Film: A Bug's Life

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Film:

A Bug's Life

Director: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Walt Disney Video

There was a rare magic on the big screen in 1995, when the people at Pixar came up with the first fully computer-animated film, Toy Story, and their second feature film, A Bug’s Life, may miss the bull’s-eye but Pixar’s target is so lofty that it’s hard to find the film anything less than irresistible. Brighter and more colourful than the other animated insect movie of 1998 (Antz), A Bug’s Life is the sweetly told story of Flik (voiced by David Foley), an ant searching for better ways to be a bug. His colony unfortunately revolves…

Reviews

Amazon.com

There was a rare magic on the big screen in 1995, when the people at Pixar came up with the first fully computer-animated film, Toy Story, and their second feature film, A Bug’s Life, may miss the bull’s-eye but Pixar’s target is so lofty that it’s hard to find the film anything less than irresistible. Brighter and more colourful than the other animated insect movie of 1998 (Antz), A Bug’s Life is the sweetly told story of Flik (voiced by David Foley), an ant searching for better ways to be a bug. His colony unfortunately revolves around feeding and fearing the local grasshoppers (lead by Hopper, voiced with gleeful menace by Kevin Spacey). When Flik accidentally destroys the seasonal food supply for the grasshoppers he decides to look for help (“We need bigger bugs!”). The ants, led by Princess Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), are eager to dispose of the troublesome Flik. Yet he finds help—a hearty bunch of bug warriors—and brings them back to the colony. Unfortunately they are just travelling performers, afraid of conflict. As with Toy Story, the ensemble of creatures and voices is remarkable and often inspired. Highlights include wiseacre comedian Denis Leary as an un-ladylike ladybird, Joe Ranft as the German-accented caterpillar, David Hyde Pierce as a stick insect and Michael McShane as a pair of unintelligible woodlice. The scene-stealer is Atta’s squeaky-voiced sister, baby Dot (Hayden Panettiere), who has a big soft spot for Flik. More gentle and kid-friendly than Antz, A Bug Life’s still has some good suspense and a wonderful demise in store for the villain. However, the film—a worldwide hit—will be remembered for its most creative touch: “outtakes” over the end credits à la many live-action comedy films. These dozen or so scenes (both “editions” of outtakes are contained here) are brilliant and deserve a special place in film history right along with 1998’s other most talked-about sequence: the opening Normandy invasion in Saving Private Ryan. —Doug Thomas

Barnes and Noble

A Bug’s Life, produced by the same studio and creative team responsible for Toy Story, gleefully expands the nearly limitless boundaries of computer animation with innovative imagery and sophisticated storytelling techniques. The film’s protagonist is Flik (voiced by Dave Foley), a brilliant but socially awkward ant who labors to free his colony from the tyranny of thuggish grasshoppers led by Hopper (Kevin Spacey). When one of Flik’s labor-saving inventions backfires and scatters an offering of grain collected to mollify the grasshoppers, our hero enlists the aid of performing insects, who impersonate fearless warriors apparently eager to do battle with the green-skinned, multi-legged bullies. Witty scripting and peppy vocal performances go a long way toward delineating the characters, and the three-dimensional Pixar animation creates the illusion that they really exist. Their fluidity of movement, coupled with the dramatic interplay of light and shadow, facilitates the willing suspension of disbelief that will enable viewers of all ages to enjoy A Bug’s Life. Ed Hulse

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