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A Bug's Life: Collector's Edition

This immensely entertaining animated film from Pixar is part Seven Samurai and part Wild Bunch with a family-friendly Disney sheen over the production. An ant colony finds themselves under the jackboots of vicious grasshoppers who use them to generate a food supply, so they send bumbling, intellectual Flik (Dave Foley) to recruit some insect warriors to defend the colony when the grasshoppers return at the end of the season. In the "big city" (which is actually some garbage outside of a trailer), Flik finds his warriors and convinces them to return with him to the colony, unaware that the eclectic group are in fact circus performers — and cowardly circus performers at that. When it comes to animated entertainment, A Bug's Life is as good as you will find, with eye-popping details, plenty of action, and very funny voice-overs from Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary, David Hyde Pierce, Michael McShane, Phyllis Diller, Madeline Kahn, John Ratzenberger, and Roddy McDowall (in his last film). Disney's "Collector's Edition," arriving several months after the initial DVD release, includes the reference-standard transfer from the original digital source (no telecine process was involved) in both widescreen and adjusted full-frame editions, as well as the Academy Award-winning Pixar short "Geri's Game." The numerous additional supplements on this two-disc behemoth include a filmmakers' commentary and isolated music and sound-effects tracks and disc one, while disc two offers introductions by the filmmakers; a "behind-the-scenes" look at the production; the original story treatment and "pitch boards"; a storyboard-to-film split-screen comparison; early production tests; "abandoned" sequences; trailers and posters (domestic and international); a brief segment with sound designer Gary Ryderstrom; a look at how the film was recomposed to the 1.33:1 full-frame edition; and both "outtake" reels and a look at how they were created. As director John Lasseter noted, "What goes on behind the scenes here is just too cool not to show everyone." A Bug's Life: Collector's Edition isn't just a great collectable DVD, its a fascinating tour of the Pixar studios and worth the hefty retail price for fans of the movie.

(Editor's note: A Bug's Life is also available in a movie-only edition with the "Geri's Game" short at a lower price.)

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