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Adventures of the Penguin King

Movie Details

Adventures of the Penguin King
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Date: 2013-12-06 Limited
  • Running Time: 76 min.
  • Director: Anthony Geffen
  • Cast: Tim Allen

According to Joseph Campbell and Community creator Dan Harmon, it's nearly impossible to relate an anecdote or recall an event without mapping it to the universal storytelling template that informs all human narrative. Storytelling is a load-bearing structure in the cognitive architecture, and imposing a narrative on filmed nature footage means making a completely anthrocentric choice. Since films about penguins, with their formal wear and happy feet, have flourished over the last decade, they're obviously a resonant metaphor for the cycle of human existence or whatever. The dull Adventures of the Penguin King is definitely the laziest of the waddle-coms to win theatrical release. The story of Rex the king penguin and his quest for a mate, it's like the producers found an unfinished Animal Planet documentary and then got your dad to turn down the volume and narrate it as the voice of one of the animals, making it up as he goes along, taking cues from whatever flashes on the screen. If you turned off the visuals and just listened to Tim Allen's first-person voiceover, it would sound like a man slowly going insane, babbling his internal monologue about molting, diving, and socializing with kestrels into an empty house. Rex is cute, but an unreliable narrator. When he takes to the sea, leaving his newly hatched offspring and mate behind, how is he privy to everything that happens to them back onshore?

Chris Packham

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