Cert: U Runtime: 95 mins Director: John Lasseter & Andrew Stanton Cast: Kevin Spacey, Dave Foley, Hayden Panettiere and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
It’s a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess. One of those Circle of Life kind of things. Now let me tell you how things are supposed to work: The sun grows the food, the ants pick the food, the grasshoppers eat the food…
A Bug’s Life is one of those forgotten gems from the Pixar vault, after being asked to make it my blast from the past this week I thought I would re-visit the wonder that is A Bug’s Life.Flik (David Foley) is a lone ant living with his colony on Ant Island who’s not really friends with anyone. He seems to always mess things up. You see, in the buggy bug world of this movie, ants collect food over the seasons to feed to the greedy and bullying grasshoppers, lead by the menacing Hopper (Kevin Spacey). When Flik messes up, Hopper commands the ants to give him and his gang twice as much food as before or they’ll be tearing up Ant Island. Commanded by Princess Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Flik journeys across the world of insects and finally comes along with a gang of circus bugs. However, will these circus bugs be any help the army of grasshopper.
A Bug’s Life, for me, never reaches the height of humor, wit and emotion as the Pixar perfects like Toy Story 1-2, Monsters, Inc. I’d say it’s the weakest of the Pixar films. However, with it still being a Pixar production, it is probably one of the better children’s flicks made in 1998. It’s still better than the somewhat forgettable Antz and is even maybe a bit more ‘adult’ than the others (besides the Toy Story movies). Inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, A Bug’s Life is one heck of a wild ride into the world of computer animation.The film is probably more visually-impressive than Pixar’s previous Toy Story was never reaches the brilliant animation of Finding Nemo. The facial animation particularly is amazing compared to first Toy movie. It didn’t seem so much like computer animation than a fully-realized world. Even the backdrops and set animation was a joy to look at. Bug’s Life has a little more freedom than Toy Story in terms of animation simply because of it’s setting. This movie unravels a world, much like the other Pixar films, where anything is possible. It just has a lot more to do, being in the open earth instead of being stuck in a kid’s bedroom.
The film’s main problem is that it just isn’t as imaginative as Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. or even the splashy fish tale Finding Nemo. There is a joyful little scene where Flik searches a bug city of gigantic proportions (for us, minature proportions) for warrior bugs to lend a hand against the grasshoppers. This scene is probably the best that appears. Bugs of every shape and size (even a towering spider) move and act like in a normal city, buildings being replaced by cracker boxes and empty pop bottles. Even a tin can acts as a bug bar. This, however, is the only scene bursting with imagination, on the other hand Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story 2 have millions of sequences full of wit. Much of the movie features ants and the group of circus bugs. Finding Nemo has countless new things to look at in every scene.However, it still is Pixar, it still is a marvel of pacing and is still a marvel of beauty. When Pixar creates a movie, the movie is sure to be an instant classic, and A Bug’s Life is no exception. Much like Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, Pixar cranks out masterpieces like first-class restaurants dish out food. It comes so quick and the meal is so nourishing and delicious that you’re just craving more. Hopefully this studio has another twenty or thirty films in need of releasing. Sooner or later Pixar will notice that Disney are only the training wheels and when they’re ready, they’ll be hammering them to the ground. Nowadays, Disney’s films are a bit more forgetable yet Pixar’s are bursting with classical magic, much like Disney in their golden years. Let’s just hope they stay forever.7.9/10