From Disneynature, the studio that brought Earth and Oceans to the theaters, has returned to bring The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos directly onto BLU-RAY and DVD disc for American audiences on October 19, 2010 (the film was released last year in the United Kingdom). The Crimson Wing, as the title suggests, tells the story of the crimson-winged flamingos in a remote area of Northern Tanzania: Lake Natron, a toxic lake that is a character in itself, changing throughout the seasons. This lake is filled with such a high concentration of salt that hardly anything can exist in these waters; but once a year like clock-work during the rainy season, the flamingos fly in by the millions to perform their mating ritual, lay eggs, and raise their chicks... all in this shallow body of salt-filled waters.
The 78 minute feature offers viewers a stunning display of photography captured in an area of Africa rarely seen and for that, it is a real marvel. The story of these flamingos is also not well known. The narration by Mariella Frostrub, dubbed one of the sexiest voices on TV, may work for UK audiences but tends to be dry and not very engaging for me personally. This being a Disneynature film also spares us many facts and allow you to focus on the story of the animals instead. Whether that is your cup of tea or not, may change your opinion on this film.
The subject matter of the film being about flamingos does have its disadvantages and the fact that the entire film revolves around this singular topic doesn't make it easier. Disneynature's previous releases Earth as well as Oceans were very broad subjects that encompassed all types of locations and/or animals... almost moving too quickly. The Crimson Wing by contrast almost moves too slowly and shares a very similar story with the successful March of the Penguins.
While watching The Crimson Wing, I felt that I wanted more information, more facts, and because the setting was a world I'm not well versed in, the long silences between the narration was trying. Fortunately for us, we get this on Blu-ray and the bonus features fill in that void. Included in the bonus features is a series of featurettes titled Lake Natron Diaries: Behind The Crimson Wing. These mini documentaries really help you understand what it went into making this film and how important it really was. While watching the film, you can also activate Filmmaker Annotations, a cine-explore feature which offers pop up facts as well as picture-in-picture dialogue with the filmmakers about the production of the film. There's also a Living Planet bonus feature that allows you to hop around the planet with facts and videos on animal migration and other wildlife.
The Blu-ray edition also comes with 2nd disc which is the standard DVD with feature film as well as the Lake Natron Diaries: Behind The Crimson Wing bonus.
The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos is rated G, suitable for the entire family and can be found on October 19, 2010 wherever DVD and Blu-ray are sold.