Flight of the Butterflies **** This docudrama about the decades of research by hordes of scientists and volunteers to chart the mating and migration patterns of Monarch butterflies is one of the best blends of education, entertaining story and stunning visuals the St. Louis Science Center has brought to its IMAX screen. We meet (via actors playing them at various ages) Dr. Fred and Norah Urquhart who turned their aesthetic appreciation of these insects into a thirty-year study, eventually charting their annual round trip between Canada to Mexico with the help of thousands of kindred professionals and amateurs.
The narrative offers all the facts one could desire about their three-generation northern journey and the one-generation southerly return. Viewers can truly enjoy the beauty of the subjects on this massive screen while marveling at their ordeal and feeling the joys of discovery by those who worked so long and hard to complete the study. Several moments of spectacular photography, including one close-up sequence in flight, are more than enough to reward any audience.
The film shows stops in Texas and many Midwestern locations along their path to and from the Mexican interior. Arizona is not included. Perhaps the Monarchs are too small to fly with ID papers. (1/18/13)