×

Flight of the Butterflies

Phenomenal 3D Imax visuals more than compensate for prosaic storytelling in "Flight of the Butterflies," an unabashedly old-fashioned nature docu best suited to museums and similar non-theatrical venues.

With:
With: Gordon Pinsent, Shaun Benson, Patricia Phillips, Sofia Sisniega, Stephanie Sigman. Narrator: Megan Follows.

Phenomenal 3D Imax visuals more than compensate for prosaic storytelling in “Flight of the Butterflies,” an unabashedly old-fashioned nature docu best suited to museums and similar non-theatrical venues. Borrowing a page from the “March of the Penguins” playbook, helmer Mike Slee neatly balances entertainment and education in a 44-minute pic bound to fascinate schoolchildren on field trips and please family auds during weekend outings.

Slee and co-scripter Wendy MacKeigan follow the life cycle of a monarch butterfly — from caterpillar to chrysalis to adult insect — and its long-distance migration from Canada to Central Mexico. Intertwined with this narrative is a borderline-reverential account of Canadian scientist Fred Urquhart (Gordon Pinsent), who devoted nearly 40 years to tracing the monarch migration route. Despite Pinsent’s affecting earnestness, however, highlights from Urquhart’s life and research come off like stately, self-conscious dramatic re-enactments in a lesser cable-TV nonfiction series. “Flight of the Butterflies” is much more effective when it dazzles with literally larger-than-life spectacle, unleashing hundreds of 3D butterflies that appear to hover just inches away from viewers, or focusing on a single monarch that, in giant-screen closeup, resembles Mothra bearing down on Tokyo.

Flight of the Butterflies

Canada-Mexico-U.K.

Production: An SK Films release and production in association with Sin Sentido Films and Picture Projects. Produced by Jonathan Barker, Mike Slee, Rafael Cuervo. Executive producer, Jonathan Barker. Co-executive producers, Wendy MacKeigan, Maria Elena Gutierrez. Directed by Mike Slee. Written by Slee, Wendy MacKeigan.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color, Imax 3D), Paul Williams, Simon De Glanville; editor, Susan Shipton; production designer, Sandra Kybartas; sound, Peter Thillaye; macro photography systems designer, Peter Parks; visual effects supervisor, Chris Panton. Reviewed at Houston Museum of Natural Science, Oct. 6, 2012. Running time: 44 MIN.

With: With: Gordon Pinsent, Shaun Benson, Patricia Phillips, Sofia Sisniega, Stephanie Sigman. Narrator: Megan Follows.

More Film

  • Durban Film Festival 2019 / Copyright

    South African Creatives Grapple Over Copyright Amendment Bill

    DURBAN–The South African government is planning to update its four-decade-old copyright legislation, but what that means for filmmakers was up for debate during a contentious and often heated session at the Durban FilmMart this week. While the Copyright Amendment Bill awaits the signature of President Cyril Ramaphosa, industry stakeholders remain divided over how the proposed [...]

  • 'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office

    'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office With Dazzling Debut at $180 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” has jolted the North American box office back to life with an opening weekend in the $180 million range, estimates showed Saturday. “The Lion King” will record the second-best opening of 2019 — and could replace “Incredibles 2,” which launched last year with $182.7 million, as the ninth biggest North American [...]

  • 'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in

    'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in Hospital After Stabbing

    Hugely popular Hong Kong actor, Simon Yam was stabbed while on stage Saturday at a presentation in Zhongshan, Guangdong province in southern China. He is in hospital recovering. The incident happened at the opening of a branch of the Beijing Easyhome building materials company, where Yam was a guest. A man was seen rushing on [...]

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]

  • TSOM-MASK

    Director Sara Gouveia on ‘Looking At Resilience Through Art’

    DURBAN–The Mapiko dance of Mozambique’s indigenous Makonde people was long used as a tool for social commentary. But during the colonial era it became an act of political resistance, prompting the Portuguese to stamp it out during Mozambique’s 10-year war for independence. Decades later, the art has been revived as a celebration of freedom. For [...]

  • Don Edkins

    Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

    DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa. The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content