Reviewed by Robin Schwartzkopf
Without special focus, it is easy to miss a spectacular sight in nature. One of the smallest creatures and the most beautiful, the Monarch butterfly possesses magnificent talents and traits that can easily go unnoticed by humans. A master of migration, the butterflies’ secrets are finally revealed in the film Flight of the Butterflies at the Science Museum of Virginia.
This movie tells two stories: the efforts of a persistent scientist, Dr. Fred Urquhart, in discovering butterfly migration habits, and the tale of a three- generation butterfly family as each female travels around North America. It’s the perfect length at forty minutes, telling each story succinctly, but in compelling fashion.
Revealing all of the mysteries surrounding these creatures, Flight of the Butterflies even lets viewers peer into the insides of a caterpillar’s chrysalis, a transformation previously unseen. Moviegoers can examine the yearlong annual migration cycle of the butterflies that three generations complete, and the forty-year commitment to relentless butterfly tagging by Dr. Urquhart.
Between the stunning imagery and the narrative, the film is a perfect fit for families with kids of all ages. Flight of the Butterflies also explores the effects that humans can have on the species. Not only do the Monarchs suffer due to climate change, their life cycles can also be disrupted by the lack of plant life. The only thing a caterpillar snacks on is milkweed, an increasingly rare leaf poisonous to all other creatures.
Through this film, anyone can discover the beautiful world of the Monarch butterfly. Children, parents, teens, and grandparents will all be astounded by the daily life of the butterfly and the dedication of one scientist as he seeks to reveal its secrets.
Now showing at The Science Museum of Virginia. ($9 general admission; $5 members.) forty minutes; recommend for three and up. Visit www.smv.org