Now we get our next entry in the Disneynature Canon and it is all about those bugs you swat away or are afraid might sting you. It is called Wings of Life and it is mostly focused on butterflies and bees.
I must admit to being a little disappointed in this film. I went into it with high hopes because I find the subject of bees and the bee crisis to be very interesting. I don’t know if this just is too old (released in 2011 so not that long ago…) or they didn’t think kids would like that kind of discussion but it is sorely missed.
The movie is narrated by Merly Streep and she is good but it is told from the point of view of the flowers which is a little ridiculous and there just isn’t that much personality in a flower or a bee. Animals from the ocean, monkeys, or flamingos have way more expression in their faces and you can get more of a narrative.
In Wings of Life you get a lot of time lapse photography showing the flowers opening up and its ok but I grew a little tired of it after a while. The cinematography is beautiful and I did learn a little bit but it could have been a lot more informative. Maybe part is the problem is it is only insects where the other documentaries I’ve seen on the bee crisis has had experts talking about the problem. That would have been more interesting to me. It’s also too long. Insects don’t have a 77 minute draw, at least for me. An insects life is pretty simple- pollinate, mate, protect and die. It’s not that compelling for 77 minutes. Plus, insects up close and personal are kind of gross looking. Not all cute and adorable like a monkey or a baby flamingo.
The two best segments are about the bats in the dessert which get nectar from cactus blossoms and the Monarch butterflies and their migration. I wish the whole movie had been about the journey of the butterflies. That might have been interesting.
As it is, it is kind of slow and I lost interest. It’s the first of these Disneynature that felt like an old school dry nature documentary. No personality. No pizazz. No real narrative It has some pretty images but I would just look at those online and watch Flamingos instead. That one is still the best of the best.
Plus, I thought the narration from the point of view of the flowers was a little strange and I couldn’t get into it.
Wings of Life tries to send a message about gardening and planting flowers but it is a little too late. I think kids will have already disengage by then and it isn’t any new information for adults so they will be bored.
Overall Grade- C-