Brave journey a family affair

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 October, 2005, 12:00am

Penguins are no strangers to movies. They have been portrayed as witty and comical (Madagascar) and evil (Batman Returns).

Documentary The Emperor's Journey shows the birds in their true form: as lovely, brave and sturdy creatures.

French director Luc Jacquet used his science background to make an informative and heartwarming documentary about the challenging journey that Antarctic emperor penguins endure in order to mate.

Jacquet and his crew spent 13 months in the frigid and harsh conditions of the South Pole to make the film, which is the second highest grossing documentary in the US after Fahrenheit 9/11.

Unlike most animal documentaries usually seen on the Discovery Channel, the film focuses on a family of birds and presents their plight as a moving love story.

Guided by instinct, a troupe comprising thousands of emperor penguins is shown marching towards icy breeding grounds during winter. The penguins must endure minus 40 degrees Celsius weather, snowstorms, starvation, and threats from predator birds as they make their journey.

Penguin couples support each other in order to ensure the birth of their offspring. Unfortunately, not every pair succeed in their quest to create a family.

The film features spectacular shots of glaciers and the frozen world of the South Pole.

Although the animals risk death throughout their journey, Jacquet focuses on the birds' courage and the love they have for their offspring, making the film a treat for the whole family.

The Cantonese version of the documentary is narrated by DJ Wong Chi-chung, with Canto-pop stars Eason Chan Yik-shun and Charlene Choi Cheuk-yin of Twins providing the voices of a penguin couple.