This documentary introduces the viewer of "Winged Migration" to the people behind what its makers call "the tale," a combination of fiction and truth. The movie was storyboarded and the ... See full summary »
This documentary follows several species of migratory birds over a four year filming period. These birds travel several hundreds if not thousands of miles toward the equator in the autumn, and make the return journey to their higher latitude summer homes in the spring, always taking the same route, using the natural compasses of the universe, the stars, to find their way. Some species, like the arctic tern, even fly from pole to pole. These long and often torturous treks are a matter of survival, to live in a hospitable climate and find sources of food. With the exception of migratory penguins, travel over oceans is especially difficult as the birds have little refuge unless there is something floating on the water, such as a ship, on which to land. Otherwise they must continue flying until they reach land. Some will not survive the migration due to predators, including man, illness or injury. Although the migrations themselves are done as a community, once the birds reach their ... Written by
Jacques Perrin says in his commentary that his team tried to include emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) in the film, but weather conditions interfered, so they had to be satisfied with king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) instead. Some years later, the makers of March of the Penguins (2005) succeeded in making an emperor penguin movie. See more »
The story of bird migration is the story of promise - a promise to return.
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I was quite pleased with this movie until I watched the "behind the scenes" featurette on the DVD. It turns out that most of the extraordinary close-ups of winged flight that make the movie memorable are NOT of wild migrating birds. Rather, the filmakers raised and domesticated all sorts of birds through a process known as "imprinting" so they would be comfortable flying next to the noisy photography planes. Then they took their birds all over the world to dramatic backdrops like the Sahara and Monument Vally. They also used these domesticated birds for the dramatic set pieces revolving around birds trapped in sludge, stuck in a blizzard, escaping cages, or wandering the desert. Not only are these set pieces heavy-handed and overly dramatic, but the fact that the birds are not even wild and were placed in these situations really undermines the credibility of the film.
7 out of 10 (minus 1 point for the use of domesticated birds and minus 2 for putting ridiculously staged drama scenes in an otherwise beautiful nature film)
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