June 12, 2005

March of the Penguins

I wouldn't have even known about this movie except that Julie posted about the trailer a couple weeks ago. Some friends had tickets for today's SIFF showing at the Harvard Exit that they couldn't use so they gave them to us. Thanks, friends!

So last night we were trying to figure out how to get there for the 11:30am showing. We wanted to get there in time to stand in line for decent seats so that meant getting to the theatre no later than 11. I used Metro's extremely frustrating trip planner to figure out the times for an 11am arrival and came up with these three options:

  1. 9:00 Leave Issaquah P&R on ST 554
    9:23 Arrive Rainier Avenue I-90 freeway stop
    10:20 (yes, 57 minutes later) Leave on the 7 for downtown which turns into the 49
    10:49 Arrive at Broadway and Mercer
    Elapsed time: 1:49
  2. 8:41 Leave Issaquah P&R on MT 271 (University District)
    9:42 Arrive 15th and 42nd
    10:33 Leave on 49 for downtown
    10:43 Arrive at Broadway and Roy
    Elapsed time: 2:02
  3. 8:00 Leave Issaquah P&R on ST 554
    8:09 Arrive Eastgate P&R
    8:58 Leave on the exact same 271 bus as option 2 and the rest is the same as option 2 Elapsed time: 2:43

None of that counts the fact that we live a 15-minute bike ride from the Park & Ride.

This is a pretty daunting prospect (especially when you had the Saturday we had: B biked to the P&R, bussed downtown, met a friend who drove them to Ballard for an art studio open house, then dropped B off back downtown where she bussed and rode through the rain home. I had a computer crash at work so I had to ride in and I was so mad when I left that I forgot to take my key card and when I got there and realized my mistake I spent half an hour cursing and pushing the various doorbells around the building trying to get the attention of the 24x7 security guard who seemed to have taken the day off. So I ended up riding all the way back home to get my damn card and all the way back before I could fix the stupid computer and ride back home. Biometric authentication now!)

So when Rachel called at about 11pm and offered to come spend the night and let us take her car to the movie in the morning, we couldn't quite bring ourselves to turn her down.

So this morning we got up, hopped in Rachel's car, drove to Capitol Hill, parked the car, and got in line for the movie. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

Of course the irony of our transportational shortcut was not lost on us when we watched the movie, which depicts the rather bizarre reproductive cycle of the emperor penguin. When winter starts closing in on Antarctica, the penguins get out of the ocean where they've been fattening themselves up through the short summer. They walk 70 miles across the ice to their mating grounds. They pair off and consummate their relationships. Mom lays an egg. Mom hands the egg off to Dad, then she hikes 70 miles back to the ocean to eat some more. Dad hatches the egg (if he manages to keep it alive through 100 mile-per-hour winds and 80 degrees-below-zero temperatures), and tends the chick until Mom gets back with a full belly to take over. Now Dad trudges 70 miles to the sea for his first meal in 4 months. By the time he gets back, junior is big enough to boot out of the nest (if they had a nest), so Mom and Dad both take off and leave the kid to fend for herself. (Actually I think Mom and Dad take a few more trips for groceries before this; it wasn't quite clear in the movie.) Fortunately by this point the ice has melted back far enough that the mating ground is less than a mile from the open water so the kid can find her way to the water where she gets to live relatively care-free for 4 years before she has to go on the crazy march herself.

Nature is truly stranger than fiction. Made us feel kind of bad for quibbling over an extra hour and a half of travel time to see the movie by bus. ;-)

We enjoyed the movie. It seemed like it was pretty realistic, portraying some of the ways that the process can fail in addition to all the adorable footage of baby penguins and their almost equally adorable parents. Some of the failure scenes are truly heart-wrenching, so be prepared to talk to the kids about death and loss after the movie. The antarctic icescapes are stunning and make it worth catching this one on the big screen. Even if you have to take the bus.

Posted by jeffy at June 12, 2005 10:52 PM