on 16 October 2012
My original review of this Bluray production was objected to by the director, Timo Mayer, who wanted it removed, because I mistakenly alluded to a recent NOVA production, in which I wrongly suggested that this was a cut down version of the NOVA DVD.
It isn't! NOVA need lose no sleep over any semblance of competition in the field of nature presentations, if this effort by Timo Mayer is anything to go by. By comparison, the NOVA production is in the realm of Oscar territory - whereas this is about as inspiring as a public health information television broadcast. Dreary, is being generous...
Commentator, Herr Doctor Michael Boppre has all the charisma of a funeral director, with a set pained and seemingly bored expression on his face as he appears throughout the programme. During which he delivers a stream of unsmiling, dry facts and statistics, without moving from his desk. I could visualise his student's falling asleep at his lectures after 10 minutes of his dull monotone voice. This dirge is interspersed with what appears to be stock footage of the Monarch fluttering about in forests, flying through trees or fields, or hanging off trees by the thousand, most of the time. I would be surprised if any classical planning or on site filming was done during the cobbling together of this dull-as-ditchwater documentary. There is little shot variation.
The animated diagrams of migration, etc., are at the level of primary school illustrations.
There appears to be no attempt to emotionally involve the audience. To cap it all, one has to listen to what must be the most hackneyed piece of classical music, wailing its way all through the monotonous 40 minute production - Vivaldi's 'Rite of Spring' (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).
This pitiable, 2 dimensional (why bother with the gimmick of 3D in this case) sleepwalking effort is what I would call a 'Documentary for Zombies'.
Finally, a "SAVE THE PLANET" message was the parting shot, from a director who should be shot twice: once for incompetence, and again for boring his audience to death with a zero-budget, pale imitation of what could have been a captivating and enthralling subject. A missed opportunity, from a seemingly unintelligent and uninspiring director - in this instance.
David Attenborough and the BBC, and NOVA, can rest easy with this one.
POST SCRIPT: If you want to see a really stunning treatment of this enthralling, heroic little insect, watch SK Films 'Flight of the Butterflies' by director Mike Slee when it's released in your area. This uplifting film shows what intensely heart moving results can be projected onto a screen with a meagre $3 million budget. By comparison with the plodding production above, it is an inspiration to passionate creators of movie magic everywhere - and its little person audience. Soon available hopefully in the UK as an IMAX 3D presentation..! The feeble effort reviewed above seems to be riding on its coat tails, as a weak "me too".