I have seen Hatch many times now. I have watched and enjoyed the trailers online, seen the DVD on my TV as well as on the computer screen several times and even seen it on a big cinema screen at the Rise Festival in Copenhagen.
It's not like a British spy thriller with a twisted plot and new discoveries every time. It's just... stunning... breathtaking... amazing... every time.
Nick Reygaert is well known to those who follow this site closely or even just follows the fly-fishing community in general - online and off. Nick has been producing high quality videos for a long time, and the first time I saw something with his fingerprint on it, was The Search, a road movie kind of video, telling the story of a bunch of NZ anglers going to Tahiti to fish on a somewhat gung-ho journey and delivered as what I called a "professionally produced home video" when I reviewed The Search back in 2009.
Nick's videos have come a long way since then. A long way!
The year after, in 2012, he released the first video of a series that has three titles right now. The Source, Tasmania came first and was followed by The Source, New Zealand and The Source, Iceland. All are epic and beautiful videos, even though I did find that there was a slight loss of pace in the Iceland video as I also noted in my review.
That pace has been regained in Hatch. And then some!
It's just... stunning... breathtaking... amazing...
Not only has the concept shifted a bit as the title indicates, but Reygaert's craftsmanship is better than ever. As a producer, script writer, photographer and editor he has soared to new heights, and armed with some of the best video technology, he has lifted the technical quality to new levels.
This is simply stunning... breathtaking... amazing...
The concept is a simple one: focus on hatches: insects hatching, food appearing, quarry emerging - and the rest will follow. The fishing, the people, the scenery. And it does.
The strike of genius here is the interpretation of the word hatch. Of course we see all the fantastic and well known images of insects hatching. Large or numerous hatches always gets the adrenalin pumping in a fly-angler's veins. But Reygaert takes it a few steps further when he not only looks at the traditional insects, but also at hatches of willow grubs dropping off trees into the water, krill and baitfish "hatching" in the ocean, and even creates his own "hatch" by running a car over a bridge, making the ants crossing drop onto the water surface, sparking activity in fish that were otherwise impossible to get to rise. The whole thing is caught in a surprising and hilarious scene where humor, excitement and the most fantastic photography is combined.
An other and more obvious cord that Reygaert strikes is the travel-cord. We have seen Tahiti, Tasmania, New Zealand, Iceland - each portrayed in their own volume. This time Nick uses the "BBC-trick" - simply go everywhere! Poland, Croatia, New Zealand, Tasmania, the UK. River, ocean, lake. The sheer number of places, their beauty and their difference makes the video a tour de force rarely seen in fly-fishing.
We see insects closeup, underwater as nymphs, hatching in the surface, resting on dry land and even flying freely in the air. There are great underwater shots of the habitats, the fish moving about and rising to insects in the surface.
Now, all this would be in vain to us as fly-fishermen, if the fishing content wasn't OK. But it is. We get not only the beautiful pictures of the natural wonders, but also some really great fishing sequences, which will have to cause a galloping cabin fever in every angler watching.
Reygaert manages better than anybody to get the take, the moment that the fly is sipped or engulfed from the surface, and we see takes, fight, landings and releases galore of brownies, marble trout, Atlantic salmon, ide, kingfish and more.
Intertwined with the natural history and the fishing, there are short interviews with anglers telling about the different hatches and fishing situations, and the underlying narration by Greg French enlightens us on the scene, the locations and the biology.
And of course the technical quality is superb. Filmed in so called 2K, which is a notch or two better than HD, in combination with exquisite camerawork, composition and editing, the video is a feast for the eye, and even non-fishing viewers will appreciate its quality. The comparison to BBC above is not far fetched when it comes to this side of the video, and Reygaert brings the heritage of the traditions found with BBC, East Anglia and Natural Geographic into the realm of fishing videos.
In other words: as good as it gets.