Have you ever wondered how a king penguin spends its life? Well, with The Penguin King 3D, from the same team that produced the BAFTA-winning Flying Monsters 3D, Sir David Attenborough answers this question in a spectacularly educational-yet-fun penguin story. Previewed as part of the BAFTA screening series of events, The Penguin King is the touching story of a penguin’s journey through life.
Set on the island of South Georgia, the film follows a young penguin living in ‘Penguin City’ through his search for a mate, fatherhood and all the trials and tribulations that accompany this. While it is factual and scientific, The Penguin King also brings fantastically personal elements into the story to make it heart-warming and endearing. There are also some little gems of comedy that will ensure you laugh out loud and make the film into a lot more than a wildlife documentary.
As Sir David‘s comforting voice takes us through the chilly journey of our bachelor, we find ourselves rooting for the little guy through fishing trips, harsh weather and tragedy. Somehow, even set in such a remote place the audience is able to identify with the penguin as he faces the kinds of things that we all have to face at some point in our lives. Of course this does not go for every event, as thankfully us humans do not have to sit outside for the whole winter protecting their egg from the cold, but you get the idea.
We see how penguins grow from when they newly emerge out of the egg, to when they are suddenly covered with downy feathers that make them look huge. The shedding of this is an unpleasant time for the penguins, but when they emerge they look majestic. They are far more handsome at least than the elephant seals we see in this film, that are arguably the most ugly animals alive on the planet. Although, it is still very interesting to see them as up close and personal as we do here.
The Penguin King is brilliantly edited, in a way that allows the audience to feel like they are indeed following one penguin through its whole life, even though they all happen to look very similar, a fact that must be taken with a pinch of salt especially in view of recent criticism that Frozen Planet has faced. At a question and answer session after the BAFTA screening of The Penguin King, Sir Attenborough himself said that it would have been nearly impossible to film the same penguin for the whole time, especially after he had been out to sea fishing. However, this short film has been constructed with more emphasis on the story than a normal documentary sees, so perhaps we can forgive this fact in the face of the amusing entertainment that has been created.
Our bachelor must overcome all the dangers that lie in wait, including killer whales and giant petrels, who look truly terrifying when they are on the hunt. The Penguin King gives us a brilliantly intimate look at the life of a penguin and after seeing it, you will gain a new appreciation of the lives of these far-away creatures. The Penguin King will air on Sky 3D on New Year’s Eve and will be released theatrically in cinemas in 2012.