A Bug's Life (Blu-ray) A Bug's Life (Blu-ray)
After one of his failed inventions destroys his ant colony's annual offering to the grasshoppers, Flick (voiced by David Foley) must venture off the anthill in search of some warrior bugs to help fend off the hungry predators. Unfortunately for Flick, the crew he hires to protect the colony turns out to be a group of down-and-out circus performers who think he's booking them for a gig.
Upstart Pixar Studios had some big shoes to fill with its sophomore effort after the wildly successful Toy Story. As it turns out, the studio wasn't a one hit wonder after all and has delivered hit after hit during the past 14 years. Why is that? My theory is it starts with a great story, compliments it with phenomenal animation, and then chooses actors who fit the characters' personalities. Other studios seem to look for big-name actors first, offer acceptable computer animation, and put the story lastit's easy to see why Pixar dominates this genre.
As expected, the AVC 1080p encode is spectacular. The vibrant colors leap off the screen, especially the bold primaries. Black levels are amazingly deep, particularly in the closing battle with the grasshoppers, and the exceptional contrast gives the image a three-dimensional quality. The digital-to-digital transfer has immaculate detail in both the foregrounds and backgrounds, as has been the case with every Pixar Blu-ray to date, but this is by far the most colorful.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is another home run from the studio, although the sound design isn't as aggressive on the lower end compared to Ratatouille, but that's a minor criticism of an otherwise reference-quality audio track. The imaging is marvelous across the front, and well-placed discrete effects extend to every speaker. The track exhibits exceptional frequency response and spot-on dynamic range.
The bonus features contain a mixture of both SD and HD content, much of which was found on the 2003 Collector's Edition DVD. There's an audio commentary from writer/director John Lasseter, co-writer Andrew Stanton, and editor Lee Unkrich. My favorite feature is the "Filmmakers' Round Table" (HD), a recently shot discussion with Lasseter, Stanton, and two of the producers reflecting upon the production, the pressure they were under to deliver a hit, and how they were invited to Camp David to screen the movie for President Clinton.
Other supplements include preproduction and behind-the-scenes featurettes, a storyboard piece from an early version of the script, design galleries, a Pixar short called "Geri's Game," outtakes, a Disney 1934 cartoon called "Silly Symphony," movie cash for Pixar's upcoming theatrical release of Up, and BD-Live functionality (Disney Chat, Movie Mail, Movie Challenge, and Movie Rewards). Last but not least is a digital copy of the film for use in a portable device.
There's not much more I can say about this fabulous release. Disney/Pixar have gone all-out with reference-quality audio and video and enough supplements, both new and old, to satisfy their fans. Highly recommended!
Release Date: May 19, 2009
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