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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime cinematography
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...
Published on 28 Jan 2006 by Joseph Haschka

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Winged Migration
A beautiful production showing birds in flight and some of the adversities they face on their travels. The making of is also enlightening, although I was left a little unsure of some of the ethics of raising the birds and transporting them via aeroplane to set up scenes for the documentary.

The music is brilliantly composed.
Published 18 months ago by MISS JENNIFER A BRYCE


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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime cinematography, 28 Jan 2006
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars manipulated, but spectacular and educational, 19 Jun 2005
This review is from: Winged Migration [DVD] [2004] [NTSC] (DVD)
Four years of film footage were edited to make this incredible film on the yearly migrations of birds, mostly the large water fowl, from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, with North America, the Amazon and Africa in between.
Facts about the flight patterns are briefly put on the screen, the longest journey followed is that of the Arctic tern, flying 12,500 miles.
The panoramic scenery is spectacular, with a scene of an Arctic avalanche being very memorable. Yes, much of the film is manipulated, but the beauty of it is undeniable, and it's educational in the sense of seeing these birds in action, in their living and mating, and the miracle of their migrations.
Not all of them make it, and it shows how some journeys are cut short by predators, whether shot down, or eaten by a larger creature, or in the case of a tern with a broken wing, getting attacked and devoured by a hoard of crabs.
Some of these depictions are devised to tug on our heart strings, and might not be suitable for young children, like the unfortunate goose that gets stuck in urban sludge, and another bird whose nest is in the path of a threshing machine.
The filmmakers state that the tern and goose were rescued after the scenes was shot, and one assumes that the thresher was hopefully stopped in time.
The brilliantly colored parrots in the Amazon region, and the penguins in Antarctica are unforgettable. The greater sage grouse, with spiked tail in all his glory strutting his stuff in Idaho, and the Northern gannet diving into the Arctic sea, looking more like a missile than a bird are also images that stay in one's mind.
This film was directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, with a crew of fifteen cinematographers, among them Thierry Machado, and it has a lovely peaceful score by Bruno Coulais. Both Machado and Coulais were part of the creative force behind the mesmerizing 1996 "Microcosmos".
The English version is narrated by Philippe Labro, won many awards and was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar. Total running time is 98 minutes.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visual feast, 20 Feb 2004
This review is from: Winged Migration [DVD] [2004] [NTSC] (DVD)
I wondered whether I would be able to sit through a whole film of just birds, but I along with everyone in the cinema was hooked. The fact that there is so little commentary is a real plus, leaving us to watch the birds undistracted by a patronising Attenborough-style factual deluge. Another plus is the incidental yet stunning visual journey - oh there's the Great Wall of China, then on to the Statue of Liberty, now the Antarctic ...
Yes some of the shots are manipulated, but that doesn't detract from the amazing visual feast. It's not overly sentimental, scenes such as the injured bird and the crabs, the goose hunters and penguins apparently standing by why their young are predated are shocking, but the beautiful scenes stick in the mind too. And so few people on shot is another plus - though the scene of the Bulgarian woman feeding returning cranes like old friends is a highlight.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular visuals but needed more verbal context, 14 July 2007
By 
Sean Gainford "Big G" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Winged Migration [DVD] [2004] [NTSC] (DVD)
The film work in this movie is incredible. The best camera work is when you are invited to fly with these incredible birds on their journey across the world - the camera being positioned right at the birds flying formation and you feel like you are taking the journey yourself!

The film is a visual feast and you get to experience the bird's successful migrations and their unfortunate unsuccessful ones - being shot down, hunted by birds of prey, or getting injured. It also puts into perspective our own lives, as we busily migrate back and forth to work everyday, mostly oblivious to our surroundings, while above us and all around us life is thriving and surviving. These magnificent animals soar over our cities, as the film shows beautifully, and we are only little spots to them as they travel thousands of miles with only the flap of their wings. Humankind was once so impressed with these birds, and envious, that we wanted to be like them, so we invented planes. But we still could never match their elegance and magnificence.

The film however does get boring at times, which is usually the case with films that are majority visual and lack narration, taking away depth and educational aspects. The film is less a documentary and more an art film. But it is definitely worth a watch and will give you a different perspective on birds and yourself forever.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty, Mystery, Wonder!, 15 Jan 2004
By 
Philip Collinson "phil_collinson" (South Shields) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Winged Migration [DVD] [2004] [NTSC] (DVD)
This film is one of the most outstanding I have seen to date. The mind-boggling images of birds in flight will leave you wide-eyed and amazed. The camera (which is placed for the majority of the film inside the flock of migrating birds) picks up the awe-inspiring beauty of the terrain they fly over as well as the sheer majesty of birds in flight. This film will never fail to impress as it tracks the birds over many thousands of miles over all the cotenants of the world. That's not all, the film is shot to the backdrop of some of the most beautiful and haunting musical pieces I have ever heard. You will watch this one over and over again.
A true gem that has pushed the boundaries of filmmaking one step further. So let your cursor migrate up to the words 'Add to Basket', you won't regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular documentary, 4 Mar 2010
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English language version of a French film.

On Blu-Ray, this film is stunning to watch, as one spectacular scene follows another for 90 minutes. I wasn't even briefly bored. The low key narration is just right, as are the occasional captions.

Like most documentaries, this film makes use of actors to show events that actually happened. In this case, the actors are hand-reared birds which have been specially trained to fly alongside microlites and paragliders. The birds were shipped, with the filming equipment, to various photogenic locations along typical migration paths. Although this falsifies the claim that "no special effects were used", I think the visual results justify the method - and this is pretty close to what a migrating goose or swan would actually see.

Besides the acted shots, about a quarter of the film is of genuinely wild birds, also very well filmed.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one to keep, 20 Jun 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: Winged Migration [DVD] [2004] [NTSC] (DVD)
stunning scenery,breathtaking filming and a cast of thousands ,all of whom are naturals on screen.feelgood factor high after watching this.buy it .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Winged Migration, 26 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Winged Migration [DVD] [2004] [NTSC] (DVD)
A beautiful production showing birds in flight and some of the adversities they face on their travels. The making of is also enlightening, although I was left a little unsure of some of the ethics of raising the birds and transporting them via aeroplane to set up scenes for the documentary.

The music is brilliantly composed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flying with the birds, 19 Feb 2010
By 
Niels Kabel (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Fantastic movie about birds - if you ever dreamt of flying then you need to see this documentary (yes, I consider it as a documentary even though most of the birds have been raised by humans). Only reason for not giving this documentary 5 stars is that it can seem a bit long with close to 90 minutes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Winged Migration" - spectacular photography, 2 May 2009
The photography in this dvd is truly spectacular. The images of the migrating birds are amazing. The story is somewhat slow, and the narration is quite disappointing, but it is the photography that wins the day. If you are interested in the life of birds this is a fascinating series of images.

Recommended.
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Winged Migration [DVD] [2004] [NTSC]
Winged Migration [DVD] [2004] [NTSC] by Michel Debats (DVD - 2004)
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