Celebrating the Pixar end-credits bloopers

As A Bug’s Life arrives on Blu-ray in the UK, Simon takes a moment to celebrate one Pixar feature it ushered in with it: the blooper reel…

A Bug's Life

After the success of the original Toy Story, both in terms of the sheer amount of money it made, and the critical response it notched up, it’s fair to say that all eyes were on Pixar, to see just what the hardly-fledgling animation studio would come up with for its second full-length feature. The answer was, of course, A Bug’s Life, a charmingly overlooked tale, with more than a little subtext to it.

I’m something of a fan of A Bug’s Life, and it’s arguably the forgotten Pixar film. Yet even those who strangely seem to have shoved the film out of their head tend to remember what I’m going to briefly talk about here. We’re going to look at the bloopers.

I distinctly remember searching out a screening of A Bug’s Life with the bloopers attached, as word of mouth about them spread. And as much as I like the film itself, and I really do, I do distinctly recall walking out of the cinema, grinning from ear to ear at the genius of what Pixar had just run over the end credits. It’s yet another addition to the list of reasons as to why Pixar is quite the firm that it is. And when you sit down and consider the work involved in doing what it did, it’s quite incredible.

After all, when some bright spark at Pixar first came up with the idea of spoof bloopers, it was at a point where the firm was in a very different place to now. Pixar, at this point in time, could announce it was going to release a 90 minute film about a pot of jam, and the world would explode with glee. Off the back of the original Toy Story, the pressure really was on, with DreamWorks adding to it by shifting the release of Antz forward to before that of A Bug’s Life. And yet Pixar still dedicated time to the end credits bloopers. That’s some gamble, and one that richly paid off for my money.

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Just take a look at them to see why…

They’re great, aren’t they? Have a look at the Monsters, Inc bloopers, too…

Just think about what had to happen here, to make these happen. There are, after all, no creative bloopers as such on an animated film (you can look at DVDs such as Disney’s Dinosaur to see technical problems involved in CG rendering, but that’s far from the same thing). Everything Pixar put on screen here had to be written, animated, produced, voiced… in short, the near-five minutes of added material we got here, that nobody was expecting or would have minded if they hadn’t had got, was treated with the same love and care as the feature proper. 

So just consider the effort that Pixar put in, right down to bringing the talented voice cast in on the gag. Looking at A Bug’s Life specifically, take Kevin Spacey as Hopper, the villain who’s been put across as so sinister in the film beforehand. His delivery of the “I’ll be in my trailer” line is up there with anything in the film. Look, too, at when Flik tries the “To infinity, and beyond” line. In fact, instead of us waffling on, just take at look at the A Bug’s Life bloopers again. And enjoy some of the wonderfully dirty laughing, too.

Outtakes, we should note, are nothing fresh, and several live action features (Jackie Chan films, most notoriously), take great glee in adding bloopers to the end. The trend has dissipated with the onslaught of DVD, which adds the gag reel as a compulsory (and generally not very funny) inclusion on many blockbuster DVD releases, and this is a real pity.

Another interesting thing about the bloopers in A Bug’s Life, meanwhile, was that, if memory serves, when the film was cinematically released it enjoyed a second marketing push, off the back of the fact that these outtakes were included.

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Pixar added blooper reels to the end of Monsters, Inc and Toy Story 2, and has had fun in the credits of Cars and Finding Nemo as well, but it retired the practice, wisely, before it ran out of steam. It’s hardly surprising: after all, the scripting and construction of the bloopers was just as in-depth and tricky as putting the film itself together, and eventually, the firm was inevitably going to decide to direct some of its energies elsewhere. But it still found time to put in little treats, such as this sequence hiding at the end of Finding Nemo.

And it also spoofed its own films in the credits for Cars

It’s the evolution of the blooper policy we see in the clips above, and long may Pixar’s attention to detail rule. I love the fact that, even in areas where people might not be looking, the firm is still bothering, right to the last frame of its features.

But heck, I still miss the bloopers. And for me, they never really got better than those for A Bug’s Life. They proved to be a terrific, surprising and very funny addition, to a very charming, and underappreciated film. And they felt like a treat, rather than something we should expect every time. Thus, it’s right that they didn’t appear at the end of every film from that point onwards, and they were retired at just the right time.

All that said, though, it’d be great to see Pixar resurrect the practice for at least one of its upcoming features. But even if it doesn’t, you can trust that it’s up to no good somewhere in its end credits…

A Bug’s Life is available on Blu-ray now

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Finally: one more post-credits treat. They’re not bloopers or jokes, here, but just look at the beautiful end credits to Wall-E. A stunning piece of work…