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From the creators of March of the Penguins and The Fox and the Child. Written and directed by Luc Jaquet, Once Upon a Forest invites the spectator into a never-before-seen world of natural wonder and staggering beauty. For the first time, we will be able to watch a rainforest growing before our eyes. Drawing on a vast fund of research and knowledge, Once Upon a Forest will lead viewers on a journey into the depths of the tropical jungle, into the very heart of life on earth. For years, Luc Jacquet has spellbound audiences worldwide with his intimate yet spectacular stories of the natural world. His encounter with pioneering botanist and ecologist Francis Hallé was to give birth to this extraordinary exploration of the prehistoric rainforests, the great green lungs of our planet. Once Upon a Forest offers this unique voyage into a completely untamed universe, a world of perfect balance in which each living thing - from the smallest to the largest - plays an essential role. The film ... Written by
An above-average documentary about the growth of rainforests
The world of nature documentary films is riddled with aimless, uninformative visual feasts. Even the high-budget ones often fall prey to this purposelessness.
This documentary has the noble distinction of following a subject closely : the phases of tropical rainforest growth. It approaches the main concepts and gives interesting examples along the way. However, the vulgarization remains heavy and the vocabulary remains generic and nontechnical, so don't expect a university lecture.
The aerial drone images are impressive. Flying though the branches of majestic trees with a cinematic image quality was unfeasible before the advent of drones, and the movie delivers in that regard. (And keep an eye out for the film's biologist, hiding perched in the branches at vertiginous heights.)
Many of the scenes are also augmented with schematic-style animations. Some of it is excessive, like the awkward flocks of butterflies, but many animations were well-executed, such as seeing the roots of ancient trees as if our vision pierced the ground.
The film succeeds in giving us a general perspective on the age and complexity of rainforests. Their timescale is that of centuries, but they can be destroyed in a day : the message is clear.
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