Disneynature’s Penguins: Cuteness raises awareness for conservation


Dinseynature’s Penguins is slated to open for Earth Day 2019. While the penguins are absolutely adorable, the underlying message is more important.

Disneynature films may not have the largest box office successes, but these films capture audiences’ hearts. From the vastness of Oceans to the maternal bonds in Monkey Kingdom, these Disneynature films tug on audiences’ emotions. Although there is a plotline with real, living creatures, the story’s message is the true meaning behind these movies.

According to recently released Disneynature trailer, Penguins is a penguin love story. Like most love stories, there is a goofy guy who finds his mate. As the family grows, they face peril, but they look to overcome those obstacles. Still, there is a bigger message beyond the nearly two-minute trailer.

This movie features Adelie penguins, which are the second largest type of penguins in the Antarctic. Over the years, the ice caps and glaciers have become diminished. As their homes disappear, these penguins have to search farther for their food. Not to mention dangers, like the killer seals, get closer. Overall, these colonies don’t have a simple, carefree life.

A movie like Penguins can highlight these environment concerns in a classic Disney fashion. In an approachable, family friendly way, movie goers can visualize the changes happening to a distant world. While few of us will ever visit the Antarctic, this movie can bring that world into our lives. Hopefully, the lighthearted story can encourage viewers to help the adorable penguins and the environment that they call home.

While the conservation message is clear (do more to protect the planet), the message is more palatable because penguins are adorable. They’ve got those goofy little waddles, and maybe those short, stubby wings just add to the unusual proportion of their bodies. Or, who wouldn’t want the chance to just fall over and slide around on their stomachs? Just look at them!

Personally, I think that people are drawn to penguins because these birds have personality. When I made a visit to Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, I felt like the penguins were interacting not only with each other but also with the visitors. They would explore, turn their heads as I took pictures and even “talk” to me. Maybe I was making up this connection, but it felt like they were interacting with everyone.

Something about watching penguins is mesmerizing. They would waddle, flop down to the water and then swim around. After seeing them move so precariously on land, it’s amazing how effortlessly they move through water. A penguins can swim up to 25 miles per hour, a feat that seems impossible based on their waddle. It’s almost as if penguins are under-estimated a little.

Another factor that endears penguins to people is their willingness to help other members of the colony. Since their environment is so cold and harsh, the penguins huddle together to stay warm. As they get warm, the penguins take turns moving away from the center. It’s like a collective family looking out for each other. That desire to take care of each other is another adorable trait.

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While Disneynature’s Penguins may not pull in the huge box office profits like Black Panther or another Marvel movie, this type of movie has the heart and message to make a difference with viewers.

Plus, who can’t help but smile when you see a penguin? You can catch Penguins in theaters next Earth Day, April 22, 2019.