A Bug’s Life Blu-ray is reviewed as part of Disney presents its biggest and best ‘buy one get one free’ offer on over 30 DVD and Blu-ray titles - 26 September to 31 October 2011, so hurry while stocks last.
“The difficult second album” is a paradigm that has its parallel throughout the contemporary arts, not least in cinema. It is an expression used to illustrate the difficulty of the artist- or group of artists- emulating an initial overwhelming success. The very fact that this phenomenon exists in common critical parlance is enough to often profoundly affect those who may be subject to, thus making them apprehensive and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the case of Pixar, however, the weight of expectation must have been crushing following the resounding critical and commercial success of Toy Story, the company’s first feature film and the first full length CGI animation in history.
The film chosen to follow the technologically revolutionary Toy Story was A Bug’s Life, and far from succumbing to the inclination to produce a sequel or facsimile of their first feature length production, Pixar, through the writing and directing team of John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, created a far more visually expansive, thematically and politically radical piece than Toy Story could have begun to hint at. Taking a strong lead from Kurosawa epic The Seven Samurai and the Aesop fable The Ant and The Grasshoper, the duo crafted a romantic but considered allegory for the strength of a democratic syndicalism as a means to enshrining the worth an integrity of the individual, whilst simultaneously using the collective strength of their unity to resist the coercion of foreign imperialism.
The subject ant colony is presided over by a reasonably benevolent but demonstrably autocratic royal family and key advisors. The workers of said colony are highly organised, though lacking in self-confidence and determination, seeking authoritarian guidance and permission when faced with any situation that may depart from or impede strictly observed procedures. Flik (Dave Foley), the hero of the narrative, represents a free spirit, an inventor and innovator whose wilfulness and imagination are initially perceived to be at odds with the society’s oligarchic nature. The ant society, under the leadership of an aging queen and a proud but incompetent Princess (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), are compelled by the stronger and more aggressive grasshoppers, who fly down like the green skinned helicopters of an invading army, to gather vast stocks of food for the winter.
Flik’s quest to find “warrior insects” to defend the ant colony is what drives the film’s drama, and, as such, he is easily the most complete character within A Bug’s Life. A lack of confidence in his abilities, primarily due to the chastisements of Princess Atta and the colony elders, is what prevents him from taking advantage of his innate intellect and creativity, and his journey to and from the city and the menagerie of insects he accidentally hires from a failing fair that inspire him to provide the solution to the ants problems himself.
The circus insects too, are perfectly crafted and it is their unfettered creativity that both inspire the protagonist Flick to be all that he can, as well as their unique physical and artistic skills, provide the engine for a great deal of the adroitly paced chases, battle and various cliff-hanger moments. If any of the characters disappoint it is Princess Atta to whom, in spite of the threats and challenges she undoubtedly faces, it is very difficult to warm. It seems that the Princess is spoiled and stubbornly domineering in such a way that she channels little audience empathy and, as a consequence, is a less than ideal love interest for the inherently likeable Flik.
Aesthetically, it is clear that the animator’s grasp of their technology’s potential has grown exponentially, and the detailed rendering of images has allowed them to create a genuine sense of depth and tactility that can at times enrapture. Aside from such visual achievements however, it is the radical, political, thematic base- and the skill with which it is explored- that made A Bug’s life such a unique achievement, especially given its target audience and commercial success. Its dénouement, in which the triumph of the ants rural collective over the powerful invaders through greater individual expression and democratic input in the governance of their community in place of the older, dictatorial order.
As with most Pixar release the Blu-ray is packed full of special treats and goodies on the extra’s. Not only is there the majority of the material that was on the 2003 Collector’s Edition DVD carried over but also some newly made exclusives. Full list below;
A Bug’s Life arrives on Blu-ray with a surprisingly robust supplemental package that not only revisits the material included on the 2003 Collector’s Edition DVD, but tacks on some meaty exclusive content all its own. The only downside is that a small portion of the featurettes are presented in standard definition.
Audio Commentary: Writer/director John Lasseter, co-writer Andrew Stanton, and editor Lee Unkrich
Filmmakers’ Round Table (HD, 21 minutes)
Preproduction Featurettes (HD/SD, 34 minutes)
Behind the Scenes Featurettes (HD/SD, 29 minutes)
The First Draft (HD, 11 minutes)
Geri’s Game (HD, 5 minutes)
Outtakes (HD, 8 minutes)
Publicity Materials: Trailers, a poster gallery, and a handful of animated publicity spots.
Grasshopper & the Ants (HD, 8 minutes)
Disney presents its biggest and best ‘buy one get one free’ offer on over 30 DVD and Blu-ray titles - 26 September to 31 October 2011, so hurry while stocks last.
Packed full of exciting releases, Disney presents its biggest and best ‘buy one get one free’ offer ever to run 26 September to 31 October 2011, so hurry while stocks last.
This fantastic offer features exciting new releases including; Tron: Legacy and Tangled Blu-ray as well as Disney classics such as Beauty & The Beast, Dumbo and Fantasia.
Over 30 Blu-ray and DVD titles will be available in the offering and presenting the perfect gift for your partner, the little ones in your life or just for you and your friends for a magical night in. Don’t delay; make sure you pick up the bargain of the year today!
Kick start your Christmas shopping and get more from Disney.
Full List of Disney Blu-ray and DVD Titles Include:
DVD and Blu-ray Titles
- Toy Story 3
- Tron Alice (Animated)
- Princess and the Frog
- Dumbo SE
- Monsters Inc
- Toy Story SE
- Toy Story 2 SE
- Tink 3
- Fantastia 2000
- Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure
- A Bug’s Life
- The Incredibles
- Tron Original Classic
- Chicken Little
- Meet the Robinsons
DVD Titles Include
- Beauty and the Beast
- Aladdin Muscial Masterpiece
- Finding Nemo
- Robin Hood SE
- Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary
- Lemonade Mouth
- Fox and the Hound
- The Rescuers
- Black Couldron
Other DVD Titles Include:
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks
- Emperor’s New Groove
- Oliver and Company
- Tink 1
- Tink 2
- Pixar Short Film Collection
- Sword in the Stone
- Bambi 2
Other Blu-ray Titles Include:
- Camp Rock 2