Blu-ray Review: ‘Flight of the Butterflies’


Again, movies made for IMAX theaters are arriving on home video from Shout! Factory, this week with Flight of the Butterflies and Rocky Mountain Express.

The former is an absorbing saga which shows how a researcher and his wife traced the mysterious annual migratory patterns of millions of Monarch butterflies over the course of decades — and finally found their secret winter home on a Mexican mountaintop.

That story is told with a mix of wondrous documentary footage of the colorful insects and well-played re-enactments of the researchers, who also included a collaborating Indiana Jones-style young couple roaming Mexico on a motorbike to find the missing Monarchs.

Even without the wow-factors of huge IMAX screens showing 3D images in the film’s 2013 theatrical release, on Blu-ray it retains visual awesomeness, with dizzying swarms of butterflies in flight and time-lapse closeups of the creatures changing from caterpillars to butterflies. (Besides a stand-alone Blu-ray, it’s also available in a 4K UHD / 3D Blu-ray set.)

The fact-based story also is absorbing, recounting how Fred and Norah Urquhart of Canada enlisted “Citizen Scientists” across North America to help them tag and trace Monarchs, whose migratory cycle ranges from the Texas Hill Country to Canada and back down to Mexico. It’s billed in the 44-minute film as “one of the longest migrations on Earth.”

The Blu-ray also includes a brief ecological message from the former president of Mexico and the 28-minute Behind the Scenes of Flight of the Butterflies, in which director Mike Slee and others tell how they did it. There’s also an image gallery and trailers, along with a coupon for downloading a digital copy

Who knew big-winged bugs could be so adventurous and fascinating? Well, anyone who’s seen Flight of the Butterflies.

— Bruce Westbrook









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