The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Audio Descriptive 2.0, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Latin American)
- Region: A
- Rating: G
- Discs: 2 (1 Blu-ray + 1 DVD)
- Studio: Walt Disney Video
- Blu-ray Release Date: October 19, 2010
- List Price: $39.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos takes a look at the lives of crimson-winged flamingos on Lake Naruto in northern Tanzania. It’s a fascinating tale of nature that unfolds over the course of a year told through excellent nature cinematography and the studied narration of Zabou Breiman.
The film uses the tale of one particular flamingo chick, and shows its birth, growth and struggle to survive over the course of the year set against the backdrop of the millions of birds doing the same in the not always welcoming terrain. One of the more particularly harrowing bits of the film is when one chick is shown struggling to catch up to the flock as they move on from the salt island in the middle of the lake to land, only to fall farther behind, weighted down by salt shackles formed around its legs. The shackles form around the legs of some of the more unfortunate chicks as they wade in and out of the salty water, and they become a death sentence.
The narration of The Crimson Wing suffers from being a bit too mystical rather than scientific, relying on the mystical aspects of the flamingos and their “life force” rather than imparting any biological or factual information but this is a DisneyNature documentary after all. It’s mostly aimed at families and younger audiences. Keeping all of that in mind will help this splendidly filmed and well intentioned film go down quite nicely.
Apart from some occasional softness and a little bit of inconsistency in grain levels, Crimson Wing looks very good, with vibrant color reproduction, strong details, and no distracting artifacts in its 1.85:1 framed AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encoding from Disney.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack has a wide soundstage and the surrounds channels are effectively used to engulf the listener in the sounds of the natural world. Low frequencies are deep, but not booming, and the film’s score has a lot of breath and air.
Crimson Wing is provided with the usual bit of DisneyNature supplements, including the interactive Living Menu (or Living Planet as it is referred to here), which is still fun to play around with.
The supplements provided on this release are:
- Living Planet — Interactive menu, updated monthly, that allows you to access “hot spots” across the globe and learn more about the film and the planet through filmmaker annotations and video clips.
- Filmmaker Annotations — Picture-in-picture filmmaker commentary.
- Lake Natron Diaries: Behind The Crimson Wing (1.33:1; upscaled 1080p/24) — This series of behind-the-scenes documentaries, created by the filmmakers, gives an inside look at what it took to film at Lake Natron and create The Crimson Wing:
- Life at Camp
- Life of the Flamingo
- Making Of
- Lake Natron
- The Crimson Wing Screen Saver (1.85:1; 1080p/24) — A montage of images from Lake Natron and The Crimson Wing
- DVD — Standard definition DVD release of The Crimson Wing included in the Combo Pack
The Definitive Word
The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos is released to stores shelves alongside the DisneyNature documentary Oceans. While the latter offers more visual variety, they are both visually pleasing and easy family entertainment. Don’t look for too much in depth educational value here and you’ll be okay.
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