Saturday, November 14, 2015

Movie Review: "A Bug's Life" (1998)

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Movie"A Bug's Life"
Director: John Lasseter & Andrew Stanton
Year: 1998
Rating: G
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

When an independent and inventive ant named Flick (Dave Foley) accidentally loses a harvest offering meant to keep the attacking grasshoppers at bay, the leader of the grasshoppers, Hopper (Kevin Spacey), forces the ants to double their usual offering by the end of season or face the wrath of the grasshoppers. Now, the ants must complete this impossible task or come up with a plan to prevent an attack. Flick gets the idea to go out into the big world and find even bigger bugs to protect them from the grasshoppers.  

"A Bug's Life" is the second film done by the now animation giant Disney Pixar. This film seems to draw some inspiration from an old Aesop's fable called "The Ant & The Grasshopper," where ants toil while grasshoppers play...well, this story combined with "The Three Amigos." A group of 'actors' are mistaken as brave warriors hired to defeat an evil bandit who regularly raids their small village. The coincidences are too many to parallel! Pixar takes these two general ideas and expands and retools them into an original, fun product. Flick, voiced by Dave Foley, is not like other ants in that he doesn't always follow the line. He likes to invent things to help make the harvest and other tasks more efficient. Unfortunately, Flick himself is a bit of a spaz, and when he leaves his new harvesting invention near the offering stone for the grasshoppers, it knocks all of the collected food meant for the grasshoppers into a nearby stream, costing the ants months of hard work. Now, the leader of the grasshoppers, aptly named Hopper, voiced by Kevin Spacey, is angry and demands twice the offering for Flick's screw up. Flick must be brought to the royal council and face punishment for losing the initial offering. Flick then gets an idea to go out on the road and search for bigger warrior bugs to battle the bully grasshoppers. The council figures it's a suicide mission, so they okay Flick's quest just to get him away from the colony while they try and meet the demands of the grasshoppers without him there to screw anything else up. Flick finds a group of bugs at a rough and tumble bar in the city. He thinks these bugs are warriors, but they are actually out of work circus performers. They come to his little colony for what they think is a performance, but is actually a battle with the grasshoppers. When Flick finds out they are only entertainers, he must hide the truth from the rest of the ants and come up with his own plan to defeat the grasshoppers once and for all.

"A Bug's Life" is a really cute film that is often overshadowed by the other animated films. Unfortunately, it was book-ended between Pixar powerhouses "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2." Sure, this one might not be as amazing as those two movies, but "A Bug's Life" should not be discounted in the slightest. Watching it again years later, it is still very enjoyable and holds up well against its other Pixar counterparts and other animated films like it. It doesn't quite have the same layered emotional impact of movies like "Finding Nemo," "Wall-E," "Up," or "Inside Out," but that doesn't make it any less of a thrilling adventure comedy. It is still a great movie that is funny and entertaining for kids and adults alike. The dialogue is hilarious, the message is insightful, and the voice over work is excellent!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Calvary"

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