Review: “Flight of the Butterflies” a MUST SEE!

Whether or not you are familiar with the amazing story of the Monarch Butterfly and its super-generation that migrates from Canada to Mexico, the factual story of how this migration was discovered and proven should enthrall the most jaded documentary movie goer.  But best of all, in this giant screen IMAX production, currently being shown on the 90-foot wide screen at the California Science Center in Exposition Park, the 3-D is some of the most viscerally satisfying ever seen, with liberal and intimate use of negative space.  The 3-D stereography and editing usually brings close ups of people into a realistic proximity that makes you feel seated right across from real people, not as though you were observing some giant face with flattened 3-D at screen distance.  Of course, the macro shots on a screen this big have to be handled with reduced interaxial and some caution with the depth from front to back, but for the most part the stereographer(s) seemed to handle problems like this with exemplary skills.

One shot, clearly a computer generated image (CGI), is a spectacular close-up view of a single Monarch in flight, which stretches clear across the huge screen from the extreme left to the extreme right.  IMHO, this memorable view is in itself worth the entire price of admission. However, many of the scenes done live are equally memorable, especially at the end, where the discovery is movingly made of the Monarchs’ migratory destination in Mexico.  Naturally, throughout the movie we are treated often tobutterflies flying to within a 2 feet or less of our faces without any eyestrain that I could detect.

Major Studio and Indie 3-D producers, directors, cinematographers, editors, and stereo advisers – PLEASE go see this film and see what you have been missing in most of your conservatively filmed productions and conversions to date.  ”Flight of the Butterflies” exemplifies what we 3-D “old timers” have been yearning to see in 3-D movies for years largely in vain!  There is no reason why commercial theatrical releases for smaller screens couldn’t use the same techniques by more liberal use of the floating window to avoid window violations at the sides on significantly negative-space shots.  You simply keep the infinity points (or greatest distance points) reasonably close together on screen and let the foreground come into negative space like the IMAX 3-D does, then pull the floating window out into the audience as well.  If you keep the movement of objects into the negative space slow enough, as IMAX seems to do most of the time, you avoid the unpleasant and gimmicky “stereo shock” dreaded by many 3-D movie makers who seem reluctant to use negative space in their 3-D productions.

Bottom line:  GO SEE THIS OUTSTANDING 5-STAR FILM!  You’ll be glad you did!

FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES website

CALIFORNIA SCIENCE CENTER website

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