As narrator Morgan Freeman explains, every year these indomitable creatures leave their ocean habitat and make a long, arduous journey over the treacherous Antarctic ice to their traditional breeding ground. Guided by instinct and undeterred by the harsh climate or lack of food, the penguins trudge single-mindedly to their destination, engage in their unique mating ritual, and labor tirelessly to provide for the helpless offspring they bring into an unforgiving ecosystem.
Director Luc Jacquet — who can’t be over-praised for marshalling a crew with the patience, skill, and dedication required to capture these unforgettable images on film — presents a simple but compelling story that’s every bit as focused and dignified as the penguins themselves. He draws us into their world and celebrates their unflagging resolve, making us care to a surprising extent about these waddling critters. It’s a remarkable achievement, and one you’ll want to experience over and over again.