Disneynature steers their attention to the fascinating lesser Flamingo and their start in life at Lake Natron in Tanzania with its newest documentary The Crimson Wings: Mystery of the Flamingos.
Film making 23/25
Bonus Features 18/25
Disneynature brings us the amazing world of the lesser Flamingo and its start in life at Lake Natron in Tanzania, the algae filled salt lake that turns the Flamingoes a bright pink. The Crimson Mystery refers to the birth, life and death of flamingos and the fact that crews have had such little success at filming them in the past.
The documentary starts with the flamingos returning to begin their birth cycle of the flock with some mating while the flamingoes gorge themselves on the algae in the salt water of the lake. The high salt content of the lake is the only place this type of algae lives and also with the high salt content a strange cycle begins.
The flamingos arrive at the lake right when the rainy season begins and the flamingos begin their feasting and mating to begin the life cycle anew. When the lakes water starts to evaporate the salt deposits mount and coat the entire new lake bed and just about everything else.
This salt causes problems of its own to the flamingos as it coats their legs and sticks to some but not all the flamingos. The flamingos also use the salt for their nest as they build a place for their newborns to spend the beginning of their lives.
The first part of the documentary follows the hatching and perils of the chicks as they strive to make it in the harsh environment against not only the heat but the predators. One chick losses her parents and is left behind when the flock of young flamingos moves on to new grounds encouraged by their parents.
This young flamingo struggles against the odds of not having any parents and evades the storks and vultures that eat a good percentage of the new chicks. The rest of documentary follows the single chick as she grows into adulthood and the group she ends up being a part of.
While the film may be part documentary and part March of the Penguins with a hint of other films it does a great job just like Oceans at bringing the subject to your living room. Unlike Oceans, The Crimson Wing does have its slower moments without much narration at all with scenes of dramatic effect looking at the flocks or the environment.
Video for The Crimson Wing is about as you would expect for a Disneynature film with a great transfer to Blu-ray that worked out very well. Color is striking and the video is so good with scenes like the heat shimmering on the salt flats of Tanzania highlighting the great shots.
Detail down to the feathers on birds in close up is fantastic and so crisp, the whole documentary gives you wonderful detail in high definition. Audio is also very well done in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound and you can hear everything in clear detail.
While surround is not that big a thing here you do get to hear everything in great detail which is amazing for many of the shots as you cannot see anyone even near the hordes of birds. Audio is clear and distinct but surround is lacking a bit but you can understand this when they were obviously using some kind of sound technology to get close to the subjects.
Bonus features for the documentary include a making of feature, the interactive map on the main title, filmmakers annotations and a screen saver. The bonus content is pretty good but a bit lacking in full content with a good picture in picture track from filmmakers Matthew Aeberhard and Leander Ward.
The making of feature titled “Lake Natron Diaries: Behind The Crimson Wing” is a great 20 minute addition to the film in five parts that really adds to the information. Additional content adds a good amount to the feature film/documentary but I would like to see at least the same amount of bonus content as the films length.
The Crimson Wing is a great documentary and well worth a look as a great educational experience featuring the mystery behind the lesser flamingo, their birth and upbringing. Disneynature is off to a great start with Oceans and The Crimson Wing, both of which are fantastic and must have nature documentaries.