Jacques Perrin

 Jacques Perrin
Much like how Microcosmos showed us the world of insects, Winged Migration takes a cinematic look at a variety of birds using the most unbelievably breathtaking camera techniques. What separates this film from any other bird study is the film crew's ability to literally fly alongside the birds as they make the incredible trek across the world during their migration. The footage speaks for itself, as jaw-dropping visuals increase in magnificence as a crew of almost 500 people follow these feathered warriors through every element imaginable, capturing everything from humour to suspense to tragedy. With subject matter such as this and numerous moments where you simply must know how this group of filmmakers were able to document such incredible moments, the most important thing this disc can offer is a "making of" documentary. Luckily we get one, and it's a hefty hour in length but leaves you wanting so much more. Narrated with a horrible American approach, we do see the techniques and devices used to create Winged Migration, but with little interaction from the French filmmakers we're left to just watch as events unfold, rather than feel as though we're a part of the team. A few secrets are unwrapped in the documentary, such as the fact that many of these birds were born and raised by the crew, which they call "imprinting," allowing them to build the bird's trust so they see anyone sporting a designated yellow jacket as being a mother. This was the key to allow camera operators to sail in gliders or hot air balloons with their own flock flying right with them. Another tidbit of information that is divulged is the fact that many of the storylines were very-much planned and staged in order to create the perfect shot. Given that birds are not actors and the crew can only recreate so much allows us to not be terribly bothered by the fact that what we saw wasn't always truthful, but you can't help but feel a little bit of the magic is lost because of this approach. Plus: director's commentary, photo gallery, filmmaker interviews, film score featurette. (Sony/Columbia TriStar)