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4.6 out of 5 stars49
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 11 July 2004
This is a mesmerizing look into the life of insects, with "real time" photography as well as slow motion and time lapse sequences. It also shows the predators who live off them, like the frogs, and the pheasant who gobbles up ants; flowers and how their life cycle is interconnected with the insects that pollinate them, as well as the carnivorous Drosera, as it devours a wasp-like creature.
There is even a portion in the night, with the nocturnal activity seen in the glimmer of moonlight, and also a marvelous rainstorm, with close-ups of the droplets falling.
The two most memorable scenes are the snails who mate with grace and abandon, and seem to become "one flesh", and the horned beetles in a battle that shows incredible violence and tenacity; both these segments seem to reflect "human" qualities, and fill the mind with wonder.
There is a beautifully written but short introduction and epilogue, read by Kristin Scott Thomas, and a score by Bruno Coulais, which consists mostly of vocal music, sung by mezzo Mari Kobayashi, and the charming young voices of Hugo and Louis Coulais; much of the film is in silence however, with just the sound of the insects.
A visual feast that is the creation of the Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou, who share credits as director/writer/cinematographer, and additional cinematography was done by Thierry Machado and Hugues Ruffel.
Total running time is 80 minutes, and you will never look at a lowly snail in the same way again.
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In similar vein to Reggio's seminal Koyaanisqatsi, Microcosmos is a film without commentary, other than a one-sentence introduction and a few poetic words at the close.
It presents the viewer with a gorgeous series of tableaux starring the amazing micro-fauna resident in a meadow. I guarantee the first thing that springs to mind when viewing Microcosmos for the first time is "how did they film that?!!" Achingly beautiful close-ups of ants, caterpillars, butterflies, snails, ladybirds, the bizarrely alien-looking mantis and dozens more give us an unique insight into the oft-ignored world beneath our feet.
The whole 72 minutes is one great therapeutic trip - just sit in your comfiest chair and let the vivid colours and sumptuous sound (natural insect noises occasionally punctuated with minimalist ambient music) wash over you.
Favourite scenes include the sissyphus-like dung-beetle, the ants at the "waterhole", the snail lovers, the spider's "aqualung", the stag beetles' battle and the jaw-droppingly stunning finale of the nascent mosquito breaking free of the meniscus of the pond on its impossibly long legs. Even the moment of microcosmic horror, when a strangely prehistoric looking pheasant perpetrates some genocide, is magnificently filmed and utterly satisfying.
Possibly the first wildlife film to cross the boundary into pure art.
I guarantee you will feel a better and more harmonious person for having viewed Microcosmos.
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on 27 December 2004
This is absolutely superb! One of my first experiences with a docu-film that doesn't have a commentary & it was absolutely riveting. The music blends effortlessly and emotional;ly with the visual feast. My only complainmt would be the lack of special features, on which would hopefully have included an explanation of how the producers made the film and an explanation of some of the creatures seen. Then the film would also have an educational element.
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I bought this DVD to share with my retired father - and when he'd seen it we shared it with a room full of cynical teenagers...who just melted into fascinated and awestruck silence.

They laughed out loud at the toils of the dung beetle, they flinched as the ants were eaten and they were amazed by the spider building its nest out of air bubbles under water.

This is a beautiful film which you will watch again and again -each time wishing there was more. If ever there was a family film this is it.
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on 29 January 2010
The video footage in this film is simply superb. I owned this on DVD and was thrilled to see it on Blu-Ray finally. The upgrade to blu-ray is a huge improvement. The colors are rich, the lines clear and unbelievable, and again, the footage, from ants-eye view as a bird eats them, or watching a dung-beetle struggle with dung, or bees in flight, spiders catching their prey, it is a wonderful trip to the microcosmos in which insects live in.

The 1080/24P Picture quality will test the limits of your tv. The high definition scenes in the giant-sized miniature world will blow your mind. The video quality is nearly reference material. Some scenes are a tiny bit grainy for effect (the clouds in the beginning for example) but the footage of the insects is excellent.

The DTS-HD MA sound is excellent. There is not much dialogue, hardly any in fact, but the sounds of inscets in the grass, thunder and raindrops, insect feet pattering on the ground, etc. all throw you into the microcosmos that is depicted wonderfully through the excellent video quality. The sound is an excellent compliment to the film and really enhances the overall effect of seeing the world from an insects point of view.

A huge thumbs up for any nature fan. The blu-ray does not disappoint. It is an excellent transfer of one of the best nature films ever made.
Region B Blu-RAy...
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on 18 September 2000
This amazing movie does a terrific job at displaying what is in front of our very eyes yet we never see, either because we dont pay attention or because we simply cant see! However once in the cosmos of the little friends everything is shockingly beautiful. It is neat to see how ants stock their winters food in their granaries, it is amazing to see what rain means to creatures that are the size of a rain drop, it is tranquilizing to see how slugs mate. All throughout the movie you keep thinking, "How did they shoot this scene". It is a different setting, it is a different time. It is a different cosmos, only a micro one.
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on 13 February 2009
Still a stunning piece of cinema, and I can't add anything to previous reviews when it comes to the content of the film itself, but I just wanted to post a review of this remastered version to warn anyone thinking of upgrading from their old version. Don't bother. The sound is marginally improved, perhaps, but the picture looks no better. In fact, in the opening few minutes, before it settles in to the hi-def macrovision footage, the picture looks positively awful: grainy, blurry, washed-out and pixellated. How exactly is that a remaster, I have to wonder?
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on 7 March 2010
This documentary is truly captivating although there is no commentry which leaves the viewer to his/her own imagination on the images shown but they are spectacular in Blu-Ray which is a absolute pleasure to watch and very tranquil too!! The producers have included some classical music here and there which is quite effective but its a shame they only put it in a couple of shots.I would recommend this dvd.
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on 22 June 2002
Stunning! Micrococsmos is like no other movie out there. The closest similarities can be found (in essence) in other movies like Baraka, Atlantis or KOYAANISQATSI. I can imagine that a lot of people may find this movie difficult to watch, with it's very patient and drawn out edits and sequences, however, the sense of "being-at-one" with the subject matter is the driving force behind this very ambitious project.
The cinematography is only second to Baraka. This is a very vague criticism as they cover very different subject matter and it would be unfair to place them side by side for scrutiny.
Somehow the makers have managed to bring action, humour and a dynamic tension to the most unobvious of subjects i.e. entomology against the backdrop of a very ordinary looking meadow.
From the chaos of a hurricane-like light morning shower to the sleepy winding and unwinding of two snails "making out", this movie would put any convoluted Hollywood plot to shame.
This is, without doubt, the most refreshing film I have seen in many years and would recommend it to both film and nature enthusiasts everywhere.
Hurry up with the DVD release!
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on 12 November 2005
This film is absolutely spectacular. You might think that a whole film full of insect footage may be a bit too much but it isn't at all. It is just brilliant.
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