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|Home: BigScreen Journal - DVD Review: The Ant Bully|
The Ant Bully
DVD - Single-disc
Warner Home Video 73668 - Region 1
List Price: $28.98 (Check Price at Amazon.com)
Available on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray on 11/28/2006.
A boy who delights in destroying ant hills in his front yard is shrunken down to ant size and taken deep below the ant hill to be placed on trial for "crimes against the colony."
Sentenced to live among the ants and learn their ways to win his freedom, he finds himself in an incredible landscape teeming with life - and peril - that he never noticed or even imagined before, and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.
My copy of the DVD came with a cardboard slipcover that had a lenticular front which shows an anti-sized Lucas and alternately, his ant friends with him (which is the view you see of the cover above).
This DVD has an incredible picture! Not an artifact was to be found and the quality of the imagery really shines through. The average video bit rate that I found by sampling various scenes hovered around 5.6Mbps and often went as high as 8Mbps. I can imagine that the high definition HD DVD and Blu-ray discs really do this movie justice.
Pixar is known for its high quality renderings of characters and landscapes, but the artists behind this movie should be proud of their achievements! Pixar still has the edge when it comes to animating facial expressions to voices, which creates a little less of a connection between the animated characters and the stars who are voicing them.
While the picture was impressive, the sound mix wasn't. Every once in a while, you get a burst of surround and LFE action, but those moments are few and far between. Whether this is good or bad is up to the individual, but the lack of a high-caliber soundfield doesn't detract from the story. It just won't make a good audio demo disc for your home theater.
I like to see the theatrical trailer included with every movie, which is a feature that's becoming less common. I think it provides a nice context in which to understand how the studio was marketing the movie to audiences at time of theatrical release. The Additional scenes are interesting, but they make you glad that a judicious editor decided that they weren't essential to the movie and wisely cut them out to keep the story going. They do flesh out some of the scenes, however.
The Animated Shorts are good, as is the featurette It Takes a Colony. The "TV screensaver" Ant Habitat and the hidden Easter Egg that can be accessed to the left of it are evidence that the animators had a little extra free time on their hands.
This movie was a casualty of a wealth of animated movies being released in 2006. I admit that I wasn't very interested in watching it; a feeling that continued through the first third of the story. However, it grew on me as the movie progressed, and the message that it communicates about having empathy for others and how one bully should not be allowed to intimidate a multitude of others just because he is bigger is done well.
If you didn't see this movie when it was released in theaters, and even if you don't think this is worth watching because of whatever preconceived impressions you may have about it, I recommend giving it a chance!
Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the DVD.
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