For earthbound humans, Winged Migration is as close as any of us will get to sharing the sky with our fine feathered friends. It’s as if French director Jacques Perrin and his international crew of dedicated filmmakers had been given a full-access pass by Mother Nature herself, with the complete “cooperation” of countless species of migrating birds, all answering to eons of migratory instinct.
The film is utterly simple in purpose, with minimal narration and on-screen titles to identify the wondrous varieties of flying wildlife, but its visceral effect is humbling, awesome and magnificently profound. Technically, Perrin surpasses the achievement of his earlier film Microcosmos (which did for insects what this film does for birds), and apart from a few digital skyscapes for poetic effect, this astonishing film uses no special effects whatsoever, with soaring, seemingly miraculous camera work that blesses the viewer with, quite literally, a bird’s-eye view. A brief but important hunting scene may upset sensitive viewers and children, but doesn’t stop Winged Migration from being essential all-ages viewing.