Thursday, 10 June 2010

Blu-ray Review: Crimson Wing - Mystery of the Flamingos

Continuing from Earth, Disneynature dazzles once more with their second feature, displaying the vigorous, entrancing and rather inscrutable creatures known as the flamingo in Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos.

The documentary follows a flock of flamingos through their life cycle. Spanning over the one year, we're subjected to birth, death and the problematic situations the birds face between seasonal changes and their strangely absorbing habits.

Earnestly narrated by Mariella Frostrup, the year spent with the animals is eye-opening. Introduced instantly to the birds and their harsh surroundings, a bond is immediately made. Flying in unison, the flamingos highlight a certain poignancy which can only be accomplished by such graceful birds. Their vibrant colours fusing together in a flock, or clashing with the water, sky or sand is emphasised by the always-impressive photography, capturing some of the most uniquely shot and downright bewitching images.

Somewhat comedically, they move in an almost choreographed group in the water, traipsing like a pack of snobs from an earlier century, resembling that of a humerous stage show - which always provides as light entertainment in the always-so-serious life of nature. They flap their wings to certify their presence in the company of another, attempting to gain partnership - unarguably similar to humankind, then.

The fascinating birds stand strong through the trials and tribulations of their lives, but continue with the natural progress of parenthood. Intimately shot, we're shown the first few hours of a youngun's life which truly captivates and moves, with a glorifying sense of accomplishment when their first steps are taken.

Sadly, what culminates in something so angelic is broken within minutes in the wild. The insatiable marabu, looking almost identical to an ugly witch, stalk and hunt the young which is upsetting and simply heartbreaking. Still, the marabu are one of many problems the flamingo (and every other animal in the wild) will face. The dramatic, and desolate, Lake Natron in northern Tanzania which the birds flee too is becoming increasingly more dangerous due to pollution. It's only a matter of years before the landscape becomes unstable, and entirely inhospitable for the gracious creatures. However, resilient and unicent, they go on.

The music - elegantly pieced together by The Cinematic Orchestra - stands as a partial character. Shaping emotion with its delicately constructed and beautifully played melodies and aiding, side-by-side, the one-of-a-kind visuals which are sure to astound. The documentary stands as a cinematic spectacle - something which Disneynature are continuously producing.

The team behind Disneynature are professionals. Capturing countless footage dealing with and boasting the lives of these effervescent but mysterious creatures is a joyous insight. Whilst downgrading from a collection of varied animals (in Earth) to one species, Crimson Wing is equally as effective. With feathers burning crimson like the Phoenix, they maintain a mystical presence throughout the film which allures and entices throughout its short, but necessary, duration. A undoubtedly engrossing experience.


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