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15 Bugs! 3-D (2003)

updated 29th September 2003
reviewer's rating
four star
Reviewed by Neil Smith
User Rating 4 out of 5


Director
Mike Slee
Writer
Mike Slee
Abby Aron
Stars
Judi Dench
Length
40 minutes
Distributor
The Film Consortium
Cinema
3rd October 2003
Country
UK
Genre
Documentary
Web Links
Visit the official site


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Average rating:
4 from 59 votes


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.

"Bugs!" is released in selected UK cinemas on Friday 3rd October 2003.

Find out more about "Bugs! 3-D" at
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