Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Bugs! 3-D (2003)
U Contains giant images of carnivorous insects in action

From sci-fi classics like Them! and Tarantula to the more recent Eight Legged Freaks and Mimic, Hollywood has always liked terrorising audiences with big insects.

Bugs! continues this tradition, but with a twist - these are actual creepy-crawlies, magnified up to 250,000 times on the giant IMAX screen.

It's a great way to hold our attention, coupling our fascination with the natural world with the visceral thrill of seeing a spider the size of a house.

Not just spiders either - director Mike Slee packs the frame with scorpions, ants, crickets and katydids, not to mention the bats, vipers and lizards that prey on them.

The real predator, though, is a praying mantis dubbed Hierodula, whose life cycle is paralleled with the caterpillar, Papilio, that will eventually become his lunch.

Though we're encouraged to root for the humble herbivore against the ruthless carnivore, it's to Slee's credit that he does not attempt to soften the Darwinian rules of the jungle for our benefit. He is assisted here by narrator Judi Dench, her calm and modulated tones an ideal complement to material that could upset young children.

Bugs! covers a lot of ground in its 40 minutes: rhino beetles battling for the favours of a female, Hierodula's mating with a mantis twice his size, and Papilio's awe-inspiring metamorphosis from chrysalis to butterfly.

And for once the 3-D is more than just a gimmick, transporting the audience to a Borneo rainforest so lush and verdant you can almost feel the sunlight on your eyelids.

End Credits

Director: Mike Slee

Writer: Mike Slee, Abby Aron

Stars: Judi Dench

Genre: Documentary, Family

Length: 40 minutes

Cinema: 03 October 2003

Country: UK

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