The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney/Pixar - 1998
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 95 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Hyde Pierce, Kevin Spacey, Richard Kind, Phylliss Diller, Joe Ranft, Denis Leary, Bonnie Hunt, Brad Garrett, Madeline Kahn, Jonathan Harris, roddy McDowall, Edie McClurg
Directed by: John Lasseter & Andrew Stanton
Music by: Randy Newman
Written by: John Lasseter , Andrew Stanton, Joe Ranft
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 19, 2009
"An epic presentation of miniature proportions"
On behalf of "oppressed bugs everywhere," and inventive ant named Flik hires "warrior bugs" to defend his colony from a horde of freeloading grasshoppers led by hopper. But when Flik's cavalry turns out to be a ragtag group of flea circus performers, the stage is set for comic confusion...as well as unlikely heroes!
a bug’s life revolves around a small colony of ants who every season are expected to harvest food for a gang of grasshoppers. They are led by Hopper (voiced by Kevin Spacey) who is a tough as nails mafia type who feels that ants are lower forms of life that should serve grasshoppers. Flik (voiced by Dave Foley), is well meaning but bumbling ant inventor whose creations generally do more harm than good. On the day that the food harvest is due Flik’s mechanical harvester accidentally knocks the large pile of food into a stream just before the grasshoppers arrive. Hopper isn’t happy and gives the ants the rest of the season to make good on what they owe. He doubles the ration of food after Flik stands up to him in defense of Dot (Hayden Panettiere) the Queen's youngest daughter. Princess Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Dot's older sister, is the successor to the queen. She likes Flik but is frustrated with him and is unsure how to properly handle the situation. Flik suggests that he leave Ant Island and try to recruit some "warrior bugs" to come and fight the grasshoppers. The council doesn’t think much of the idea but sees this as a great way to keep him out of their hair so they can concentrate on the task of collecting another ration of food for the demanding grasshoppers. Flik ventures out and goes to “bug city" where he stumbles upon a troupe of unemployed circus bugs whose latest performance has just ended in disaster. The troupe consists of Rosie, a black widow (Bonnie Hunt), Francis, an ill tempered male ladybug (Denis Leary), Manny, a praying mantis (Jonathan Harris), Gypsy, a gypsy moth (Madeline Kahn), Heimlich, a chubby German caterpillar (Joe Ranft), Slim, a tall bug eyed walking-stick (David Hyde Pierce), Dim, a soft spoken rhino beetle (Brad Garrett), and Tuck and Roll, a pair of tumbling twin beetles( Michael McShane). When they inadvertently win a scuffle with a few rough and tumble stink flies Flik mistakes them for the warrior types that he seeks. Simultaneously they believe he is a talent scout who wants to book their act on the island. They return with him to the colony and are immediately greeted as heroes who can put an end to the threat posed by Hopper and company.
It doesn’t take long before Flik and the troupe realize the misunderstanding. The circus troupe decides to leave Ant Island with Flik in hot pursuit as he doesn’t want it found out that he has made yet another blunder. A plan is devised by Flik to build a bird that will frighten off the grasshoppers for good. The plan is presented to the colony and construction gets underway. Things go smoothly as the colony works together with the troupe to construct the bird. In the process everyone becomes close including Flik and Atta who realize that there is an attraction between them. Things go awry when P.T Flea the troupe’s old employer shows up and it is discovered that they are not warriors and that the bird idea was Flik’s. Flik is disgraced and leaves the colony with the circus troupe. The grasshoppers return to find no food. They take over and imprison the queen. Dot slips away and finds Flik and the gang. She convinces him to return and with the help of the troupe they put the bird plan into action. Things don’t go quite as planned but thanks to Flik the colony comes to realize that they have no reason to fear the grasshoppers because as a group not only are they worthy but they significantly outnumber the grasshoppers. Hopper gets his comeuppance and the ants (including Princess Atta) finally see Flik’s value both as an inventor and an important member of the colony.
A bug’s life, had a tough act to follow in Toy story. I clearly remember taking my then 6 and 4 year old daughter and son to the movies to see it. We enjoyed it quite a bit but it felt so different from Toy story upon that initial viewing that it didn’t have the same impact. We didn’t gain an appreciation for its excellent characters, subtle wit and well rounded story until we watched it again at home on DVD. Since then I have seen it numerous times and find myself snickering at and enjoying the same parts. The story isn’t overly complex or emotionally stirring but it is filled with well constructed characters and clever dialogue that make it fun and memorable. The cast is wonderful and each seems perfectly mated with their respective characters. Each has their moment to shine and does so with enthusiasm. This film may not have the flash and depth of some of Pixar’s newer efforts but to me its elements are endearing and timeless enough to elicit a positive response from audiences both young and old. I haven’t seen it in a number of years. I watched it with my kids who are now 17 and 15. All the great lines and funny moments came back to us as we found ourselves remembering what made it special 8 or 9 years ago when they were little. To me that speaks volumes. Films like a bug’s life are the kind that can be shared and enjoyed from one generation to the next. That is a testament to the quality of family oriented entertainment that comes the folks at Disney/Pixar. Fans will be pleased to hear that they have given it the star treatment on Blu-ray as it looks and sounds spectacular.
This is a family film that can be enjoyed by all.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
a bug’s life comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney/Pixar featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.6 mbps.
This is a reference quality high definition presentation that delivers superlative imagery. The video quality is visually arresting in its depiction of the film’s animated subjects. Detail and definition is impeccably rendered as images have a luminous and sparkling clarity that is appreciably three dimensional. It never left me wanting for fine degrees of subtle delineation and texture. The attention to detail in the construction of the animated characters physical features as well as objects within each frame is superb. I couldn’t get over the depth of the beautifully rendered colors. Colors are deeply saturated with lustrous vibrancy and succulent textures that literally leap off of the screen. Primaries are particularly vivid and exhibit visible gradational stages that bring out subtle degrees of separation. Each of the members of the circus troupe has distinctive physical qualities that are attributable to them not only in size and shape color as well. Blacks are rich with extended dynamic range and deep gradational highlights. The dark and shadowy confines of the insect city and darkened labyrinth within the anthill had excellent depth and discernible detail within objects in backgrounds. I have never seen this film looking this good, theatrically presented or otherwise.
The DTS-HD Master Audio sound quality is awesome. This is a fairly aggressive and complex sound design that truly benefits from the higher resolution that lossless audio offers. Dynamics are first rate as the elements contained within the soundtrack had definitive energy and bombastic potential. This played hand in hand with its superlative clarity and high level sonic detail. The music score plays an integral role in this presentation and I looked forward to hearing it for the first time in a high resolution surround mix. Right from the opening moments it was obvious that this was going to special. This is a beautifully crafted soundtrack that exudes the purity and emotion of the message within the music. The entire surround platform is used to present the instrumental performance. The front three channels and subwoofer carried the bulk of the audio with the surrounds providing ambience to seamlessly bridge the gap between the front and rear sound fields. The result is an engaging aural experience that is thoroughly satisfying. Instrument placement is discernible amidst the spatially wide soundstage. Brass instruments sound full bodied with smooth tonality and no signs of brittle or edgy highs. Dialogue is crystalline with appreciable inflection and non sibilant character. The auditory is rich in clarity and detail which allows the subtle environmental sounds in the recording to easily be heard. The mix creates a stable and immersive surround sound experience that achieves excellent balance so that all of the elements inherent in the recording can be realized. Low frequency detail is authoritative, clean and on occasion prodigious as it frequently fills the room with tactile low level bass energy. This is a thrilling, reference quality audio mix that is tailor made for showing off the capabilities of your home theater system.
- (HD) Geri’s game: 5 minute Pixar short film
- (HD) Filmmaker’s roundtable – 21 minutes featuring Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Darla Anderson, Kevin Reher
- (HD) A bug’s life first draft – 11 minute look at early script segments/ideas featuring Dave Foley
- (HD) Grasshopper & the Ants: A Walt Disney Silly Symphony cartoon from 1934 – 8 minutes
- Filmmaker’s audio commentary with John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and editor Lee Unkrich
- Pre-production featurettes – 5 segments totaling 35 minutes
- Design – Contains a huge assortment of concept art, character designs, storyboards etc.
- Production – Contains behind the scenes info, story reels, layouts, animation details, casting, and more
- (HD) Sound design – 13 minute featurette
- Release – 2 theatrical trailers, poster/ad campaigns
- (HD) Outtakes – 8 minutes worth that contain the original and alternate outtakes plus a short featurette that looks at its background
- BD-Live access – Includes Disney’s Movie chat, Movie challenge, Movie mail, Movie rewards
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc – Contains a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable media player
a bug’s life is a personal favorite of mine and I am thrilled that Disney has brought it to Blu-ray Disc. It is a wonderful family film that has an endearing charm and entertaining story that people of all ages can appreciate. Once again Disney’s high definition presentation doesn’t disappoint. This is a high quality audio/video presentation that enthusiasts are sure to appreciate. Disney has included a boat load of bonus supplements that include new Blu-ray Disc exclusives and a digital copy bonus disc. This is a worthy edition to every collection. Highly recommended.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package