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Perry’s Previews IMAX Film “Flight of the Butterflies”

Published on: 8th February, 2013


Perry’s Previews IMAX Film “Flight of the ButterFlies”

4 Starfish out of 5 (4 out of 5 starfish)

By Perry S. Chen                        Feb 8, 2013

Have you ever seen a monarch butterfly flying in the sky and wonder where they all fly off to? Dr. Fred Urquhart, a researcher, spend decades trying to figure out the mystery of the most incredible migration on earth: the flight of the butterFlies.  The new IMAX film “Flight of the Butterflies” tells the compelling story of an old researcher who finds a key to unlocking the secret of the Monarchs, as well as an amazing tale of a butterfly and her offspring, and a “super generation” of butterflies that makes a journey spanning thousands of miles from Canada to a remote secluded sanctuary in the mountains of Mexico.

Perry Chen at RH Fleet Science Center (photo by Zhu Shen)



Perry Chen enjoying festivities at RH Fleet Flight of Butterflies VIP reception (photo by Zhu Shen)



The premiere of “Flight of the ButterFlies” was held at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, with a VIP party as a big social event.  Friends of the museum and the media attended and enjoyed the scrumptious catering and the Science Center’s exhibits and interactive models.  On the tables, there were many decorations, including delicate butterfly ornaments in a tray of herbs and flowers.  Many people at the event were even dressed up on butterfly costumes!  The catering food was delicious!  There were all sorts of breads, like soft pita bread, crispy Italian , and crunchy crackers.  There were fancy cheeses, sweet honeycomb, berries, fruit, and nuts.  For the entrees, there were roasted vegetables, with juicy tomatoes, and crunchy zucchini and squash, even savory lemon-flavored meatballs and crepes.

Perry Chen interviewing Bill Toone of Ecolife Foundation at RH Fleet Flight of Butterflies premiere (photo by Brian Bostrom)

I had great pleasure interviewing Bill Toone, former San Diego Wild Animal Park curator who built the butterfly exhibit, and now the founder and executive director of ECOLIFE Foundation.  I asked Bill how he create the Monarch Butterfly exhibit.  “It was really fun to do and quite challenging,” said Bill, “I was at the time curator of birds.  The Zoo wasnn’t very excited about the butterfly exhibit, they didn’t quite understand it.  So when I was designing the facility, I was telling people that I was going to put birds in the exhibit.  But you never put birds behind glasses, so they thought I had gone nuts!  But once people started to come, and the show became one of their biggest hits, the Zoo was very happy.”

There was a legendary love story here too, Bill was initially introduced to the Monarch butterflies by a colleague, Sunni, who was also working at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.   They saw the Monarch butterfly migration together for the first year in Mexico and had been going there for over 25 years!  Bill impressed Sunni by successfully building the Monarch butterfly exhibit at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, and eventually won her heart and marrying her.  Bill told me that he never gets tired of watching the butterflies in migration, every time, it was “pure joy.”

Bill shared his experience watching the migration of the butterflies.  “There are millions of butterflies in the trees, resting.  Then all of a sudden, millions of them would fly at the same time, the only thing you can hear is the beating of their wings, which I call the roars of the butterflies!  Each time I see them in that moment, I cry, it’s a very emotional experience.  We have been very fortunate in our work.  I have seen the herd of migrating wilderbeast, snorkeled on the great Bariel Reef, collected birds of paradise in New Gunea, tracked Bueno forest, I have never seen anything as breathtaking and moving as the migration of the butterflies.”  These days, Bill and his wife Sunni take 18 friends with them to watch the amazing migration of the Monach butterflies each year.  I told him that I would love to go along with him on this trip some day!

I asked Bill about his non-profit organization ECOLIFE Foundation.  He said, “The purpose of the organization is to find ways to make conservation very positive for humanities.  We pick projects with an under-served community, and find simple solutions that would benefit people, animals, and the planet.”  A recent project was building special stoves in Mexico where 75% less fire wood would be used, so that more trees in the forest would be spared, and the butterflies would have more forest for shelter.  To hear Bill Toone speak at a special lecture “For the Love of Butterflies,” following the film screening, visit Reuben H. Fleet Science Center on Tue, Feb 12, 2013, from 6 to 7:30 pm: (ECOLIFE Foundation website)

I give the film 4 starfish, it is “Perrific!”  The story is informative, telling about the massive migration, and the impact of wildflower clearing and deforestation on the lives of the butterflies.  The only flaw I could find was that the acting on the part of the butterfly researcher was a bit unrealistic, as he appeared to be indifferent at the moment of his discovery that he spent 40 years waiting for.  “Flight of the ButterFlies” also has a deep message about conservation and protecting the habitat that animals live in: Even tiny butterflies can do remarkable things.

While you are at the museum, visit the exciting Asteroid exhibit and watch the new “Cosmic Collisions” show about what could and did happen when asteroid hit the earth!  It was an amazing show, not to be missed!

Copyright 2013 by Perry S. Chen


About Perry Chen:

Perry S. Chen is a 12-year-old award-winning film critic, artist, animator, TEDx speaker, and entertainment personality, currently in 7th grade from San Diego.  He started reviewing movies at age 8 in 3rd grade using a kid-friendly starfish rating system, and has been featured in CBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, CCTV (China Central Television), Variety, Animation Magazine, The Young Icons, The Guardian, The China Press, etc.  He was a presenter at the 2010 Annie Awards for Animation, and has written movie reviews for Animation World Network, San Diego Union Tribune, Amazing Kids! Magazine, and his own Perry’s Previews blog.

Perry is currently writing, animating, and directing his most personal film to date, “Changyou’s Journey,” produced by his mom Dr. Zhu Shen, about his beloved father Dr. Changyou Chen, a cancer researcher who passed away in July 2012 from terminal cancer after a long, brave battle, please watch trailer and donate to support Perry’s animation film:

Perry won an “Excellence in Journalism Award” from San Diego Press Club in 2010 and 2011 for his movie and restaurant reviews, an “Excellence Writer Award” from “We Chinese in America” Magazine in 2010 for his movie review column. Perry is widely recognized as an authoritative spokesperson about movies for his generation, and appears frequently at red carpet movie premieres, awards, and film festivals, interviewing prominent directors from such films as Toy Story 3, Up, How to Train Your Dragon.  He was a presenter at the 2010 Annie Awards for Animation in Hollywood.  Perry and his mom Dr. Zhu Shen are featured in a new book about parenting and youth entrepreneurship, “The Parent’s Guide to Raising CEO Kids,” published in Aug 2011.

Perry’s first animation short “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest,” in collaboration with animation legend Bill Plympton, won multiple film festival awards and has been screened at over 30 international film festivals, now available on iTunes. More info:

Watch “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest” on iTunes:

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For business inquiries about Perry Chen, his animation films, movie reviews, contact Dr. Zhu Shen, bioforesight at gmail dot com

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