Winged Migration

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 41 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. K.M.
    May 12, 2003
    5
    This film has many moments of truly stunning camera work. Nobody can deny this whatsoever. But it is curious to me why this documentary has been packaged up and, ultimately, so well received by the art house cinema goers. Why this and why now? The birds-in-flight sequences are certainly wowing, undeniably, but there have been years of worthy footage shot by unsung or ignored This film has many moments of truly stunning camera work. Nobody can deny this whatsoever. But it is curious to me why this documentary has been packaged up and, ultimately, so well received by the art house cinema goers. Why this and why now? The birds-in-flight sequences are certainly wowing, undeniably, but there have been years of worthy footage shot by unsung or ignored documentarists. This film tries to be too much. It would be a soaring success if left to its true intent as a beautifully shot documentation of migratory birds (but, um, neither Golden Eagles nor Snowy Owls fall into that category folks). Instead, the film is also used as a stage to sneak in a few morality jabs. They come across as completely contrived and nowhere near as arresting as those explored in the QATSI series or Baraka. With the exception of the Eastern European factory complex sequence (which I think is well done), the leaky truck, the combines, and the jailbird parrot scenes devolve their ultimate intent to mere hokiness. It comes across as way too staged, plain and simply. Another weakness is that the film relies on the aw-how-cute-look-at-the-fuzzy-chicks syndrome. I'll grant that this is terribly hard to avoid as far as educating a global audience out of their ingrained anthropomorphic emotions and in to notions that even majestic creatures are a natural food source. Not a single person in the audience peeped when fish or frogs were captured and eaten. Quite the antithesis when a group of crabs closes in on a wounded bird. But perhaps the cheapest shot mixed up in this documentary are the few political jabs taken by the creators. Again, with the exception of the one sequence in Eastern Europe, all the man-made dangers migratory birds encounter happen to be conveniently in America. Then you have the requisite hunting scenes, referred to in the credits as "all taking place in North America where it happens daily". That's not false, but it's recklessly only a fraction of the truth. As if nobody hunts birds anywhere else on the planet? The narrative is inane and completely superfluous; detracting the splendid visuals with an odd throwback to elementary school educational filmstrips. And the music is plain awfull. The drek of new age. This could have been outstanding. But it's far from. Expand
  2. ChadS.
    Jul 24, 2003
    6
    Some viewers may wish the filmmakers saved that injured bird from the sandcrabs. They can't hide behind the documentary filmmaking tenet of remaining objective because that parrot jailbreak looks staged. The penguin sequence is problematic too. After a penguin baby is killed, we see its guts all over the scavenger bird's body. The next shot is of a penguin, presumably its Some viewers may wish the filmmakers saved that injured bird from the sandcrabs. They can't hide behind the documentary filmmaking tenet of remaining objective because that parrot jailbreak looks staged. The penguin sequence is problematic too. After a penguin baby is killed, we see its guts all over the scavenger bird's body. The next shot is of a penguin, presumably its mother, looking up at the sky as if in anguish. We don't know for sure if this bird is reacting to the murder. It feels a little manipulative. Granted, the proximity the filmmakers got to these feather machines is astonishing, but you sort of wish there were some long takes of a bird in flight so the viewer could really experience the vicarious miracle of being airborne. And no way should "Winged Migration" be rated G. Bambi's mother was animated. Expand
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. 90
    Birds are not just the movie's stars, but its whole universe. They inspire in Perrin and his crew, and in us, not just awe but humility. You'll never look at them the same way again.
  2. The results are exhilarating, thrilling, and extend the wingspan.
  3. As moving wallpaper, Winged Migration is the cat’s meow: One almost wishes the wondrous images had been filmed in the even bigger IMAX format. But as an informative documentary, Winged Migration’s birdbrain comes to the fore.