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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Disneynature: Wings of Life

May 16th, 2013

Disneynature: Wings of Life - Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray Combo Pack or Video on Demand

The latest film in the Disneynature line is Wings of Life. However, unlike Earth or Oceans or most of the rest, this one didn't get a big theatrical release, but instead came out direct-to-DVD. Is there a reason it wasn't released in theaters?

The Movie

Like most of the rest of the series, this film doesn't have a real plot to describe. The movie looks at four locations where flowers play an important part in the ecosystem. There's a rainforest where orchids and other flowers are pollinated by bees and hummingbirds. We look in on a desert where bats first pollinate the flowers of cacti before returning to eat the fruit. We see the long journey of the Monarch butterfly. And finally we see bumblebees pollinate the food we depend on. We see all of this while Meryl Streep narrates in the character of a flower.

Most of the film is either time lapse photography, mostly of flowers blooming, or high speed footage slowed down so we can see individual wing beats of a hummingbird. This is not the most cinematic subject around, so it should come as no surprise that it wasn't released in theaters. The voiceover is also a little too mellow for theaters. It's relaxing to the point where it could be used as a sleep aid. There are some really fascinating scenes, including two hummingbirds fighting over feeding ground, with one nearly falling prey to a spider. There are also a few scenes of monarch butterflies traveling by the millions. As they point out, there are so many of them that they bend the tree branches they are on. On the other hand, there are too many scenes that feel repetitive. How many times do we need to see a flower bloom in time-lapse? We do learn a few things about flowers and pollinators, but not enough to be a truly educational experience.

Overall, Wings of Life isn't a bad movie, but it doesn't live up to previous films in this series. I think Bears will be a much better movie.

The Extras

There are no extras on the Blu-ray. On the other hand, the technical presentation is amazing. The video is reference level quality. There were really no issues that I noticed in the video. The level of details is stunning with colors that are incredibly vivid. The blacks are inky deep without swallowing any of the details. There were compression issues or digital artifacts that I noticed. The audio is great, especially for a documentary, but there is not as much activity in the surround sound speakers as there would be in a action blockbuster, for instance. It is praise-worthy, but not among the best out there.

The Verdict

Disneynature: Wings of Life is worth checking out if you are a fan of these nature documentaries; however, it doesn't have the replay value that the previous installments had. Add in the lack of extras on the Blu-ray Combo Pack and perhaps Video on Demand is a better option.

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Filed under: Video Review, Wings of Life, Meryl Streep