The Emperor's Journey

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 October, 2005, 12:00am

The Emperor's Journey is more than a documentary. It is a noble story of parenthood and the struggle for life.

The film is the second highest-grossing documentary in the United States, after Fahrenheit

9/11. It is the result of French director Luc Jacquet and his crew's 13-month effort in the wastelands of Antarctica.

Penguins are usually portrayed as witty (Madagascar) and sometimes even evil (Batman Returns). But Jacquet sees the brave and robust side of them.

The heartwarming documentary traces the long journey taken by thousands of emperor penguins. Guided by instinct, the penguins trek across the Antarctica's frozen interior to breed. They then make the return journey across 200km of ice fields to the fish-filled seas that provide food for their chicks.

The penguins endure minus 40 degrees Celsius weather, snowstorms and starvation. With support from the troupe, parents raise their fluffy young - but, unfortunately, not every couple succeed.

Jacquet is a behavioural scientist with a master's degree from Lyon University in France. But the film is more than a nature documentary; it takes a closer look at the birds by focusing on one particular family and presenting it all as a touching love story.

Jacquet captures moments of intimacy which touch viewers' hearts, making the movie a great treat for the whole family.

The scenes of ritual courtship that involve funny dances and the underwater footage of the penguins' winter activities are particularly entertaining.

The film also provides audiences with a glimpse of an environment that is harsh and lonely, but also spectacular, with its glaciers, dark waters and white ice.

The Cantonese version 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 for the penguin couple.

The Emperor's Journey is now showing