A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in addition to the portrayal of the flamingos' inspiring way of life in a challenging environment, there are potentially frightening and sad scenes that show the predatory nature of the birds' enemies (storks, mongeese, etc.). In three separate sequences baby chicks are stalked, chased, and killed. On other occasions, the terrain itself victimizes the young birds and some are left behind to die. This is not a light-hearted or humorous look at one of nature's creatures, but a serious, earnest study that patient kids interested in nature will enjoy.
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What's the story?
Every year during a short period of heavy rains, a vast number of flamingos return to Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania to find a partner, reproduce, and raise their chicks until they're ready to fly away again. All the flamingos that live in Eastern Africa are born in this one place. Despite the soaring temperatures, harsh terrain, and presence of predators, the birds endure as their babies develop, then leave en masse, scattering over the continent until tthe next heavy rains lead them back again. Disneynature has captured the odyssey, the stark beauty of the lake, its salt island, and the miraculous mating rituals and survival techniques of one of the planet's most beautiful creatures.
Is it any good?
The pace and understated narration of this film may not hold the interest of the youngest kids, but the visual beauty should delight older children and adults. Flamingos are elegant, graceful birds; their yearly adventure is wondrous and set in a unique, rarely seen environment. In keeping with the nature of their subject, the filmmakers have captured the story in an elegant, graceful way. However, unlike the beloved documentary March of the Penguins, with its amusing birds and Morgan Freeman's clever voice-over, this film is serious, unhurried, and devoid of humor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how flamingos and people are alike. How did the members of each flamingo family behave toward one another? Do you see similarities between their relationships and our human ones? How do humans affect the lives of flamingos?
Nature can be cruel as well as miraculous. How can science and understanding help us accept that reality?
Given the high temperatures (up to 130 degrees F), the heavy rains, and the massive islands of salt, the making of this film must have been very difficult. Can you imagine how the filmmakers prepared for and then accomplished their work? Would you like to be involved in a filmmaking process like this?
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