Bug's Life, A
When a falling leaf interrupts them, food-gathering ants scream, "I'm lost!" as rescuers quickly run to aid them, so food-gathering can resume. "This is nothing compared to the Twig of '93," one ant recalls. Animation can show a world not visible via live action, or without special effects, but few American cartoon features do more than copy Disney's brave heroes and whacky sidekicks. Pixar studio, which co-produces with Disney, broke new ground in the 1995 "Toy Story," and did so again in "A Bug's Life," about an ant colony that frees itself from enslavement to grasshoppers.
The hero, Flik (in Foley's voice), the smartest ant, invents a harvesting machine while other ants laboriously pile up an "Offering" - a hill of food for the despots. The film focuses on the whole colony, however, not just on Flik. Crisis occurs when he spills the Offering, greatly displeasing Hopper (Spacey), the grasshoppers' leader. He gesticulates when he talks, and all four of his hands give Flik a clear message: Rebuild the heaped-up Offering, or else.
Flik feels bad, apologizes to the Queen Ant (Diller), and, encouraged by Princess Atta (Louis-Dreyfus) and Mr. Soil (McDowall), decides to fly off in a dandelion airplane, to hire other ants to protect his colony. Not knowing they aren't warriors but performers in P. T. Flea's Circus, Flik finds nine would-be mercenaries: a walking stick, Slim (Hyde-Pierce), a praying mantis (Harris), a Nazi-like caterpillar (Ranft), and a black widow (Hunt).
The film is visually pleasing: a sense of three dimensions and good details offer laughs, as do the credits, with animated "outtakes" that satirize blown lines and missed cues. "A Bug's Life" is clearly intended as a family film. Small children will respond to the Hoppers and the zaniness of the weird assortment of Flik's hirelings.
Andrew Stanton, Donald McEnery, & Bob Shaw
With the Voices of Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Phyllis Diller, Hayden Panettiere, David Hyd
Pixar, slavery, ants, grasshoppers, family movies
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