A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Like all of Disneynature's documentaries, this one will teach children about why flowers are so important to the global eco-system, and why four special pollinators are crucial to the environment: birds, bees, butterflies, and bats. The movie takes us from the desert to the rainforest to the fields of the Midwest. Each pollinator's journey is outlined as is the specific ways the flowers attract their special pollinator. Disney also created an educator guide to go with the doc: www.disney.com/wingsoflife
The documentary encourages viewers to help pollinators by planting seeds in window boxes or joining a community garden or merely taking an active interest in the flowers in your own backyard. It also explains how interconnected all of nature is, and how frightening the unexplained vanishing of the bees is for the future of pollination.
Positive Role Models
Not really a "role models" story, but the call to action at the end may spark interest in gardening and protecting the pollination cycle.
Violence & Scariness
In one scene a spider's web catches a few insects who get stuck, and another scene shows a few hummingbirds vying for the same flower start pecking at each other.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussion of "love connections" betwen the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Disneynature's Earth Day-timed documentary Wings of Life explains the importance of flowers and the earth's greatest pollinators: bees, birds, bats, and butterflies. Narrated by Meryl Streep, the documentary follows the journey of these pollinators, some of whom travel amazing distances to pollinate a very specific flower. There is a teensy bit of wildlife violence (a spider web traps prey, and a few birds fight for the claim on a particular flower), but otherwise nature-loving young viewers will enjoy a look at nature's unsung heroes, and teachers can use the Disney-created educator guide as a tool alongside the feature. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Like most nature documentaries, this film is visually spectacular. The cinematography captures in breathtaking detail the ways pollinators and their colorful host flowers interact. It shows pregnant and nursing bats drink luscious red cactus fruit in slow motion, and an orchid bee getting trapped in a bucket orchid with perfect precision until the exotic flower's pollen sacks have been attached. Even basic closeups of Monarch butterflies or hungry hummingbirds are startlingly beautiful.
Each coupling between a pollinator and its flower is what Streep's narration calls a "love connection," and the documentary beautifully conveys how the partnership of pollination is pivotal to the environment. However beautiful the visuals, younger kids may lose interest, because the dramatic tension isn't as compelling in this story as it is in other documentaries like African Cats or March of the Penguins, where there are several life-or-death scenarios. Still, you'll never look at a flower quite the same way again after seeing the process of pollination up close and personal in Wings of Life.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.