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Winged Migration (2001)

Cast: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Perrin
Director: Francis Roux, Francis Roux, Guy Jarry, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Documentary, Foreign, Nature & Science
Running Time: 89 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi
    see additional details...

Recently Rented By lovegrenade

While practically everyone is aware of the fact that birds fly south for the winter, and return home in the spring, few are aware of just how arduous the journey can be. Jacques Perrin, a noted actor and film producer in his native France, decided to document this process, using flocks of birds who had been trained to ignore the distractions of his camera crew, and employing a variety of state-of-the-art technology to capture as unobtrusively as possible the flight paths of different birds from around the globe. The result was Winged Migration, a visually dazzling documentary that records the flight of dozens of different birds as they follow their navigational instincts and make the taxing journey to more temperate climates in the fall, all chronicled without the use of narration. The first directorial effort for Perrin, Winged Migration received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Don't miss added feature by Basil918 April 16, 2004 - 12:07 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Be sure to watch the Making of Winged Migration as a bonus feature. It's nearly as breath-taking as the film.

Incredibly beautiful by FKatrishen December 11, 2003 - 2:33 PM PST
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
I was so amazed by this movie that after renting it, I had to buy it. It is one of the few movies I have seen that I would love to see over and over. The shots of birds, scenary around the world and music perfectly compliment one another. There were some scenes that were perfect like one of storks doing a ballet with ballet set to ballet music. It was also interesting to watch the feature on how the film was made. The film is not a documentary but the shots were carefully planned to the extent that they could plan what wildlife would do. They were able to film several flocks of birds up close because they had actually raised the birds and the birds were not afraid of the ultralights and other vehicles following them. This could never have been done with wildbirds. There are also lots of shots of wildbirds set to beautiful other worldly music.

Not a documentary by benrg November 30, 2003 - 9:40 PM PST
11 out of 17 members found this review helpful
A title at the beginning of the film says, "no special effects were used in the filming of the birds". So I was nonplussed to see shots of birds flying against obviously fake (CGI) backgrounds. Thinking back to the opening title, I realized that it really means nothing at all. Of course they didn't use special effects while filming the birds -- they used them in post-production, after filming the birds. My enjoyment of the film took a sharp dive after that point, as I started distrusting everything I saw. Many scenes were clearly staged, even when the backgrounds looked realistic, and I started wondering if they'd simply filmed the birds in a wind tunnel against a bluescreen and added second-unit background scenery later.

The making-of documentary on the DVD shows that this wasn't the case, but neither were any of the birds in the film actually migrating. They were raised and trained from chicks by the filmmakers, and flown and driven to the location of each day's shoot. Most of the film was storyboarded in advance, and the birds were just actors. The film has more in common with "The Incredible Journey" than with a nature documentary.

There was some genuine footage of wild birds mixed in, some of it extremely beautiful, and I found myself wondering why they went to the trouble of making a fictional movie when it could have been a gorgeous real documentary. I wonder even more what could have possessed them to include the CGI shots, which look tawdry and artificial.

I actually liked the making-of documentary more than the film itself, because it was real. The film is a beautifully photographed story, and a technical breakthrough in the use of birds as actors, but not a documentary. Very disappointing.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.51)
209 Votes
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