Reality Entertainment // 2010 // 92 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // July 17th, 2010
"Journey through one of the world's most beautiful natural habitats, featuring over 100 species of birds and an abundance of wildlife."
What sort of movie is Birds of Norfolk? Depends on what kind of viewer you are.
If you're just a casual viewer who can't tell a pied wagtail from a vulture, it makes for a nice, relaxing video display of birds in motion. Augmented by a score that mixes classical with more modern music, it includes a low-key narration and ambient noise. The music occasionally gets a little loud, but otherwise, Birds is excellent for unwinding. Those birds are mesmerizing, as are the locations they visit across the Norfolk region of England.
However, Birds of Norfolk is a little more ambitious than that, imparting more detailed information than you'd expect from, say, the Visions series. Maps guide you to places like Wells-next-the-Sea and Breydon Water, and the narration is full of specific rare sightings (such as a tawny pipit that turned up in 2008) and details (such as the converted mills of Sculthorpe) that might help anyone going in search of the next tawny pipit sighting themselves. Its details could actually help a birdwatcher or other tourist on their next trip to Norfolk. Birdwatchers, take note of an extensive photo gallery that includes just about every creature or locale shown in the movie. It's not totally user-friendly, though, since the captions are hard to read against the backgrounds.
Even keeping it low-key, Kevan Brighting manages to create some moments of gotta-see-it excitement in his narration. If you're already interested in birds, that's bound to make you want to get out the binoculars. The images, in a crisp high definition that makes every last poppy pop out, with no noticeable bleeding or other problems, are equally enticing.
The best scene might be the one near the end that puts birdwatchers into the picture. They're on the trail of a white-crowned sparrow who dropped in from America, and it gives viewers at home a brief glimpse of their fascination with migrating birds, in case you didn't get the picture from the tidbits in the narration about rare sightings.
You probably won't retain all the information in Birds of Norfolk, and the birds have all flown by the time it came out, but Birds of Norfolk is an interesting view. It's targeted more toward birdwatchers, but the rest of us can still chill out in front of the TV with it -- and might even learn something.
Review content copyright © 2010 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Reality Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Gallery
* Official Website