Animal Planet’s “The World’s Biggest and Baddest Bugs” Studio: Discovery Channel Year: 2008 (Blu-ray release 2009) Rated: NR Film Length: 87 minutes Aspect Ratio: Full screen matted for widescreen televisions Languages: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Stereo 2.0 The Show A journey like the one taken on Animal Planet’s “The World’s Biggest and Baddest Bugs” is best enjoyed on a big screen with a high resolution, preferably by anybody who isn’t an entomophobic. The presentation of each individual insect is handled with fantastic detail, and each bug is given its own segment. This feature is shown as one 87 minute presentation, but in truth the movie is actually divided up into two halves: one that’s dedicated to the biggest bugs on the planet, and the other for the baddest bugs. Hosted by Ruud Kleinpaste (yes, that’s his real name) with a tilt leaning more toward a younger audience, this is still an incredibly informative show for people of all ages. In what turned out to be a very interesting method of presentation, Ruud will provide details about a particular insect, its natural environment, defenses, feeding traits, but as an added bonus he uses real life examples to illustrate particular elements of these insect’s way of life. For example, when Ruud gets to the segment regarding the praying mantis, he is instructed by his production crew to go and have a sparring session with a mantis-technique trained martial arts expert. The point is to show the audience how a mantis will fight away a larger attacker that is trying to eat it, and the demonstration is very effective since this martial expert is easily two feet shorter than Ruud yet she manages to drop him to the mat fairly easily. Personally, the most effective demonstrations of the power of insects were demonstrated in the two must-see scenes on the disc. The first is Ruud’s desire to test out the level of pain inflicted by the sting of a bullet ant. The other is the final segment of show where he is covered with over fifty thousand Africanized honey bees (aka Killer bees). Picture Quality The picture on this release is nothing short of spectacular. These types of Discovery Channel documentaries have been used as retailer demos for HD content for years, and this release from Animal Planet is no exception. “Biggest and Baddest Bugs” spans the entire globe, and the high definition picture really shows off the gorgeous locales that Ruud travels to for those insects. Naturally, the star of the show here isn’t the vistas or the sunsets, but the up-close views of the insects. Blu-ray delivers quality that can’t be duplicated anywhere else, and these insects are brought to life with detail and quality that is startling, and certainly not for the squeamish. For the most part, bugs don’t make me skittish, but even the close-ups of the cockroaches made me squirm in my seat. Audio Quality There isn’t really much to report regarding the audio quality for “Biggest and Baddest Bugs”. Other than Ruud’s narration through the central channel, the other speakers are barely used at all. Considering the content here, this isn’t a big deal and nothing worth marking as a negative feature. The audio could be 1.0 and it wouldn’t change the impact of the content at all. Special Features “Biggest and Baddest Bugs” doesn’t have any special features, so nothing to really report here.