A Bug’s Life: Collector’s Edition

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Who would have ever thought that an ant could be so darn cute? Well, they are. A Bug’s Life is the story of a colony of ants, and one ant in particular named Flik (voice of Dave Foley). It seems that these ants have been working, infact slaving to make an offering of food towards the evil grasshoppers (I never liked grasshoppers much, anyway). They have been doing this all Summer every Summer and it shows no signs of ending anytime soon. This is where we enter the movie. There is one ant that is different from the rest. He’s an inventor, but it seems that his inventions either never work or are never met with the approval that he thinks they should be met with. Take, for instance, his telescope. Built with a droplet of dew (they’re pretty big when you’re the size of ant) and a leaf. Very clever!

Trouble starts when the offering is nearly complete, and Flik is late as usual getting to their ant hill. His mechanisim for harvesting more and more bits of grain (for the offering) causes the whole season’s offering to be dumped in the water, and therefore ruined. After some thereating words and an ultimatum by the lead grasshopper ‘Hopper’ (voiced by Kevin Spacey) they have to deal with Flik.

Flik decides his own fate when he suggests that he go to the “city” to look for some mean, tough bugs that he can hire to scare away the grasshoppers for good. The council of ants lavishes this idea as they belive that they’ll never see Flik again and quickly agree. Of course, Flik feels that they are entrusting him on some sort of all-important mission, but that’s the fun of the story.

Cut to the “city”. We meet all the other main characters of the story who are performing under a mini circus tent. Their act is so pitiful, that even two flies leave. And after learning that they will not be performing any more due to low audiences, they decide to head to a bar and blow off some steam. Well, who else happens to be at the bar? Yes! Flik and the gang exchange words and come to an agreement. The only problem is that Flik belives that he has hired the folks who are going to take care of the grasshoppers once and for all; when all he has reall hired is a bunch of r reject circus insects.

Push does come to shove and they make it back to the ant colony (much to the colony’s suprise, I might add). I won’t disclose what happens, but this is a great and very entertaining movie and a landmark in computer animation. One for you and your kids.

Video: How does it look?

It’s hard to top the previous version of “A Bug’s Life” on DVD. This version is 16:9 enhanced, one of a very select few from Disney. A few of the scenes were a little more colorful that the other version. It maintains the crispness and sharpness of the previous version, but the other one was almost perfect to begin with. Colors were bright and the edges were, once again, very defined. This may well be the best picture a DVD can have…for now!

Audio: How does it sound?

Who would have thought that a bunch of ants could make so much noise?!?!? The 5.1 soundtrack took me by suprise. It has lots of sub woofer effects (you’d be suprised how a drop of water can sound) and great channel seperation. The dialogue is nice and clear as well. Surround effects are used quite often and with great effeciency as well. This is one great soundtrack! In addition to the normal soundtrack, they have included an optional 5.1 soundtrack only version. It’s basically everything but the dialogue. This in itself sounds great. You can hear each individual ant footstep and every flutter of every wing. Awesome!

Supplements: What are the extras?

In addition to what was included on the other DVD (a trailer and two alernate outtakes in the end credits)…here’s what you get:
Disc one

  • A 16:9 transfer and a full frame option as well.
  • Audio commentary featuring Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter and Lee Unkrich.
  • Isolated music track in Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Isolated sound effects track in Dolby Digital 5.1

    Disc two

  • Behind the scenes look at “A Bug’s Life”
  • Introductions and explanations by the filmmakers
  • Early presentation reel of “Fleebie”
  • Origainal story treatment and pitch boards
  • Character designs
  • Abandoned sequences
  • Storyboard to final film split screen comparisons
  • Production tests
  • Angle feature that allows you to move through stages of production
  • Compairsons between widescreen and full frame version
  • Outtakes, both sets with a featurette on how they were made
  • Academy Award winning short of “Geri’s Game”
  • Disc Scores