Disney's Disneynature Series
The Crimson Wing (November 1/10)
From Disneynature comes this well-intentioned yet hopelessly underwhelming documentary revolving around the many flamingos that reside in and around Tanzania's Lake Natron, with a specific emphasis on the creatures' perilous journey from their home territory to a destination of unknown origin. Filmmakers Matthew Aeberhard and Leander Ward have infused The Crimson Wing with an impressively cinematic sensibility that proves instrumental in initially capturing the viewer's interest, with the breathtaking visuals and majestic score undoubtedly heightening the inherently fascinating nature of the flamingos' day-to-day exploits (which includes the incubation and hatching of chicks that are almost ridiculously adorable). It does become increasingly clear, however, that there's simply not enough material here to sustain a full-length feature, and a point is inevitably reached at which the directors begin to emphasize distinctly unpleasant and downright mean-spirited elements in an effort at filling time. This is never more evident than in the stretch revolving around a villainous stork that arrives on the scene and subsequently stalks (and eats) several of the flamingo chicks; it's a needlessly sadistic sequence that immediately turns off the viewer, with Aeberhard and Ward's decision to highlight other ugly aspects of the flamingos' lives (ie several chicks are left behind prior to the pilgrimage) cementing The Crimson Wing's place as an overlong, consistently wrong-headed piece of work.