Thursday, February 17, 2011

#195. Winged Migration (2001)

DVD Synopsis: Witness as five film crews follow a rich variety of bird migrations through 40 countries and each of the seven continents. With teams totaling more than 450 people, 17 pilots, and 14 cinematographers used planes, gliders, helicopters and balloons to fly alongside, above, below, and in front of their subjects. The result is a film of staggering beauty that Entertainment Weekly hailed as "Mesmerizing!" and the Los Angeles Times applauded as "Breathtaking! As lofty as it is exhilarating!"

Despite our best efforts, it's a rare occurrence when we take a moment out of our hectic lives to observe the natural world. We’ve all looked in wonder at the setting sun, but think closely: how long do you actually watch it? A few moments perhaps, at the most a minute or two? In other words, just long enough to take in the beauty and then get back to whatever it was you were doing before you happened to look up. How many times, if ever, have you watched an entire sunset, until the sun disappeared? Well, there’s not much along the lines of sunsets in Winged Migration, but we are treated to 89 minutes of another natural marvel: the beauty and grace of birds in flight. and unlike those quick glances towards the sky, we’re a captive audience for the entire ride. 

With its entire focus on the migration patterns of birds, Winged Migration takes on the role of a passive observer, which it accomplishes by taking its cameras to the sky and quietly following along with dozens upon dozens of species of birds, spanning all seven continents in the process. The cinematography is stunning, but then it had to be; by keeping such a keen eye on its subjects at all times, Winged Migration had no choice but to rely on startlingly beautiful imagery to get its point across, and on that level it certainly does not disappoint. 

By way of its splendor, Winged Migration succeeds in focusing our attention on a very specific aspect of nature, and I can’t help but wonder after watching this movie that, if so much astonishment can be found in observing birds in flight, what other delights lie in the natural world for the taking? It’s enough to stagger the imagination.

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Sammy V said...

I'd like to check this one out.

Kudos for taking on such a arduous task...2500 movies is a lot. Do you have a timeframe to accomplish this feat?

Dave Becker said...

Sammy: Thanks for the comment, and for stopping by.

WINGED MIGRATION is definitely worth checking it; it's remarkably beautiful, and while you wouldn't think a documentary about migrating birds would be interesting, you'll find, as I did, that your eyes will be glued to it.

As for the 2500 movies, my only plan at this point is to post one new movie every day until I reach that number. Of course, at that pace, I'll be at this for somewhere around seven years!

We'll see what the future holds (whether I up the number to 2-3 a day or not), but for the here and now, it's one a day.

Thanks again for stopping by!

moviesandsongs365 said...

This film has been on my too-see-list on my blog for a while, I must get to it

Have you see Home(2009) ? I recently reviewed it on my blog, probably my favourite enviromental film. I recently saw "Earth", which is also staggeringly beautiful.

I think the narration and music is important in these kind of films, any thoughts on that?

Dave Becker said...

@moviesandsongs365: Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment.

I have not yet seen HOME, but would like to. I also haven't seen EARTH, but I have seen the BBC's PLANET EARTH, which I think contained a lot of the same footage Disney used for their film. PLANET EARTH was amazing, BTW.

I definitely agree that music is important. However, just to let you know, WINGED MIGRATION doesn't rely heavily on narration; it falls back almost completely on it's impressive visuals. That said, when used properly (like in PLANET EARTH), narration can certainly be an integral part of these kind of documentaries.

Thanks again (and nice blog...I've added it to my blog list on the right-hand menu).

Anonymous said...

Hi, I can't figure out how to add your site in my RSS feed reader. Can you tell me what I'm doing wrong, please.

Dave Becker said...

Hello, and my apologies! For some reason, your comment was delivered to the SPAM folder!

You can subscribe via a link on the right-hand menu (under SUBSCRIBE NOW).

Again, my apologies, and thanks for stopping by.