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Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies

4.7 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies
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  • Flight: The Genius of Birds
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  • The Intelligent Design Collection - Darwin's Dilemma, The Privileged Planet, Unlocking the Mystery of Life
Total price: $58.93
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Editorial Reviews


Metamorphosis follows on the heels of past Illustra offerings, including Privileged Planet, Unlocking the Mystery of Life, and Darwin's Dilemma. It's probably true that with these films taken altogether, Illustra producer and documentarian Lad Allen has made the most easily accessible, visually stunning case for intelligent design available. If you have one shot at opening the mind of an uninformed and dismissive friend or family member, the kind who feels threatened by challenges to Darwinism, then presenting him with a copy of a 600-page volume like Signature in the Cell, or even a slimmer alternative like Darwin's Black Box, would probably be less effective than choosing one of Mr. Allen's DVDs. Among those, Metamorphosis might well make the best initial selection, since the argument for intelligent design doesn't come in till the third and final act. When it comes, it's a soft sell, preceded by a gorgeous, non-threatening nature film that only hints at what's ahead in Act III. In Act I, the focus is on the mind-blowing magical routine by which the caterpillar enters into the chrysalis, dissolves into a buttery blob and swiftly reconstitutes itself into a completely different insect, a butterfly. A cute graphic sequence shows, by way of analogy, a Ford Model T driving along a desert road. It screeches to a stop and unfolds a garage around itself. Inside, the car quickly falls to pieces, divesting itself of constituent parts that spontaneously recycle themselves into an utterly new and far more splendid vehicle. A sleek modern helicopter emerges from the garage door and thumps off into the sky. In Act II, we follow a particular butterfly, the Monarch, on its journey to a volcanic mountain lodging site in Mexico for the winter, accomplished each year despite the fact that no single, living Monarch was among the cohort that made the trip the year before. Only distant relations -- grandparents, great-grandparents -- did so. Given the brief life cycle of the insect, those elders are all dead. The Monarch follows the lead of an ingenious internal mapping and guidance system dependent on making calculations of the angle of the rising sun and on magnetic tugs from ferrous metal in the target mountain range. --David Klinghoffer - Evolution News and Reviews

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Alvin Chea, Paul Nelson, Thomas Emmel
  • Directors: Lad Allen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Illustra Media
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 64 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0052P61WO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,766 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Halupa on June 17, 2011
Format: DVD
The subject of METAMORPHOSIS, butterflies, is in itself visually ravishing; the science behind their formation, clean and fascinating; the implications for the philosophy of straight, Darwinian theory, challenging. The film, slowly and steadily transports us into mystery, into the death, reorganization, and resurrection of life within the chrysalis, and we see engineering in its most marvelous and mysterious form. The film company, Illustra, obviously has as its purpose, to foster our appreciation for a universe created and intelligently designed, but in highlighting the caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation, in all of its marvel, intricacy, and spectacularly sophisticated, super-restructuring, one is pressed to admit that such transformation by Darwinian evolution, by unordered, accidental, error-based, mutational means, seems far-fetched to the point of ridiculous. As one of the scientists featured within the film signals, this kind of magnificent orchestration requires composer and conductor. It is really that simple. And in this simple, powerful rendering of mystery, from metamorphosis, to the unimaginable life-journey of the monarch, we not only experience intimations of truth, but the alluring whispers of astounding beauty.

The photography stuns; the science instructs; the conclusions inspire. The thrust of the work strikes the ball directly into the court of the Darwinians, and the intelligent designers have come to the net. The return stroke, if there is one, promises to be fascinating. Occam's razor, the principle of selecting from competing theories, the simpler and more pristine theory, the hypothesis which makes the fewest, wild assumptions, is put quietly, but unmistakably on display in this film.
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Format: DVD
Stunning! No word better describes this film than stunning. I really enjoy the former films by this talented production company, but this one might just be the magnum opus for these guys.

Right away the film immerses the viewer into jaw dropping scenery depicting the utter grandeur and beauty of our planet. This is accompanied with a booming and poignant soundtrack that combine to bring an expectancy of a magnificent adventure of discovery. And the film delivers on this tacit promise.

The visual safari had us tracking the migration of monarchs numbering in the billions beginning in Canada to then land in a South American Forests where we are privileged to witness enormous trees dripping in a deluge of orange from this annual gathering. Only the language of amazement can properly describe just how miraculous this annual event is. To then further confounding the mind the trek takes us deep inside the chrysalis to witness the greatest miracle of all, a re-birth so to speak. We watch as a caterpillar utterly destroys itself only to then rebuild itself from a biological soup. Here we see one of nature's most intriguing species empirically demonstrate a feat of remarkable self re-engineering that utterly confounds any Neo-Darwinian mechanistic hypothesis for evolution. We could not be more amazed than if we was a car transform itself into a F15 fighter jet.

And while the butterfly depicts an intelligent origin that is intuitively obvious, it also portrays a designer who possesses unparalleled creative abilities and who chooses to paint our world with brilliance of colors to dazzle our senses for what must be one primary reason, to spoil us with gratuitous beauty to enjoy for all our days. How marvelous! The fingerprints of design are all over if we are willing to see it. I can not see how after watching this anyone will be able to deny that an intelligence was involved in making everything we see. Thanks for making this film.
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Format: DVD
Metamorphosis by Illustra Media is an educational nature film of exceptional quality about the brief life cycle of the butterfly. The film uses staggering visual footage, computer animation, magnetic resonance imaging, and succinct storytelling to bring the viewer along for an enlightening journey into one of nature's little understood but ongoing events in the insect world. This documentary film promises to provide an up-to-date understanding of what is known about the life cycle stages of the butterfly and clearly it delivers on this core point.

Included in the life cycle of the butterfly is a focus on the Monarch butterfly's annual migration from Canada to Mexico and the rain forests of Ecuador. The ability to make this mind boggling trip by an insect that has never been to its ultimate destination is presented with viable suggestions on how it is accomplished ranging from the angle of the sun to magnetic properties of a certain volcanic mountain range. However, it remains a mystery but an enjoyable one to ponder. What events transpire once the Monarchs arrive are testaments to the flexibility and resiliency of this species to survive the winter in order to give life to the next generation. The awakening of these orange and yellow hued winged beauties for their mating season in the spring seems to be more than the camera lens can take into its frame in order to do the awe-inspiring scene justice.

The computer animation is necessary in order to make corresponding visual evidence to the oral information being provided. Furthermore, the magnetic resonance imaging and the compelling musical soundtrack add immensely to the production quality of the film.

The film's conclusion makes the case for intelligent design.
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