A BUG'S LIFE, 1998
Cast: Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Hayden Panettiere, Phyllis Diller, Richard Kind, David Hyde Pierce, Denis Leary, Madeline Kahn, Bonnie Hunt
Once every year, some grasshoppers come to an anthill and eat what the ants have made. One year, a bug named Flik by accident drops the seeds into the river. The grasshoppers give the ants one last chance to find the food by the next season. Flik goes off to find help, and meets up with a circus crew, giving the ants some hope.
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A Bug’s Life is the second feature computer animated film by Pixar and released by Disney. Again for the second time Pixar proves that it really has a handle not only on great computer generated graphics, but on compelling storytelling as well. The creators have truly tapped into a world that appeals to both kids and adults with having to patronize to either group.
Every year, a group of grasshoppers come to the anthill and eat what the ants have gathered for them. The "offering", as the ants call the ritual, is a part of their fate. One day in spring, when the offering's preparation has just been finished, Flik, an unpopular inventor, accidentally drops the whole offered seeds into the river.
The grasshoppers come and give the ants a second chance to collect food until fall. Flik desperately wants to set everything right again, so he sets off to find bugs known as the “warriors” that are willing to fight the grasshoppers. However nobody expects him to succeed anyway.
But we learn that because of a misinterpretation, the warriors are actually a circus grew of various bugs. The crew consists on a caterpillar, a male ladybug who is constantly referred to as a woman, walking stick insect, praying mantis, gypsy moth, black widow spider, and two pillar bugs. The misunderstanding doesn’t just end there; they agree to return with Flik to his home believing that he simply wants them to perform, and he believes that they are heroes he’s been looking for.
When Flik returns with a circus crew everybody is ecstatic to see their heroes. But when the misunderstanding finally gets cleared up, there is little time left for a new plan. So, they devise one in which they’ll use the one creature the grasshoppers fear: a bird. They decide, through Flik’s genius, to create one.
The voice actors do a wonderful job with their roles. As seen in Toy Story, the creators use a variety of actors to voice their characters and it proves a great move. You may recognize some actors including Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. There are plenty more but those in particular stand out the most. Hayden Panitere also does a nice job playing Dot, the younger sister to Julia’s character.
Pixar is simply the best at storytelling. They can take us into a world and captivate so quickly, that you appreciate every detail from the smallest to the largest that they incorporate. None of it goes unnoticed, at least not anymore since there is so much to admire about what they do. Also, although this was the second film for Pixar there are still subtle references to their other work, Toy Story, layered throughout certain scenes. This has become a welcomed trend in Pixar films, and it’s always a treat looking for them. A great film from a great company, A Bug’s Life is excellent story that deserves more than one viewing. Enjoy.
A BUGS LIFE