WINGS OF LIFE (DVD)

The latest entry in the Disneynature documentary series focuses on the relationship between plants and winged creatures – birds, bats and insects. The animals see the plants as their source of nutrition while the plants pollinate via the eat-and-fly diners.

Director Louie Schwartzberg brings his camera into extraordinary close range to capture this intricate interaction. Many of the sequences are featured here use a variety of high-tech enhancements (including slow-motion cinematography and dramatic lighting) to enhance the dramatic impact of the subject. While some purists may quibble over this, it is hard to argue with the results – especially in the stunning sequence of nectar-feeding bats feeding in flight while their translucent wings seem to glow in the desert twilight.

Meryl Streep provides a somewhat fey narration from the perspective of the plants that are pollinating. Yes, it is a bit peculiar to hear the triple-Oscar-winner calmly state “I am a flower,” but this strange set-up quickly clicks as Streep explains the floral-animal relationship. Still, the narration is certainly a lot less intrusive than some of the clunky/jokey running commentary in earlier Disneynature films (probably the weakest link of this ongoing endeavor).

But unlike the other Disneynature Blu-ray/DVD releases, this presentation comes without a behind-the-scenes look at how the documentary was produced – although a sneak peek of the next Disneynature offering, “Bears,” is offered.

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