Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Winged Migration |
Actors: Will Smith, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
For earthbound humans, Winged Migration is as close as any of us will get to sharing the sky with our fine feathered friends. It's as if French director Jacques Perrin and his international crew of dedicated filmmakers had... more »
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Gregor von Kallahann | 08/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My ex-wife could never understand why I (the original couch potato) could never get enough of nature shows on TV. It was rather difficult to explain how fascinating I found the natural world, especially from the comfort of my own living room. And admittedly, some of those WILD KINGDOM episodes were kind of hokey. (I remember how betrayed I felt when I found out that Jim and Marlin had staged most of the good scenes and hadn't actually ventured to the wilds of Africa or the Amazon. Maybe they were just couch potatoes at heart too.)But French filmmaker, Jacques Perrin and crew are certainly the real deal. This breathtaking documentary is one that I would unqualifiedly recommend--to just about anyone. Even my "ex" called recently to let me know that this film had left her in tears. I found it equally moving, and plainly I wasn't alone. In fact, when I saw it the whole theater burst into applause at the end. As others have noted, the camera work on this film is awe inspiring. I have seen a few television docs with this kind of upclose footage before (I think maybe the EYEWITNESS series?), but none have sustained the effect for very long, and most don't pack the emotional wallop of this film. Between this film and the recent SPELLBOUND, I can see an expanding market for documentaries--at least the more unique and captivating ones. A great film for family viewing, although younger children may be upset by the depiction of some of nature's (and mankind's) harsher realities. Otherwise, a true must-see in a sea of only purported must-sees."
Birds in flight -- in all their power and glory. Fantastic!
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 05/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 2001 award-winning documentary by Jacques Perrin certainly is unique. It's a full 99 minutes of exquisite cinematography of migrating birds, some species flying as far as 12,500 miles each year. There are a few captions, which tell the name of the bird and the amount of mileage they fly in order to migrate. There's also some light background music as well as natural sounds, and a few sentences, spoken by the director. Other than that, it's only the birds, whose migratory patterns were followed for three years.At the beginning of the film there's a disclaimer informing the audience that there were no special effects were used. And so I sat there in wonder of how they were able to achieve all their shots. There's the beauty of birds flying in formation, close up shots of them feeding their young, competing with each other, stopping to rest. And there's one magnificent shot of fleeing an avalanche. There are different species filmed in different areas of the world. We see the Artic Circle, the American Southwest, the industrial areas of Eastern Europe, the vast oceans, the skyline of cities and even a shot as they fly past the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. We also see hunters whose gunfire brings sudden death as well as a bird with a broken wing who is attacked and devoured by crabs.Here is nature, in all its power and glory. I sat there wide-eyed, taking it all in. And somehow, the petty concerns of my daily life seemed to fall into perspective. Some people might find this film boring and I doubt if it will get wide distribution in theaters. It's only playing in one theater in New York and, even in this densely populated city, there was a very sparse audience. I'm glad I was one of the people in that audience though because I loved every moment of the film would definitely see it again on DVD, especially if it had special features to describe how the cinematography was done.Highly recommended."
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 03/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WINGED MIGRATION is filmmaker Jacques Perrin's stunning documentary study of bird migration. My wife and I left the special studio screening exclaiming, "How'd they do that!?"The film begins along a minor waterway in Europe as a flock of geese begins its annual migration north to its summer breeding ground. It then cuts to other locales around the world as other species of large birds - usually cranes, swans, and storks, but also gannets, loons and others - begin their respective journeys. In all cases, the captioning identifies the species, their start points and destinations, and the miles between the two. Occasionally, Perrin makes the point more spectacularly by superimposing the flying flock on an image of the Earth taken from near-orbit. Voice overs are kept to a minimum.Except for New York (with the WTC still standing), Paris, and a dismal industrial wasteland in eastern Europe, the flocks are shown flying through unpopulated landscapes both varied and magnificent: beaches, ice fields, Monument Valley, northern tundra, open oceans, snow-covered mountains, Asian farmlands, forest-enclosed lakes, deserts, and tropical rainforests. The sunset and weather (blizzards, fog, thunderstorms) provide dramatic backdrops. Then, at journey's end, the birds are shown in their summer habitats - usually steep, dramatic cliffs or rock-strewn shores with sea-ravaged margins.But certainly the most eye-popping camera work is with the bird formations on the wing. The apparent vantage point of the lens is among the flock, with individual birds only an arm or hand-length away above, below, or to the side. I mean, you're RIGHT THERE! You'd think they'd have to be computer animated models. But a disclaimer at the film's beginning states that no special effects were used in the filming of the birds. While Perrin emphasizes the round trip to, and the stay in, the breeding grounds, he doesn't gloss over the dangers. The viewer watches as individual birds fall victim to animal predators, human hunters and poachers, and industrial pollution. Some circumstances are heartrending, as when a disabled bird is surrounded and overcome by predatory crabs on an African beach.Before concluding back at the same waterway and with the same flock of geese which began his documentary, the filmmaker makes a digression at first seemingly inconsistent with the title, i.e. with flightless Emperor penguins in the southern hemisphere. Of course, they use their wings to swim a couple hundred miles.WINGED MIGRATION is a film to remind us that the real world can be just as spectacular and amazing as any one of the mega-budget, FX-laden, mindless thrillers dished out to the masses. It's wonderful."
DVD of the year
T. Avallone | St Charles IL | 11/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You probably already know the in's and out's of this, so I won't go into heavy detail on the film itself. But if you don't see this magnificent documentary, you are really missing out.The question is can 90 minutes of birds (mostly fowl) in flight hold an interest to the viewer ? Simply, put - yes. Not only are we treated to seeing birds in flight from a short (very short) distance away, we also can admire of how beautiful the world is viewed from thier point of view - and how ugly it can become because of humans.Although the filmmakers don't dwell on the fact the dangerous obsticles these birds come across, they make a strong (sometimes sad) point. Lets face it: A real true to life documentary will not 'sugar coat' the world we live in, but show us reality. This is done with care, without showing us bloody details. DVD extras include a 42 minute "Making Of" featurette, a short 12 minute "insight" from the meanings of the film for a better understanding, and a full commentary by the filmmakers (plus trailers). Since the film has little or no talking throughout, the commentary is a welcome addition. Although this might seem as an annoyance, this should be viewed as a documentary of image, and little detail. Do yourself a favor: Watch the film first - then the documentaries later. We find out some of the birds were saved in their turmoil - and some of the dangers were staged. This, in NO way, shape or form, does this take anything away from the wonderous impact this film makes on you. It WILL make you view birds in a whole different light - and just might make you change your ways. This is filmmaking at its greatest."