarctica.

Disneynature takes the film audience on a delightfully engaging journey with the Adélie penguin Steve, Adeline and their family. An impressionable storyline of animals that we know very little about but thanks to filmmakers Alastair Fothergill, Jeff Wilson, Mark Linfield, Keith Scholey and Roy Conli who go the extra mile to bring story, humor (narrator Ed Helms) and song (composer Harry Gregson-Williams) to make the Adélie penguin life experiences relatable.

Rated: G

Theater release: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

247MOMS film journalist, Karen Pecota

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