horror and science fiction DVD and movie reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
Blu-ray reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
DVD reviews, previews and info - blu-ray
  action movies on DVD
  animation on DVD
  art house and international / foreign language films on DVD
  comedies on DVD
  documentaries on DVD
  dramas on DVD
  children's and family DVDs
  horror and sci-fi on DVD
  suspense on DVD
  television series on DVD
  Blu-ray DVD reviews


A Bug's Lifes - Blu-ray DVD / animation DVD / family and children's DVD review
A BUG'S LIFE Rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Hayden Panettiere
Directors: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton Studio: Walt Disney
DVD release: 19 May 2009 Runtime: 95 min.
(2 discs)
Format: Animated, Color, HiFi Sound, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English; 5.1 Dolby Digital - French, Spanish), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish, French)
All-new Blu-ray exclusive extras - Introduction by John Lasseter, Filmmakers Round Table, A Bug's Life: The First Draft, Story treatment intro by John Lasseter, BD-Live
Original DVD features - Animated short film Geri's Game, Walt Disney Silly Symphony ("Grasshopper and the Ants"), Director commentary, Story and editorial, Storyboard to film comparison, Outtakes, Behind the scenes of A Bug's Life, Character interviews
Digital copy

Take a walk in your garden and bring yourself down to the level of the ants on the ground. Try to see things from their perspective - to ants, a patch of clover is a forest. That's the kernel for the idea of A Bug's Life - to take a close look and see how things work down on their level. Pixar's virtual cameras take us from the wider world most familiar to us down to a colony of ants, carefully, methodically collecting grain and fruit... for an offering. This collection of food is to be given to a tough group of grasshoppers; the ants feed the grasshoppers in exchange for "protection".

In charge of the ants is Princess Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who is learning to take over for the queen (Phyllis Diller). Our hero ant, Flik (Dave Foley), is unlike the rest of the ants - he thinks outside the box and breaks with tradition. He tries to develop new ways to save ants thorax-breaking labor, and his clever inventions fit the bill, if the other ants would just open themselves to them.

On the day the grasshoppers are due to come and partake of the collected food, one of Flik's labor-saving devices accidentally spills the offering over the side of the hill and into the water below. When the grasshoppers come, they're furious to discover that the food is not there, and they come underground to sort it out with the ants. The leader of the grasshoppers is Hopper (Kevin Spacey). He's really good at intimidating oration. He informs the ants that because they failed him, they must double the order and have it ready by the time the last leaf falls. This will leave the ants far shy of what they need for the winter.

There is a hearing to decide what to do with Flik; he has caused much trouble. Flik suggests that someone go looking for bigger insects to protect them, and he volunteers for the task. Atta agrees to the to get Flik out of their antennae for a while so they can get down to business. What they don't expect is for him to come back with what he thinks are tough warrior bugs but are actually circus bugs. Flik comes up with a pretty good idea for taking care of the grasshoppers, and he gets the circus bugs to pass it off as their own.

A Bug's Life is perhaps the most overlooked Pixar film, though it's one of my favorites - I'm sure I've seen it dozens of times. The dialogue is sharp, the animation is fantastic, and the organic modeling and shaders used for the film are amazing, if you know anything about what it takes to make such things. The characters are strong, especially the warrior bugs. Brad Garrett as the rhino beetle Dim is perfectly cast. David Hyde Pierce as Slim the walking stick reveals a subtle genius to the frustrated comedian. The people at Pixar know how to get a good vocal performance from their talent, and they take the time to do so. The most striking vocal performance is by storyboard artist Joe Ranft. His portrayal of Heimlich, the caterpillar who longs for beautiful butterfly wings, is a thing of wonder. Much of Pixar's casting starts from those who pitch storyboards and offer scratch tracks for the film in its infancy.

The extra features are fantastic. I went into this Blu-ray disc expecting the same exact special features I got in the 2003 two-DVD collector's edition. I got those and more. The most striking feature in the new Blu edition is the Filmmaker's Round Table - a 21-minute talk with directors John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton and producers Kevin Reher and Darla Anderson. There are tidbits from behind the scenes that I've not seen before, and a touching look at the late Joe Ranft's contributions to the project.

A Bug's Life was the first film ever to go fully digital to DVD; its transition to Blu-ray is likewise fabulous, so gorgeous that I'd like to have bits of it on screen just to act as art. The images of nature the studio created are a thing of beauty, and the subtle sound design by Gary Rydstrom is pitch-perfect. A Bug's Life is one of those films I knew would look fantastic in hi-def, and Disney and Pixar don't disappoint.
  buy this DVD now or browse millions of other great products at amazon.com
reviewed by Eric Renshaw
    action | animation | art house/international | comedy | documentary | drama | family | horror/sci-fi | suspense | television    
    browse DVDs alphabetical by title    
    contact | home