Monday, July 20, 2009

March of the Penguins - August 2005

Every year, thousands of emperor penguins spend months traveling to inland Antarctica for mating and chick rearing. A film crew spent a year following the penguins through their life cycle and brought back some beautiful footage. However, the penguin opus they assembled is a bit too sappy, relying on personification and cutesy music to make the audience feel warm fuzzies for the birds. Save your money and watch "March of the Penguins" when it appears on TV, which it will, over and over and over.

[2009: In the early 80s, the Tribune began running a new comic strip, "Bloom County." I got hooked from the get-go. One of the characters was Opus the Penguin.

After the real Steve Wozniak-sponsored US Festivals of 1982 and 1983, "Bloom County" ran a spoof called the Us Festival ("Cause all the dough goes to 'Us!'," exclaimed the characters). The spoof involved Opus meeting several real and fictional music acts.

When introduced to the lead singer of Culture Club, Opus thought the guy's name was an uncommon method of conveying gender and given name, so he replied in turn by giving his species and uni-name.

The exchange went something like this: "Hi, I'm Boy George." "And I'm Penguin Opus." The 'Penguin Opus' and 'P. Opus' references continued on until the “Bloom County,” “Outland,” and “Opus” comic strips ended their run a few years ago.

Finding a way to work the penguin opus pun into my review for "March of the Penguins" became a labor of love. I went through several drafts before settling on the one you see above. Oddly, I was disappointed when no one called me on it - no high fives for cleverness, no dope slaps for inflicting the it on my readers (I have no problem getting called on my puns - as Nick Charles said in "The Thin Man," "Jokesters should be punished").

Some days, it's the simple pleasures.]

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