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A Bug's Life (1998)

  Directed by: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton
Written by: John Lasseter, Don McEnery, Joe Ranft, Bob Shaw, Andrew Stanton
Starring: Phyllis Diller, Dave Foley, David Hyde Pierce, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Hayden Panettiere, Kevin Spacey
Links: A Bug's Life on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 8.00 (2 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 53rd of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

A Bug's Life (1998) is also mentioned in mino's review of Blow (2001), mino's review of Finding Nemo (2003), citizenjoe's review of Finding Nemo (2003), mino's review of Ice Age (2002), pearly's review of Monsters, Inc. (2001), pearly's review of Shark Tale (2004), citizenjoe's review of The Incredibles (2004) and pearly's review of Toy Story (1995).

"Showing Disney how" - a review by mino

In a way, the recent news that Disney is basically closing down its traditional 2-D animation department was, for those folk who are fans of animated movies, terribly sad. The Disney studios went through a very bad patch in the 70s and 80s, but their run of top-quality films in the late 80s-early 90s — Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), and the like — was a very welcome shot in the arm for a struggling industry. In a way, it's sad to see that go, replaced by Pixar-style computer-generated animation. Then, though, you look at the fine fine movies Pixar have produced since Toy Story (1995)Toy Story 2 (1999), Monsters, Inc. (2001) — and compare them to the tepid swill that Disney have reduced themselves to in a comparable period (Mulan (1998), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), The Emperor's New Groove (2000)) and you realise that maybe Disney's time is well and truly up.

A Bug's Life is a classic example of what Disney 2-D can't seem to do right, and Pixar can do brilliantly. Like the Disney movies of old, A Bug's Life is a colourful, wonderful, imaginative film which enraptures little kiddies, but contains plenty of entertainment value for the whole family. Yeah, I know, ‘family-friendly’ usually means ‘boring’; but in this case, it really doesn't.

A Bug's Life is the charming story of Flik, an enterprising young ant who can never seem to get anything right. When he causes an accident which destroys his colony's stockpile of seed, he's in big trouble — not least because the seed isn't even for the ants, but rather tribute to a gang of particularly evil grasshoppers who are running a kind of protection racket. To get Flik out of their hair, the other ants send him off into town to find some warrior bugs to fend off the grasshoppers. Unfortunately for Flik, instead of warriors he returns with a bunch of performing circus bugs, who are hardly up to the task (or are they? Well, it's not rocket science to guess…).

The great thing about A Bug's Life, as with the other Pixar films, is the sense of humour. For kids' movies, Pixar films generally contain more laughs than most Hollywood comedies produced these days, and this is no exception. The whole movie is crammed full of hilarious characters, clever visual gags, and great dialogue, backed up with some wonderful voice talent. While A Bug's Life has a rather stellar cast, the standouts are probably Kevin Spacey as the wonderfully menacing grasshopper leader, Hayden Panettiere as ant princess Dot, and the delightfully daffy David Hyde Pierce as a rather neurotic stick insect, but there are many many more great voice roles here which really make the movie come to life.

As with all Pixar movies, the quality of the animation is astounding, though obviously a little less polished than with, say, Finding Nemo (2003). Compared to the rather bland offerings served up by Disney proper of late, it's easy to see why people stay away from them in droves while associate Pixar's movies are so refreshingly different and interesting to watch.

As with most animated kiddy flicks, the plot isn't exactly unpredictable; but the movie itself is so much fun to watch, and holds up so well on repeated viewings, that there are certainly worse movies for your kids to have in their DVD collection.

mino gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 12 Jul 2004

"It's life, Jim, but not as we know it" - a review by pearly

A Bug's Life is classic Disney/Pixar. It's a fairytale about believing in yourself and not being afraid of Kevin Spacey, no matter how threateningly freakish his eyes look.

Flik is an inventive little ant who is constantly coming up with new ways to improve the way of life for himself and the rest of his ant buddies. Unfortunately for him, some of his ideas don't work out too well, and he manages to dump the entire season's worth of seeds that they've collected as an offering to the grasshoppers into the lake, and it's only moments before the grasshoppers are due to arrive. As punishment, Princess Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who is in training to be queen ant, tells Flik that he must leave and find some burly bugs to help them defeat the grasshoppers.

Flik's journey into the big, bad bug world is great fun to watch. The tiny critters have built themselves homes and shops from old cans of food and other found objects. Everywhere you look there's something interesting to be seen, and figuring out how each of these giant bug items compare to their original human use adds another level of interest to the movie. And then there's the circus folk he meets up with - some of the most memorable characters in the whole film, like the fat German caterpillar and the ladybug who is actually male.

A Bug's Life was also the first animated film I can remember to have crazy credits, with a series of supposed outtakes / bloopers. I remember thinking how ingenious this was when I first saw it. It's just a little added extra which makes the film even better.

A Bug's Life is a visual treat, funny and exciting throughout, and appealing to both kids and older folk. It suffered a bit at the box office, possibly due to its release in such close proximity to the similar Antz (1998), but it is certainly worth checking out.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 21 Jan 2004

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 8.00
Lowest rating: 8 (by mino, pearly)
Highest rating: 8 (by mino, pearly)
Rating Percentage

Reader comments

  1. sexy movie

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from boob on Wed 24 Nov 2004 01:29 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (1 rating)

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