Friday, June 28, 2013

Disneyland Review: it's tough to be a bug

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Some fun 3D and good message...
Cons: ...ruined by a scary middle section
The Bottom Line
Potential goodness
Made scary for young, phobic
So not a must do

Potentially Good Environmental Message Ruined by Scary Presentation

I’m a sucker for most of the 3D movies Disney has in their parks.  But I have never warmed to it’s tough to be a bug.  I just tried it again this weekend, and it still isn’t my idea of fun.

This show was imported from Disney World and is located in California Adventure on the main path from the entrance to Paradise Pier on the border of a bug’s land.  The line takes you down to a theater that has walls and a ceiling molded to look like you’re in an underground dirt cave.  It’s pretty cool.  There’s never a line for this one when I’m there.

The show features Flik and Hopper from a bug’s life, but aside from a few cameos those are the only characters from the movie to appear.

Flik starts out the nine minute show by welcoming us and making us honorary bugs so we can learn how amazing they really are.  We put on our “bug eyes” (the 3D glasses) and things get underway.  We’re treated to a great effect as the curtain turns into butterflies that fly away and we meet a tarantula that shoots at acorns (over the audience) and a soldier termite who mistakes us for intruders and spits “acid” (water) at us.  We are even “treated” to the spray of a stink bug.  Last time, this wasn’t that strong a smell, but I remember thinking it was pretty bad in the past.

But here’s where things turn dark, literally and figuratively.  Hopper appears and is furious with Flik for having the humans there.  We are enemies.  As evidence, he presents a montage of the creature features made with insects.  Then he has video of humans killing insects.  He turns the tables on us and sprays us with insecticide (another foul smelling gas), then has hornets sting us (the seats poke us in the back) before black widow spiders drop from the ceiling to try to grab us.  All of this happens in a theater that has gone dark with occasional flashing lights.  It’s downright scary.

Finally, a chameleon comes out that chases Hopper away, leaving Flik to role the final number which sings the praises of bugs.  There’s good info here, but it comes so fast it’s hard to catch it all.

I’m not at all opposed to the message of the show.  Insects do a great many things we need in our world, and we shouldn’t needlessly torture or kill them.  Much of the beginning and ending is a fun use of 3D and the special effects theater.  However, the part with Hopper is way too intense.  You know nothing will happen to you, but it’s still scary, especially for young kids or those with insect phobias.

So I recommend you only see it’s tough to be a bug if you are looking to kill a little time and aren’t easily frightened.  It’s certainly not worth a long wait to see.

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