- Applicability: In the US, thanks to the English dub glossing over some of the less family-friendly parts of penguin behavior, the film proved oddly popular with political conservatives, who saw in it lessons for humans about monogamy and family values and even suggested that the penguins were an argument for "intelligent design" against evolution. Director Luc Jacquet found this interpretation amusing and strongly criticized it, noting that, in real life (and as the original French dub pointed out), penguin pairings only last a single mating season, meaning that they have an astronomical "divorce rate". National Review editor Rich Lowry invoked the MST3K Mantra, claiming in the conservative magazine's blog that The BBC had been bugging him to make a statement about the film as a political statement about rescuing America."As politely as I could I told her, 'Lady, they're just birds.'"
- Awesome Music: While the American score isn't anything to sneeze at, the original French version deserves special mention for its stunning electronica-based soundtrack courtesy of art pop songstress Émilie Simon.
- Fountain of Memes: Dear God, this movie has been parodied/homaged to death.
- Narm: The footage and music are stunning. The dialogue, if you watched the original French version, would make you want to hide under your cinema seat. (The "love story" angle was present in the American version, too, but the narm is less obvious when narrated. In French, you get two penguins calling each other "dear".note )
- Nightmare Fuel: The leopard seal.
- Tear Jerker: The scene where an egg freezes.
- Also, the baby penguin freezing to death. Its mother is so grief-stricken that she tries to abduct another penguin's baby as her own. It doesn't help when we see the mother have a brief flashback of the bond she shared with her now-dead baby.
- What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Many TV spots marketed the film as a children's movie, spotlighting the baby penguins. While it has a G-rating, it's hardly a film for the little ones: the documentary does not shy away from the hardships the emperor penguins face, and many of the sequences feature said cute baby penguins either in danger or dying. Any little kids who end up watching it will likely be traumatized.
YMMV / March of the Penguins