Great thanks to Ryan P. Wilson, Editor-in-Chief at the amazing resource that is the Main Street Gazette. I have written before about how much I love his site and am honored to have him writing a couple of guest posts here at ZannaLand. Please welcome him and enjoy his inspiring review of Disneynature’s The Crimson Wing —
Documentaries seek to tell a story, for nature documentaries that story is even more critical to advancing the story and the cause of the natural world presented within the film’s frames. The third release from Disneynature, and the first not shown on the big screen in the United States, is perfectly aware that the story is what resonates with audiences.
The Crimson Wing follows the life cycle of flamingos in Central Africa. From the journeys that bring these creatures hundreds and thousands of miles to salt saturated Lake Natron to mate in a sea of ruby feathers to the birth, hardships, and flight of fledgling flamingos, The Crimson Wing is awash with intriguing questions and relatable lessons of life. In most animal documentaries the individuals the film focuses upon are given names to assist in connecting the audience with the creature. While a single flamingo is central to the tale, no names are given in The Crimson Wing, a welcome sign that the filmmakers respect the intelligence of those viewing the narrative in front of them.
Frame for frame, I would have to say that The Crimson Wing is one of the most beautiful features ever shot. The scarlet mirror that is Lake Natron, flamingos flying across the moon and storm clouds, a single chick being encouraged to break free of its shell, red stains on a salt island, and even our heroine streaking across the top of the water and lifting off into the sky are only a few of the astounding images captured to convey the remarkable tale. The film also features the melodious narration of Mariella Frostrup, one of three women voices considered almost perfect by a study from Post Office Telecoms.
Because of the longstanding tradition of nature films associated with the Disney name, the films from Disneynature have often been compared, rightly or wrongly, to Walt Disney’s True Life Adventures. While the stories of both Earth and Oceans, Disneynature’s two previous releases, have found their own paths to tug at viewers heartstrings their expansive subject matter cannot dedicate enough screen time to the individual chapters. The Crimson Wing, with its dedicated subject matter, most accurately resembles the True Life Adventures. The narrative features an exotic locale, an unheralded but recognizable lead creature, triumph, heartbreak, and mysteries stemming from both the flamingos and their birthplace.
In its opening, The Crimson Wing relates the thread that ties flamingos to the myth of the phoenix. In a similar fashion, The Crimson Wing burns brightly with all the elements needed to make a nature documentaries rise from the ashes. While not a movie for every viewer, The Crimson Wing is a remarkable show that reminds me of features I watched as a child with my parents, making it a perfect addition for nature loving families of this generation.
You can check out a trailer and clips of The Crimson Wing, which is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD and movie download. Ryan will be back soon with a review of Disneynature’s Oceans, so be sure to stay tuned.