for that matter, I hadn't really given a lot of thought to the actual beauty of the birds themselves until seeing them closeup on the widescreen. and unlike many wildlife documentaries, this one didn't go to great lengths to show the poignance of life and death in the wild, insofar as our acquaintances with death were short. the most heart-wrenching one was of a mother penguin trying to nudge her frozen-to-death chick back to life.
for the most part, though, the penguins looked pretty happy to be penguins, and the narrative didn't beat us over the head with one of those "struggle for survival" themes while showing great panning shots of a huge thriving penguin population.
not that there is no struggle for survival going on here, especially considering what the effects of global warming might be on the weather in the antarctic, and what effect that might have on the penguins, but the "struggle for survival" narrative that chafes me so is the quasi-Darwinian line of wresting life from the forbidding elements by sheer force of will. the penguins just live, with no apparent need for grim determination. life goes everywhere it can go, voluptuously.
so yeah I was glad I went. the film is less than an hour and a half long, so really it felt like a slightly extended national geographic on tv. just there was this long bus ride to and from the television.