A Bug’s Life (1998/Pixar Animation/Disney Blu-ray)
B+ Sound: B+ Extras: B- Feature: B-
have been several computer animated features made with insects as the focus,
staring with DreamWorks’ dated but still-entertaining Antz and up to their recent Bee
Movie, but in between and early on, Pixar released A Bug’s Life in 1998 and at the time, it was only their second
feature after the original Toy Story. Boasting a great voice cast that includes
Kevin Spacey, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, David Hyde Pierce, Denis Leary, Bonnie Hunt,
John Ratzenberger, Edie McClurg, Alex Rocco, Phyllis Diller, Hayden Panettiere,
Richard Kind and the late great Roddy McDowall and late great Madeline Kahn, it
remains the best of all these productions.
is that the CG animation has not dated very much at all as Flik (Foley)
journey’s through another world that co-directors John Lassiter and Andrew
Stanton always treat as a hidden world worth exploring throughout. Antz
is an outright comedy and Bee Movie
makes this world too much like a human world to the point of being
annoying. Though not my favorite of the
Pixar releases, the ambition and quality make it highly watchable, rewatchable
and it has even appreciated as it has aged so gracefully. Not every moment works, but it makes the most
of its 95 minutes and is a great choice for Blu-ray.
2.35 X 1 image is as good as it has ever looked, sourced from the original HD
master and its blue/grey palette proves to me more intricate than you might
think. It works well, there is fine
detail here and little in the way of motion blur or depth limits for the format
it originated on. The DTS-HD Master
Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix is also fine, not expanded to 7.1 (wisely, it would
seem) and is impressive too considering the age of the soundmaster and that it
was a Dolby Digital-only theatrical release in its time. However, all the Pixar features tend to have
exceptional soundtracks and ones with character, so this is to be expected and
this is very impressive indeed.
include Blu-ray exclusive BD Live interactivity, a filmmaker’s roundtable on
making this in the first place and First Draft animated sequences that laid
down the groundwork for the production.
Other extras include a feature length audio commentary by Lassiter,
outtakes, on camera intro by Lassiter, behind the scenes featurette, Gen’s Game CG animated short from Pixar
that won the 1997 Animated Short Academy Award, classic 1934 Silly Symphony
short Grasshopper & The Ants, DVD extras that show the journey
from pre-production to the promotion of its release and a DVD-ROM so you can
activate Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices.
- Nicholas Sheffo