My BluRay Shelf: 'A Bug's Life'
Does revisiting Pixar's second film do it any favors?
Pixar's second film is the Rodney Dangerfield of Pixar movies, the one that had to come after "Toy Story." Talk about a tough act to follow. Honestly, "Toy Story" is the closest modern equivalent we have to the original "Star Wars" in terms of impact on the rest of the industry, and it's a fantastic piece of storytelling, even removed from the technical innovations. So pretty much anything that came next would have taken a bit of a beating, and ten films down the road with this company that has one of the best track records in all of movies, the BluRay release of "A Bug's Life" seems like a perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at the film.
On its own, rewatching it with my son, I think it's very funny and often quite beautiful in an almost hallucinatory way. The film's got an odd palette that seems to be a technical choice as much as an artistic one, but I think the film definitely gets a bum rap in terms of how watchable and engaging it is. I mean, it's a riff on "Seven Samurai" starring a literal flea circus. What's not to like?
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Technically, this BluRay transfer glows, which is to be expected with any Pixar disc at this point, and especially when you're pulling something from a pure HD digital source. For any serious animation fan (or any BluRay ownin' geek parent), this is a tricked-out set worth owning. There's a great presentation of the original story pitch version of the film, which is different in a number of ways, and a wonderful round-table look back at the production of the movie. The Randy Newman score, one of his biggest, a sort of Gershwin-Americana thing, sounds fantastic, and the remixed soundtrack handles both the biggest sounds and the most subtle noises with equal aplomb.
This may be minor-key for Pixar, but it's still head and shoulders above most of what passes for "storytelling" from Hollywood these days, and all told, this is a worthy addition to any BluRay collection.
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