Blu-ray Review A Bug's Life
Directed by: John Lasseter Cast: Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Hayden Panettiere, Phyllis Diller, Richard Kind, Denis Leary, Joe Ranft Running Time: 1 hr. 36 mins Rating: G Due out: May 19, 2009
Plot: In a world where ants are terrorized by grasshoppers, one of them (Foley) decides to stand up to them, with the help of a multi-bug circus troupe.
Who's It For? Pixar doesn't make animated movies just for kids. But with bugs as its focus, this one might be a harder sell.
Movie: It is a compliment to the almighty Pixar that movies like A Bug's Life are now only beginning to be made by mere animation world mortals, but it is an unavoidable truth that this one has fallen to the side when it comes to the company's legacy. Reflectively, it borrows a bit from the previous Toy Story, as its heroes are not entirely "meant" to be heroes, but assume that responsibility when fate nearly forces them to. However, as compared to its movie siblings, this one does not have the same originality, nor the amount of laughs that seem to come effortlessly. Certainly, this one does not have as much heart as later pictures (Wall-E, and now Up). To be fair, it is a tad more unique than that detestable wreckage Cars, despite being a continuation of "things kids like": toys, bugs, cars, but not monsters (which is why Monster's Inc. is awesome).
Sometimes squished by its easiness, A Bug's Life is a not a great one, but compared to anything else not made by Pixar, it is more than decent entertainment that can at least serve as a milestone to how vibrant animation was even ten years ago.
Movie Score: 6/10
Filmmaker's Roundtable: Director John Lasseter and co-director Andrew Stanton sit down with A Bug's Life producers Darla K. Anderson and Kevin Reher to share with us (and each other) some funny moments involving the making of the film. Sitting a table that looks like their daily lunching spot, the four bring us into the community of Pixar with personal stories about the various artists and the company itself.
A Walt Disney Silly Symphony - Grasshopper and the Ants: - A unique pick for the special features, but in the context of A Bug's Life it's a wonderful one at that. This eight minute cartoon shares the same idea of the film - a group of small ants are more powerful than a single, big grasshopper. A brief introduction by directors John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton reveals that this short was a bit of an inspiration.
Sound Design - The extras for this Blu-Ray expand from every stage of a film's creation, from story to development to the final moments of its release. This particular feature focuses on the organic art of sound design, and how the Oscar-winning Gary Rydstrom brought the bugs to auditory Life. Many examples are given, with Rydstrom's voice providing information on how the sounds were achieved.
Other Extras Include:
Audio Commentary Original First Draft of the film Behind the Scenes of A Bug's Life Oscar-winning Pixar short - Geri's Game Pre-Production Production Sound Design Release Outtakes
Extras Score: 9/10
Disney DVD releases continue the empire's notorious tradition of the infamous "vault" - everything is only on the buying shelf for a limited time. I suspect this will be the same with A Bug's Life, which makes its buying even more of an issue. The technology of Blu-Ray enhances the already amazing animation of the film, but also raises the price for a movie that isn't completely necessary for the collection. However, Pixar junkies or anyone who really likes this movie will enjoy the absurd abundance of special features that this Blu-Ray has to offer. Anyone who can live without A Bug's Life on Blu-Ray can do so easily - and use their saved money to bring their loved ones to see Pixar's latest magnificent work, Up.
Final Score: 7/10