A Bug’s Life Review

Colin Polonowski has reviewed the Region 2 DVD release of A Bug’s Life

A Bugs Life – the most hyped DVD since Armageddon – is finally here. Unlike Armageddon, this is one does deserve the hype.
The film tells the story of Flik – an inventive if somewhat misguided ant. After one mistake too many he leaves in search of some “warrior bugs” to protect the colony from the greedy grasshoppers. He runs into a group of Circus bugs who agree to return with him – he is unaware that they are just Circus bugs and not the warriors he went looking for…

The World’s First…

I’m pretty sure that if you visit the uk.media.dvd newsgroup or any of the many DVD web sites out in cyberspace you must already know that A Bugs Life is the first DVD to be created directly from a digital source. This means that it is pumped straight from the computers at Pixar on to this disc – it hasn’t gone via any sort of film which means that the picture is nothing less than perfect.

On top of this the transfer in Anamorphic which puts the Region 2 release far in advance of the Region 1 release. To sum up, there are no artifacts, no specs of dust and no flaws in the display – it’s by far and away the best picture seen on DVD to date.

The film really is brought to life with the bright vibrant colours and pin sharp graphics – there is not a pixel out of place. This excellent picture is accompanied by an equally perfect Dolby Digital soundtrack – also directly transferred – there can be no argument that this disc is near enough the perfect demo disc. All 5.1 DD channels are put to good use and there are plenty of occasions when your subwoofer comes into play.

I can’t emphasise the point enough – if you want the best disc available in terms of audio-visual excellence, there is no doubt that this is the one you want!

On top of all this, this disc is also the first Buena Vista release to contain Extras! Yes, that’s right – Extras on a Buena Vista DVD!

To start with there are two versions of the movie – one widescreen 2.35:1 and the other full screen – 1.33:1. However, this is no dodgy pan&scan job – the 4:3 picture supposedly doesn’t loose anything compared to the widescreen one. The guys at Pixar have actually recomposed a number of shots so that nothing is missed off – everything theoretically should fit into the 4:3 frame. There are occasions when this is not the case, but thankfully they are rare and Pixar should be congratulated on their initiative.

Also included is a short film entitled “Geri’s Game”. It’s an Oscar winning animation created by Pixar in 1997 and is very impressive… Finally, we’ve got two set’s of “Hillarious” outtakes – basically the sort of thing you see on It’ll Be Alright On The Night, but faked!

All of the Extras are Anamorphic – no corners have been cut here!

In Conclusion

There is one area where A Bug’s Life isn’t quite as perfect. If you have seen Antz you’ll probably feel that A Bug’s Life doesn’t quite match it in terms of story – that said this is still an excellent movie and can be enjoyed by both children and adults. If you liked Toy Story or Antz, this is more of the same – you can’t help but like it.

I can’t really recommend this disc enough – it’s one release which does deserve to be in everyone’s collection and I’m glad to have bought it. There aren’t any stumbling blocks, but one thing I would have like to see would have been a featurette on how the film was put together – if done correctly it could be very interesting! Also, where’s the theatrical trailer? Not that it matters, it’s just something else I would have liked. The Extras while excellent in terms of quality, aren’t quite up there in quantity terms when compared to some releases.

If you hadn’t guessed, I really like this disc! Come to think of it, why are you sat there reading this review when you could be spending the time either watching the film! If you haven’t got it yet GO GET IT NOW!

Colin Polonowski

Updated: Feb 27, 1999

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