Wings of Life, Blu-ray (2013)Director: Louie Schwartzberg Narrator: Meryl Streep Studio: Disney Nature 111515 [4/16/13] (2 discs) Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p color HD Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French or Spanish DD 5.1 Subtitles: English, Spanish, French Length: 80 minutes
I at first thought this was a sort of sequel to Disney Nature’s 2010 effort Crimson Wing. But this one is not about just birds (flamingos in that case), but concentrates on the pollinization of flowers and plants worldwide by bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and (would you believe?) bats. Streep’s narration is couched in the personality of a flower, who carefully describes how the flowers trick the flying creatures into picking up the flowers’ pollen and distributing it to other flowers and plants. She explains how over a third of the world’s food supply depends on the pollination efforts of these creatures, and there is even a section on the mystery of the reductions in the honeybee populations everywhere and how this may threaten the world. The film teaches the great importance of flowers in nature and that all living things are affected by the flowers and their proper pollinization.
What mainly makes the nature documentary—sure to appeal to all ages—so special is the really exquisite cinematography. The filmmaker makes use of high-speed cameras to slow down the movements of the animals, often suspending the hummingbirds in midair in glorious array. He also goes in extremely close with close-up lenses, showing the details of the heads of the bees and butterflies such as most of use have never seen before. The story of the Monarch butterflies has been told onscreen before, but this section is probably the best every, with the cycle from caterpillar to lovely butterfly clearly illustrated. A hummingbird midair fight is shown, to demonstrate that these lovely little creatures also have a fierce side to them. Perhaps most amazing is the footage of the pregnant female bats sucking at the juicy flowers of the cactuses in the Sonoran Desert at night. Many of the shots will mesmerize the viewer with the beauty of these incredible creatures and the vital cycles of pollination.