The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos
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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Great photography & a great musical score

7/10
Author: ajs-10 from United Kingdom
22 November 2010

Known simply as 'The Crimson Wing' here in the UK, I remember it causing a bit of a stir when it was released just over a year ago. Of course it all died down pretty quickly and the film didn't pick up any major awards. Needless to say it caught my attention and so when it turned up on TV I decided to give it a viewing.

This documentary tells the story of Lake Natron in northern Tanzania and how every year, after the rains come, a massive flock of Lesser Flamingos comes to the lake to breed. It tells of all the trials and tribulations of the young chicks, of all the dangers they must survive and, yes, there are scenes depicting the fates of those that don't. We are also told about some of the wildlife surrounding the lake and how it gives the flamingos their unique crimson plumage.

A great score and some superb cinematography give this film the edge over other nature documentaries I've seen. There is also a great narration delivered by British TV presenter, Mariella Frostrup which only added to my enjoyment.

It did tend to sag a bit towards the end, but overall quite an enjoyable and informative film. I wouldn't recommend it for the very young, but I think for anyone interested in wildlife its well worth a viewing. Over all, recommended.

My score: 6.8/10

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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Vivid and bleak at the same time

6/10
Author: TheBearisHERE from Lithuania
4 March 2009

Basically this "Disney" movie is an "Animal Planet" documentary shot with more sophisticated equipment and in better picture quality.

It shows the first vital periods of flamingos' life since hatching from an egg in a remote African area. There are many interesting shots capturing these birds as they struggle to survive the odds, but after some time it gets repetitive and boring.

The narrator was rather annoying as well, making childish comparisons and talking about fairy tales, whereas I would have appreciated more given data and the scientific approach.

Therefore, nothing groundbreaking or faint-inducing.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Not Like Other Docs

10/10
Author: Hollywood_Yoda from Outside Hollywood
15 July 2013

I saw "The Crimson Wing" a few years ago, it was the first Disneynature documentary I had seen. I never thought Flamingos could be as beautiful as presented in this film. The filmmakers and cinematographer's did a great job getting the shots of these wild animals.

In the film, it explains how mankind has been devastating to the ecosystem and the habitats of flamingos. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a few years back destroyed a lot of their natural habitat.

You get to see the life-cycle of these amazing birds, from birth to death. This is a true educational experience. The quality is great, and it's a film the whole family can watch together.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Earth, Wind & Fire & The Legend Of The Crimson Wing

7/10
Author: Dalbert Pringle from New Zealand
7 April 2015

Well, I must say that I was really quite impressed with this "Disneynature" documentary that took an in-depth look at the flamingos of Africa who (once a year) arrive by the 1000s at Lake Natron (in Tanzania) in order to mate and raise their young.

In part, this thoughtful documentary was, without question, a very sad tale from the viewpoint of the survival of the flamingo chicks who must quickly gather their strength in order to endure the hardships that immediately come before them and challenge their very existence.

With its excellent photography and its equally superb soundtrack music (from The Cinematic Orchestra), I certainly recommend this DVD very highly to those of you who are interested in witnessing such an amazing phenomenon like this one from the world of nature where many astounding marvels are there for us to behold.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

visually stunning and very heart breaking

6/10
Author: dbborroughs from Glen Cove, New York
30 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this as part of the New York International Children's Film Festival weekly screenings at the IFC Center in Manhattan. The blurbs they had posted on their website and the link to the trailer made this seem like it was something I would love to see.

The film follows a year in the life of the flamingos from their birth in a the middle of the inhospitable lake Natron, which is so full of salt nothing can live there, through their growing up to the point where they can leave and then back to their return to the lake the next year. Actually most of the film is on their time at Natron with the chicks struggling to live.

A visually stunning film, this movie is so full of fantastic images it will have your mouth hanging open and tears rolling down your cheeks. Its a stunningly beautiful film at times and it was a treat to see the images on a huge movie screen.

The film is also very heart breaking. The film does not shy away from showing the young (and not so young) birds as they meet their doom either at the hands of the predators, who wade in and take their fill, or from the salt shackles that form around the legs of some of the chicks which make their getting around slow or even impossible. If the film doesn't have a regular US release, which it appears not to, I'm guessing its because the heart breaking scenes of the death of the chicks have given Disney pause as to how to market the film to families.

For me the flaw of the film is that as it stands now its too long by a good fifteen or twenty minutes. Once the chicks begin to mature and head off to the various lakes around Africa the film kind of has nowhere to go (actually once the birds get off the salt islands the film slows). The filmmakers don't follow the birds much and outside of the narration that "they go where they will" and some flying sequences, we see little. Then, magically, a year has passed and the birds return again. The film is essentially repeating itself (Even the narration repeats itself)and it suddenly seems to have no point other than to show this one piece of the life of the flamingos. Don't get me wrong its not a bad film, Its just that its one that's been stretched to 75 minutes to make the minimum length required for a feature film.

I like it its worth seeing, just be wary if you bring the kids since some of the sequences with doomed chicks may upset some of the children in your brood (A couple of kids in the theater were desperate to be reassured by mommy and daddy) The first 50 minutes is 8 out of 10, the second half less, with the over all petering out making the film less then it really should be.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fascinating and hellish...

8/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
4 January 2016

This is the first of a new generation of nature documentaries from Disney and they picked a VERY difficult topic to cover. Instead of the usual locations like jungles or plains, this one is filmed in the most hellish place in Tanzania--near the Kenyan border in a region made toxic to most life by volcanic ash. However, surprisingly, 2.5 million flamingos return to Lake Natron each year- -despite it having a pH of 10.5 and being made up of a mixture of ash and salt. The film follows the flamingos for a year--as the return to do their courtship rituals, lay and hatch eggs and then grow into adulthood. It's all quite lovely with nice cinematography yet Disney chose not to release this to theaters--though it would have been lovely to see on the giant screen.

My only reservations are that kids might be a bit shook up because nature is pitiless and you see a lot of flamingos die. Also, biologists might dislike how the narration often becomes much too prosaic and not exactly scientific. Still, the overall effect is breathtaking and if you see it, try to see it on as large a TV as possible.

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The Flamingos Of Lake Natron

7/10
Author: roddekker
4 December 2015

For me, Crimson Wing was a somewhat sad and tragic story that showed me very clearly what hardships the flamingos had to go through in order to preserve their species.

Filmed almost entirely at Lake Natron in Tanzania, not only did the adult flamingos have to protect their new-born chicks from such ravenous beasts as the mongoose, but the vast salt deposits that accumulate around Lake Natron posed an equally treacherous threat for the survival of the struggling young, as well.

Crimson Wing was a "Disney-Nature" presentation. Not only was it impressively photographed and its narration by Mariella Frostrup informative, but its musical score by Le Cinematic Orchestra set the mood of this documentary's story very nicely.

Yes. I certainly do recommend Crimson Wing to all who are curious about the diversity of the natural world that exists in abundance all across this planet we call "ours'.

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Colourful flamingo documentary with tragedy in abundance

6/10
Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
27 April 2015

Like MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, THE CRIMSON WING is a nature documentary focused on a single subject, produced by Walt Disney Studios of all people. Thankfully this isn't a twee or sentimental type account of the material, rather a solid, fact-focused documentary packed full of gorgeous photography of the birds.

It turns out that Lesser Flamingos are the birds behind the myth of the Phoenix, and the correlation of their lifecycle to that of the legendary bird rising from the ashes is an engaging one. But this is a film that offers more to the casual viewer, with plenty of tragedy and chaos along the way. There are the inevitably tear-jerking scenes involving the chicks that didn't make it, and such moments are tragic beyond belief.

THE CRIMSON WING offers strong commentary by experienced narrator Mariella Frostrup and a lean, mean, running time which excises extraneous material from the narrative. Best of all, though, it has fantastic cinematography that helps to fuel a colourful, engaging and thorough exploration of the topic.

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Simple, inspiring, amazing...

9/10
Author: gotmian from Greece
27 September 2012

A story told in a simple, friendly, inspiring way. The music score is one of the best soundtracks ever written (considering scores for cinema, TV and video games) and adds to the overall experience this film creates - in a way one might say that it even defines this movie and sets the standard for other future productions.

The director's view of a story (a circle of life in a way) is also a highlight for this documentary as it unfolds, expands and then sets itself in a clear, well define perspective of what life is, what colour is and how we, as the birds, are defined by these elements.

A fluid, well described and narrated documentary like only a few. Watch it, even if you only do so for the score and the integration of the score to the cinematography.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not what you'd expect (unless you expect a lot of dead flamingos)

1/10
Author: Abe Wolow
5 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My girlfriend and I purchased this movie because she really likes flamingos and we figured a Disney movie has to be happy. Wrong! The movie really focused a lot on baby flamingos being caught in "salt shackles" and subsequently dying. Then it randomly showed spider webs and (non-flamingo) birds for a full 60 seconds. Eventually, it returned to showing flamingos, primarily dead ones, making their way against adversity. I can't even say, however, that this was an inspiring film that showed the power of perseverance or anything like that. It really just showed a lot of dead flamingos. My girlfriend and I had read a lot of different reviews and thought that all the people online who said things like I'm saying now were just kooks or trolls or something. Wrong! So please, if you like flamingos and don't want to see them die, then please avoid this movie at all costs. (On the other hand, if you hate flamingos and want to see them die, then this movie is right up your alley and by all means, the $10 or whatever that it costs will be well worth it to you.)

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