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DVD Review: A Bug’s Life (Blu-ray)
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A Bug’s Life
Blu-ray Edition
Directed by John Lasseter & Andrew Stanton
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Denis Leary, Madeline Kahn, Phyllis Diller, John Ratzenberger
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 19, 2009

On November 25, 1998, Walt Disney Pictures and the budding Pixar Animation Studio put out their second feature-length computer-animated motion picture after the classic Toy Story, and this movie was called A Bug’s Life. When it came out, the movie cost only $60 million to make, and pulled in over $350 million at the in box office, which was an amazing feat, seconded only by Toy Story‘s $30 million budget and over $350 million box office take. Even with these impressive numbers, Pixar still fought through many troubled times before really taking off and never looking back.

Since then, eight more Pixar movies have been released, and as we all know, they have all been brilliant. Pixar is now majorly considered to be completely fail-proof — and all of this started with the first couple of Toy Story movies and A Bug’s Life.

A Bug’s Life tells the story of a colony of ants who have collected a pile of food in order to pay off a bigger, more-dangerous group of grasshoppers lead by Hopper (Kevin Spacey) who demand payment from the little ants. The colony’s wannabe inventor Flik (Dave Foley), however, uses his latest invention to disastrously lose the entire pile of food into the river, which in-turn angers the grasshoppers, who in-turn demand another pile of food double the size of the initial rations. This would leave the ants without any food at all for themselves for the winter, so they banish Flik for his actions. Eventually, he convinces the Queen (Phyllis Diller) and the Princess (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) to allow him to venture off to Bug City and find the biggest, baddest group of bugs to stand up to the grasshoppers and get rid of them forever. Unfortunately, the bugs he finds may not be quite what they hoped for.

This movie has always seemed to be at the bottom of the Pixar totem pole for some strange reason. Not to say that it’s bad in any way; it just always seems to be at the bottom. I’m not sure if it’s because it was the one that had to follow Toy Story, but it has always crossed me as strange. For me personally, while it’s certainly not my favorite of the bunch, I do have it ahead of a few of the other movies. Maybe I’m just a sucker for adorable insects. Whether it’s at the top of your list or at the bottom, A Bug’s Life has always been a really wonderful little movie to enjoy. It has a solid, seasoned story that I only realized this time around is its own play on the Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven concept — a concept that was also used in Three Amigos!, which is much closer to what A Bug’s Life did with their movie. This story is brought to life by a great collection of voice talent and crisp, colorful animations and the quaint little bug world is a sight to see and expertly scaled down to bring you right into the world. Even better than a great movie with a great story is one that also has great humor, which this movie offers plenty of. Always something that wins brownie points with me.

One of the really phenomenal things about Pixar’s movies is that they can grow with the technological advances that we make. They were breathtaking and beautiful when we first saw them; they’ve been put into high-definition Blu-ray formats, which makes them even more fantastic than ever; and now, they are being reformatted for the latest 3-D and digital technologies. Because of this, we the fans get to love these movies and have new experiences with them as time goes on. This is no exception for A Bug’s Life on Blu-ray: it really looks better than ever and should be owned by any Pixar Animation fan with a Blu-ray player.

All-in-all, every Disney/Pixar movie should be in your collection, including this one! It’s not the best you will ever see, but it is one that will put a smile on your face, and that’s all that really matters in the end. Even when the movie ends, the fun isn’t over: you still get some of those legendary Pixar blooper reels that put a lot of real blooper reels to shame!

SPECIAL FEATURES

Here’s all of the features that were included on the original DVD.

Pixar Animation Studios’ Academy Award-winning Best Animated Short Film, Geri’s Game: The great Oscar-winning animated short film about a lonely old man playing chess with himself in the park.

A Walt Disney Silly Symphony – “Grasshopper and the Ants” (1934): One of the many short animations in Disney’s Silly Symphonies series which ran from the late ’20s to the late ’30s.

Behind the Scenes of A Bug’s Life: Your basic behind the scenes look at the hard work and magic that went into making Pixar’s second adventure, A Bug’s Life.

Pre-Production: A look at pre-production, with introductions from the filmmakers from their storyboard pitch to true-life research. “Bug-cam”.

Design: All kinds of looks at concept art and galleries (can be viewed with or without intros).

Production: Behind the scenes; voice casting; early tests; progression demonstration with storyreel, layout, animation, and shaders and lighter (all have intros).

Sound Design: Sound designer Gary Rydstorm demonstrates the various sounds used to bring Pixar’s A Bug’s Life to life with a combination of the real-world emanations of insects along with the sounds that come from manipulated inanimate objects like playing cards, bendy straws, and bubble wrap.

Release: A gallery of production stills, along with trailers and character interviews (the latter has optional introductions).

The Story Behind the Outtakes: The end credits has “bug bloopers,” which was a clever idea from director John Lasseter. The original set of bloopers that were part of the theatrical release was so popular with audiences, that three weeks after the film’s release an additional set of bloopers was included. The filmmakers/crew all talk about their favorite outtakes, which the actors ad-libbed. Both sets of outtakes are included in this feature — look out for cameos and references to Pixar’s first release Toy Story.

Here are the new Blu-ray exclusive special features.

DISC 1- Blu-ray

Introduction by director John Lasseter

Filmmakers Round Table: Filmmakers John Lasseter, Kevin Reher, Darla Anderson, and Andrew Stanton take a journey back 10 years from when the theatrical release first premiered and discuss what advances Pixar has made in technology, storytelling, and the overall filmmaking process.

A Bug’s Life: The First Draft: Existing storyboards from Pixar’s original story treatment brought to life by animating them.

Story Treatment Intro by John Lasseter

BD-Live Features
o Movie Chat
o Movie Mail
o Movie Challenge
o Movie Reward
o Avatars

DISC 2

DisneyFile Digital Copy: Allows you to burn your own digital copy for those times when you’re on the go! iTunes and Windows Media formats.

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