By using penguins and a voice-over to narrate, Director Henry West pushes the issue of discarded plastics that are harming wildlife and the environment in the micro-short film The Plastic & The Penguin.
There has never been a more destructive creature on our beautiful planet than man. As a race, we have sent entire species into extinction and destroyed rainforests and habitats at a scary rate. Something needs to be done, and Henry West is helping the cause by creating a short used to drive the message home.
While it may only be three minutes in length, The Plastic & The Penguin does make you sit up and think and I believe that would have been West’s goal when he started the project.
Though it is shot like a David Attenborough documentary such as Blue Planet or Planet Earth, there is a short narrative thanks to some voice-over acting. Whilst feeding her child, a mother penguin starts to feel sickly due to eating something she believed was food. Worried, the young penguin searches for help, but the mission is futile, as the plastic the mother has consumed seals her fate. Like I stated above, it is very short but it does its job very well.
The cinematography of The Plastic & The Penguin is achingly beautiful. There are many instances of stunning shots of the penguins in their natural habitat, of whales in the sea, of a shipwreck, and icebergs. It really is gorgeous photography. The only issue I really felt was with the voice acting itself. Now, I’m not saying it was bad, but it reminded me of something you would hear on a children’s television show. I think a voice-over informing us of facts regarding how plastic is harming these beautiful creatures may have been even more impactful.
Of course, this is only a minor gripe and The Plastic & The Penguin has a lot more positives than one slight negative (for me). It seems that Henry West certainly has the skills to make beautiful-looking and interesting films. With only one IMDB credit to his name so far (this one), I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of him making a name for himself in the world of wildlife documentaries. If his future work is anything like this one, he could find himself surrounded by awards with his name etched upon them.