DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

Disneynature Penguins Movie Review

Disneynature's Penguins (2019) movie poster Penguins

Theatrical Release Date: April 17, 2019 / Running Time: 76 Minutes / Rating: G

Directors: Jeff Wilson, Alastair Fothergill / Co-Director: Mark Linfield / Producers: Alastair Fothergill, Jeff Wilson, Keith Scholey, Roy Conli / Narrator: Ed Helms

Tagline: For Steve, his adventure isn't all black and white.


Fourteen years. We finally have our answer to the question
"How long after March of the Penguins until someone else made another penguin documentary?" Disneynature has been making movies for ten of those fourteen years and based on their other subjects, the line has probably been itching to tackle the photogenic flightless arctic birds.

The wait, which included a full year from when this was initially scheduled to its release today, seems excessive because Disneynature's Penguins is not really anything like the Morgan Freeman-narrated, Oscar-winning 2005 doc-buster.

Disney's brisk, G-rated feature focuses on an Adιlie penguin it names Steve. The two-foot creature makes a long trek by himself during Antarctica's spring. He builds a nest out of rocks and looks for a life partner with whom to start a family.

Disneynature's "Penguins" centers on this Adιlie penguin it names Steve.

The film is narrated incessantly by Ed Helms of The Hangover and "The Office" fame. There is very little silence during this 76-minute film, as Helms often serves as Steve's voice as he tries to figure out what he is supposed to do. The kid-oriented voiceover goes way beyond providing context, giving us nary a moment to do what one typically does during a nature documentary: take in the wondrous sight of animals in their natural wild environments. The few times when Helms shuts up is only to allow a pop song you might well know to play, like the closing number, Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again."

It is hard to fault most documentaries, particularly nature ones because chances are if it's made it to fruition, the wildlife photography alone has considerable cinematic value. Most of Disneynature's past efforts, which include Earth,
African Cats, Bears, and Chimpanzees, have proved diverting and enriching on this basis, with most of them having culled their footage from the same resources as BBC's "Planet Earth" series.

Those with a passion for ecology were always bound to prefer the BBC's more complex (and time-demanding) presentations. But though by far the least commercially significant brand in Disney's formidable present-day arsenal, the Disneynature films have always been an enjoyable alternative to narrative cinema and 40-minute IMAX documentaries.

Penguins, though, tries too hard to boast family entertainment value. Maybe they've done tests and found that young kids will respond more to this pandering, goofy approach, but it certainly seems to diminish the appeal of the documentary for anyone over the age of, say, eleven. Then again, this is the only way to see real animals in a Disney movie these days, with their big budget "live-action" productions all favoring CGI creatures.

Related Reviews:
Now in Theaters: Missing Link • Dumbo • Shazam! • Captain Marvel
Disneynature: Earth • Bears • Monkey Kingdom • Oceans • Chimpanzee • African Cats • Crimson Wing • Wings of Life
Penguins: Mr. Popper's Penguins • The Penguins of Madagascar: I Was a Penguin Zombie • Surf's Up • In Search of Santa • Mary Poppins

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed April 17, 2019.

Text copyright 2019 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2019 Disney, Disneynature, and Silverback Films.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.