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A Bug's Life: Collector's Edition

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rated G

Studio: Disney

With the voices of Dave Foley, Dennis Leary, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Kevin Spacey, Bonnie Hunt

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Written by Andrew Stanton, Donald McEnery and Bob Shaw
Based on a story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft

Directed by John Lasseter
Co-Directed by Andrew Stanton

 

Retail Price: 49.99

Features: Audio Commentary with Josh Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, Isolated Music Track 2.0 Stereo, Isolated Sound Effects Track Dolby Digital 5.1, Behind the Scenes look at the creation of "A Bug's Life", Introductions and Explanations by the Filmmakers, Original Story Treatment and Pitch Boards, Character Designs, Concept Art and Color Script, Abanonded Sequences, Storyboard to Film Comparison, Behind the Scenes Look at Voice Talent, Early Production Tests, Production Progression Demo, Sound designer Gary Rydstrom on the film's sound effects, Trailers, Posters, Behind the scenes look at how the film was created for full frame, Outtakes, "Geri's Game" short

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Frame, 5.1 Dolby Digital English, English Captions, Chapter Search

After the highly succesful "Toy Story" which wowed audiences to infinity and beyond, Pixar, the leading computer animation studio, created another successful follow-up, "A Bug's Life". Technically, "A Bug's Life" is a lot better than Toy Story, thanks to the advances in computer animation. Things looked more realistic and flow better, as well as more vivid colors and scenary.

The movie follows the inventor ant Flik, who is always creating trouble with new inventions. But after a little accident which causes the ants to lose all their food they collected for the Grasshoppers (I guess they are sort of slaves), led by Hopper (Kevin Spacey), Flik is sent to find warrior bugs to get him out of the other ants hair for them to re-collect the food. Flik does return with warriors. They appear to be warriors, but are actually a fire bunch of circus bugs. However, will these actors be good enough to help with the fight against grasshoppers? Will their true identitys be revealed?

Why I don't think "A Bug's Life" is as good as "Toy Story", it's still a really enjoyable movie, even if it is a tad predictable. The computer animation is really breahtaking, and the voice acting (especially by Foley and Spacey) is top notch. The script is good and does its job. A great movie for the whole family, this DVD release is quite simply one of the greatest DVDs on the market.

 

Perfect. The film is presented in two ratios: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and an excellent composed full frame version at 1.33:1. The transfer is striking. It was converted from the original computers, not from tape or film, so it looks absolutley perfect. Direct digital to digital file. I couldn't find any dirt, artifacts or scratches anywhere. Detail is some of the best I have ever seen, and the colors are perfect and vibrant. While the widescreen is nice, the full frame is also excellent and has a lot of history to it. To make sure nothing is lost, cropping is kept at a mininum, and Pixar used the original computer files to create a new transfer. Some characters are brought closer together, and some tops and bottoms have been added to see even more of the picture. Still, this transfer is as good as they come. It's just amazing to look at.

The 5.1 audio track is just as good as the transfer. Randy Newman's wonderful score is brought to full life with the 5.1, it truly is booming and loud using all the channels creatively and wonderfully. Sound effects are really amazing, the sound of things flying overhead, crashes, it just sounds amazing. Dialogue is crisp and clear. It's an excellent mix, just a perfect track and a joy to listen to.

There is an isolated music track in 2.0 stereo. This is nice, but I really felt it should have 5.1. But there is spacing concerns, which is understandable.

The 5.1 Isolated Sound Effects track is great, and brings all the sound effects to life and all by themselves. They all sound terrific. It's very nice. I just wish the score was also 5.1

This set is loaded! In addition to the isolated music track and isolated sound effects track on the first disc, there is also a Commentary with John Lassetter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich (supervising film editor). This is a very nice commentary. They point out some excellent parts to the film as well as a few tricks and offer plenty of insight. The three are lively and you really eat up what info they share. One of the better commentaries I've heard.

Moving over to the second disc, you'll find all the supplementary material here. About everything has a nice Introduction with Lassetter, Stanton and two other of the filmmakers, I believe the producers (I should check). They give a little preface to what they introduce, and it looks like they are having a blast and want to tell you what is going on.

There is Behind The Scenes look at the creation of A Bug's Life, a nice look at the making of the film.

What I think is the best thing on the disc, is a hilarious promo film entitled "Fleabie". It's supposed to be a corny, dubbed old time learning film about bugs. The film was created for a Disney showcase to show exhibitors and suits upcoming projects. The clips of the movie are really early, and a lot are demo tests, so it is interesting to see. And we can't forget Fleabie himself, who's adorable.

You can read a nice, good sized Original Story Treatment and check out some of the Pitch Boards. There also numerous Character Designs and Concept Art designs. There is also a Color Script to check out.

An interesting feature, there are Abandoned Sequences, which highlight storyboard treatments (with voices) that were cut before they were animated. Lasseter and his team give good reasons why.

The Storyboard-to-final-film split-screen Comparison shows the storyboards to final product for some scenes, but even better is the Production Progression Demo which uses your angle feature to show you four stages of how it is all put together. Storyboards, lesser CGI to the full blown out thing.

Early Production Tests are interesting to watch, though most of this is shown in Fleabie.

Featurettes such that look at the Voice Talent and Recomposing it to Full Frame are good for a watch, as well as a nifty part with Sound Designer Gary Rydstrom.

Rounding out the disc is both sets of the Outtakes shown in theaters (some are pretty funny), as well as Trailers and the domestic plus international Poster Campaign. There is also the Oscar® winning short, Geri's Game, about a man who plays chess with himself. On a side note, this short was a new technological benchmark, since it created more realistic faces.

This is truly a purchase. Some of the best sound and video to ever grace the format, and a ton of supplements to please any fan of the film, this disc belongs in your collection. 49.99 retail for the disc is a bit steep, but I'm sure you can get it online for cheaper.

(4/5, NOT included in final score)

(5/5)

(5/5)

(4.5/5)

(4.5/5, NOT an average)

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