Every year, thousands of emperor penguins make an astonishing journey to breed their young. They are birds, but they do not fly. They are aquatic animals, but this time they will not swim. Instead, they walk--marching day and night in single file 70 miles into the darkest, driest, and coldest continent on Earth.
This age-by-age guide is presented by our sponsor.
This movie is intended for older children.
Although preschoolers love animals and they were amused and entertained by the penguins in Madagascar, they'll probably be bored by this slower-moving story. Because this is a documentary and not a warm and fuzzy Disney tale, the cameras unflinchingly reveal the cruelty of nature along with the beauty. Many of the penguins don't make it through the long, treacherous winter, and there are heart wrenching scenes of the mothers, fathers, and chicks that die. One of the most painful moments to watch is when a grief-stricken mother tries to steal another penguin's baby after losing her own. For young children, this may be the stuff of nightmares.
Younger children in this age group may still get a little restless, but they'll be fascinated by the penguins' actions and abilities. Older kids should find the penguins absolutely amazing and will gain a newfound respect for the tuxedoed waddlers. Those who are paying close attention may also have questions about the animals' mating ritual, shown here in all its glory.
There are so many valuable lessons for tweens to learn from these unlikely heroes, including the way they work together, huddling together for warmth and taking turns in the coveted middle spot. The younger generation may also pick up on the fact that they're witnessing one of nature's great role reversals: the male penguin stands guard over the egg while the female heads out to find food.