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a penguin in the snow

Be it dancing or surfing, plodding or plotting, one thing’s for sure – penguins have plenty of star power on the silver screen. Here are our five favourite penguin movies. What are yours?

5) Surf’s Up. Released within a year of number 4) below, it could be said this film is Happy Feet, but with surfing. However there are a number of reasons, (the documentay style, clever characters, cool action scenes), that make Surf’s Up an entertaining film in its own right.

4) Happy Feet. Dancing emperor penguins are great for the kids. What’s also great in this popular 2006 animated film is when the world’s governments recognise the perils of overfishing and climate change. Director George Miller said, “…we’re very, very aware of the ozone hole and Antarctica is literally the canary in the coal mine… so it (the film) sort of had to go in that direction.”

3) Encounters At The End Of The World. A documentary by acclaimed director Werner Herzog on life in Antarctica? Count us in. Described by one reviewer as “a contrarian spiritual journey as provocative as it is hypnotic”, the film includes an interview with penguin scientist David Ainley and one of the most haunting scenes you will ever witness – a disorientated penguin heading the wrong way into the Antarctic wild.

2) Penguins of Madagascar. “Kowalski, analysis!” “It’s a really great film, skipper.” While enjoyable in the Madagascar series it was the penguins solo movie that really surprised in its quality. There was action, comedy, emotion, puns… beautiful, beautiful puns! Sometimes our Centre team swears they hear from the habitat, “smile and wave boys, smile and wave”!

1) March of the Penguins. It won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary for good reason. A year of footage goes into showing the annual journey of emperor penguins from the coast to their breeding grounds inland. The fight for survival on the harsh continent is always gripping. With Morgan Freeman narrating it is both incredibly emotional and memorable.


Honourable mentions

Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers. We loved the penguin (but hated the chicken).

Mr Popper’s Penguins: Knowing what it takes to care for a small group of rescue penguins we can’t really say this is a realistic film. Nor is it a good idea to bring back ‘souvenirs’ from Antarctica.

Batman Returns: Yes, the ‘Penguin’ was the villain. But those weaponised penguins were still pretty cool (in a completely absurd way).