Take a 3-D journey with the iconic orange and black butterflies and the man who was determined to uncover the scientific secrets of the monarchs’ amazing migration.
If you think it’s magical to see a monarch butterfly flit in front of you on its annual migration, you’ll flip out — in a good way — when you’re immersed in the home entertainment release of the IMAX film Flight of the Butterflies. Out in 3-D and Blu-ray from Shout Factory on July 12, the natural-history epic tells the inspiring true story of Dr. Fred Urquhart, a Canadian zoologist who devoted 40 years of his life to tracking the monarchs in the hope of discovering the exact nature of their migration and precisely where they went when they flew south and mysteriously disappeared.
Weighing less than a penny, the slight monarch flies farther than most human travel itineraries would ever undertake. Its perilous journey — one of the longest migrations on the planet — crosses a continent, unbelievably ending up in a place it’s never been before. No GPS, no map, no roadside assistance. Attempting to uncover the scientific mystery, Urquhart, along with his wife, Norah, enlisted armies of volunteers across North America to tag hundreds of thousands of butterflies to track their migration route. Urquhart’s Insect Migration Association ultimately helped him discover in 1975 that millions of butterflies migrated to the remote Transvolcanic Belt of central Mexico.
The story of Urquhart’s search for the monarchs’ Mexican hideaways and his quest to document their incredible migration plays like a detective adventure — with incredible cinematography. The award-winning production team, including Oscar-winning cinematographer Peter Parks, followed the butterflies in their year-long annual migration cycle, filming hundreds of millions of monarchs in their remote overwintering sanctuaries in Mexico in 2011 and again in 2012, and also along their migratory routes from Canada, across the United States, and into Mexico.
The result is an engrossing educational film that’s been compared to March of the Penguins. But instead of being awash in black and white tuxedos, you’re fully in the midst of an orange and black miracle of nature as two generations of butterflies migrate north and then a “super generation” astonishingly finds its way to a few isolated mountaintops in Mexico. Lucky for us that we can hop on the flight.
Directed and co-written by Mike Slee for IMAX 3-D, the 2012 Canadian documentary is now available for home consumption in 4K Ultra High Definition, 3-D Blu-ray, and Blu-ray.