A Bug's Life Revisited

(Infinity and Beyond is a bi-weekly series in which Josh Spiegel looks back at the history and making of every feature in Pixar’s filmography. In today’s column, he takes a look at the 1998 film A Bug’s Life.)

As the story goes, documented in the David Price book The Pixar Touch (and mentioned in an early teaser for the 2008 sci-fi film WALL-E), a year or so before the release of Toy Story, there was a lunch. A number of the creatives involved in the making of the first fully computer-animated feature — John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Joe Ranft, and Andrew Stanton, among others — got together to figure out what they would do if the best-case scenario occurred. What if Toy Story became a hit? What would they do next?

A number of important ideas — including that of WALL-E, but we have a long way to go before we get to that story — were pitched during that lunch. One that held a certain appeal was a story all about a colony of ants. The lead would be a nerdy type whose unorthodox manner put him at odds with the rest of his colony, even though he would manage to woo and romance the ant princess and eventually live happily ever after. The idea got the green-light and Pixar proceeded as planned.

But the studio, when they released A Bug’s Life in November of 1998, would seem as if they were a month late with this concept. Because to the untrained eye, it sure looked like another computer-animated film, and another animation studio, beat them to the punch. 

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better call saul season 5 teaser

AMC presented a Better Call Saul season five panel for the Television Critics Association yesterday. During the panel, creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould revealed that AMC has renewed them for a sixth season, which will be their final season. Throughout the panel, they elaborated more on the end of the Breaking Bad spinoff.

Season five sees Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) fully embrace his Saul Goodman persona, who becomes Walter White’s money laundering lawyer. Better Call Saul returns February 23 on AMC.

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The Walking Dead: World Beyond Crossovers

AMC Networks announced the premiere date for The Walking Dead: World Beyond, along with premiere dates for its returning shows in their Television Critics Associations session. Better Call Saul season 5, Ride with Norman Reedus and the new series Dispatches from Elsewhere were part of those announcements. 

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the simpsons apu

/Film has been covering the issue of Apu on The Simpsons since Hank Azaria addressed Hari Kondabolu’s documentary The Problem with Apu two years ago. The issue gained more attention when The Simpsons produced an episode, “No Good Read Goes Unpunished”, that specifically addressed it. 

Voice actor Hank Azaria told Stephen Colbert he would be willing to step aside as the voice, but subsequent to that, Al Jean and Matt Groening have preferred not to talk about Apu in interviews with /Film. After a panel for the final season of his IFC series Brockmire, Azaria himself answered /Film’s question about Apu.

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The Plot Against America Series

HBO presented a Television Critics Association panel on their miniseries The Plot Against America, adapted from Philip Roth’s book. Writer and executive producer David Simon was on a panel with cast members Zoe Kazan, Morgan Spector, Winona Ryder, Anthony Boyle and John Turturro. The book and the show tell a story of a world in which Charles Lindbergh ran against FDR and got elected President of the United States in 1940. 

The story deals with anti-Semitism in World War II, as a different American President, and one with anti-Semitic leanings, alters the course of history.

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Crisis on Infinite Earths Review

(Welcome to The Clock Tower, where we’ll break down the goings on of the The CW network’s Arrowverse. We’ll touch on things like themes, cultural impact, lead-ins to major events, ships, and more every week! Warning: this Clock Tower is filled with spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.)

Every major event, whether it be on the big screen or small, tells you that its world will never be the same by the time the credits roll. I’m pleasantly surprised to report that Crisis on Infinite Earths managed to deliver on that promise in spades. After a long break, the Arrowverse’s biggest crossover yet concluded in a spectacular fashion. Though I personally felt that the first three episodes were stronger as a whole, a lot went down in the last two episodes that truly does change the landscape of DC forever.

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Avenue 5 Trailer

Armando Iannucci is back on HBO, but this time, he’s not making another political comedy. The Veep mastermind created the science fiction comedy Avenue 5. There series follows a deep space passenger flight in the future where something goes wrong and neither the captain (Hugh Laurie) nor the tech mogul (Josh Gad) who funded it are equipped to handle it. 

Iannucci revealed some Easter eggs during the panel, including a gag about the fate of Virgin magnate Richard Branson, and the science that leads to the comedy. Avenue 5 premieres Sunday, January 19 on HBO.

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Starz first announced plans for a series set in the John Wick universe in January 2017, one year after the success of John Wick Chapter 2 in theaters. There have been sporadic updates on the series at each TCA and this year was no exception.

Starz President and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch gave an executive session for the Television Critics Association and /Film asked for an update on The Continental

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Green Lantern - Grant Morrison

WarnerMedia had its first Television Critics Association panel for HBO Max since they named their upcoming streaming service. HBO Max Chief Content Officer Kevin Reilly previewed the service last year, but it was still untitled at the time. In their October investor presentation, HBO Max revealed one of their originals is a Green Lantern series from producer Greg Berlanti.

Reilly had an update on Berlanti’s Green Lantern series for the TCA. That led to further questions for Reilly about the future of DC Universe, the company’s current standalone streaming service with originals Titans, Doom Patrol, Harley Quinn and the short-lived Swamp Thing.

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The Magicians Do Something Crazy Review

This post contains spoilers for the season 5 premiere (naturally), but also the season 4 finale.

Last season’s finale of The Magicians was a doozy for fans; Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), one of the main characters of the show, dramatically sacrifices himself in order to save his friends and bring magic back into the world. Death, especially in fantasy, can be an impermanent state of being. But showrunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara made it clear at the end of Season 4 that Quentin would very likely remain dead and gone.

Unsurprisingly, the impact of Quentin’s death is a major force in Season 5, and not only to those who loved Quentin and are grieving his loss; Quentin’s death also released an unprecedented influx of magic into the universe, and Earth as well as Fillory must now deal with the consequences. The last few minutes of the Season 4 finale touched on some of those potential consequences: Margo and Eliot are trapped in Fillory 300 years in the future; Julia gets her magic back because of her pain from Quentin’s death; and the now-broken Library is seeking help from a grief-stricken Alice. The beginning of this season builds on these developments and more—read on to get a spoiler-full take of what happens in Season 5’s first episode, “Do Something Crazy.” 

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