For those of you who thought running a marathon was quite a feat, you are simply mistaken. Try walking 70 plus miles on stubby legs across the barren, wind-swept, too-many-degrees-below-freezing-to-count Antarctic icescape...and then doing it three more times. You will marvel at this yearly March Of The Penguins as they migrate to thicker ice to mate, incubate, hatch, and raise their young against seemingly insurmountable odds. You will smile and laugh, and be saddened and amazed as Morgan Freeman narrates this year-long look into the life of these emperor penguins. Based upon the screenplay by Luc Jacquet & Michel Fessler, and the story by Luc Jacquet. (Jack Kelley)
Special features are the same as those found on the DVD reviewed in Issue 104 and include a 54-minute featurette, "Of Penguins And Men," which chronicles the year-long filming process; a 24-minute "Crittercam" segment where these birds that have wings but don't fly are outfitted with cameras and microphones for an up-close and personal look at their daily activities; a seven-minute animated short "8 Ball Bunny"; and the theatrical trailer.
The VC-1-encoded HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions both can vary in their picture quality, sometimes looking soft, while other times looking well resolved. Colors can often bleed, giving off a glow around the penguins, and minor edge enhancement can be noticed. Blacks are deep, but details can be lost in the shadows. Differences between the two versions are not noticeable. (Danny Richelieu)
The HD DVD's Dolby® Digital Plus and the Blu-ray Disc's Dolby Digital encodings are basic, with a good use of each available channel for music, but little in the way of surround envelopment otherwise. Still, Morgan Freeman's voice is warm and articulate, and differences between the two versions are not overly perceptible. (Danny Richelieu)