Winged Migration

"Excellent"

Winged Migration Review


Rarely has there been a movie with such a literal title, but then it's science, not fiction. In that context there's no room for a title implying mystery or hidden meaning. Instead, it puts it squarely in contention for programming on the Discovery channel. It is biology, diversity, and adventure... and one of the five nominations for the Best Documentary Oscar for 2002. It is also the stuff the most exquisite dreams are made of.

Jacques Perrin, producer of such hugely successful French films as the exciting Z and the compelling Cinema Paradiso, has turned to films about nature, such as Microcosmos (insects) and Himalaya for his more recent successes. Winged Migration has the potential in sheer amazement of imagery to fly to the top of his list. In it, he provides minimalist narration, allowing the pictures to astound you not only at their majesty but at what made them possible.

What you witness here are, after all, sustained close-ups of birds in flight. To achieve this heavenly pursuit, 450 people, including 17 pilots and 14 cinematographers, in five teams, followed a variety of bird migrations through 40 countries and each of the seven continents. As impressive as these numbers are, they become a mere footnote when you see the results, covering landscapes from the Eiffel Tower and Monument Valley to the remote reaches of the Arctic and the Amazon.

The pinnacle of its achievement lies in the tools its creators used, suggesting that progress is being made in areas beyond battlefields. Techniques and machines, this picture proves, can be put in the service of accompanying birds on the wing. The machines employed include planes, gliders, helicopters, balloons, and ingeniously designed cameras. Add to that innovative techniques and mastery of the machines to pull off something most of us would have thought impossible. Who but this team would think that flying alongside, above, and below a flock on the fly would not only be doable but be accepted by the subjects.

As you watch this, you can't help wondering what the birds must have thought of the outlandish devices that suddenly appeared in their midst, to fly with them as they progressed along the wind currents. Well, perhaps if the birds were freaked out by the sudden appearance of man and his machine, they weren't able to just fly away -- they were already flying away and probably disinclined to break up the formation of the flock. On the other hand, perhaps it's more what you see when you dive in the ocean and swim with the fish. The very fact of being in their element seems to put them at ease in the companionship of alien intruders who aren't threatening them. Inquisitiveness is a powerful, perhaps dominating, instinct in nature.

The migratory flights are presented as a continuous stream of separate episodes, as varied as they are majestic, almost otherworldly in their intimacy with a phenomenon that has heretofore only been witnessed at a great distance. The question of "what would it be like" is answered. These visions are so close and detailed, you are provided with a sense of lift and soaring like no film has ever provided. It is real but with the spookiness of unreality and a persistent feeling of impossibility.

It is what a trip on acid might want as a visual accompaniment. It is what a sermonizing preacher might project in order to provide celestial inspiration to his flock. It provides a kind of spellbinding fascination that envelops you at a planetarium show.

It is, however, longish, repetitive, and almost too much exhilaration for one sitting. But, if you're in the mood for a film of staggering beauty that will open your eyes to one of the wonders of the natural world breathtakingly captured in all its glory, color, and movement, this is a must see.

How'd they do all this? An exhaustive documentary on the DVD shows how the birds were trained and these amazing photographs were taken. Definitely worth a look.

Aka Le Peuple migrateur.

Needs nose job.



Winged Migration

Facts and Figures

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 12th December 2001

Box Office USA: $10.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $20.2M

Budget: $35.9M

Distributed by: Sony Classic Pictures

Production compaines: Bac Films, Canal+, Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), Conseil Régional de Franche-Comté, Eurimages, Eyescreen S.r.l., France 2 Cinéma, Galatée Films, Les Productions de la Guéville, Pandora Filmproduktion, Procirep, Télévision Suisse-Romande (TSR), Wanda Visión S.A., Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 127 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debats

Starring: Philippe Labro as Narrator, as Narrator (voice)

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.