A Bug's Life
- John Lasseter
- Andrew Stanton
- Reviewed by
- a.k.a. Jacinda
- Review date
- Thursday, September 20, 2001
The team’s first major achievements were made in 3D animation. In 1991 they inked a deal with Disney and started working on the first fully computer animated movie ever. Toy Story became a huge success and won an Academy Award for Special Achievement in 1996. However the masterminds at Pixar wanted to push their limits further and prepared to work on their next feature film, A Bug’s Life. It took them twelve times as much processing power to develop this comedic adventure of a group of small creatures.
At the end of every summer, Hopper (voice by Kevin Spacey) and his greedy grasshoppers come to the anthill to collect their “offering”. This year Flik (voice by Dave Foley), a misfit among his fellow ants, accidentally destroys the harvest of food. Thus he sets out on a journey to find bugs that will fight the evil grasshoppers. When he arrives in bug city he mistakes a group of circus bugs for warriors. His new friends encourage the ants to make a stand against the menacing attack led by Hopper.
Even though the premise sounds simple, the way this story is told is unique. The rich animation of A Bug’s Life is mesmerizing. Yet this movie wouldn’t work if it wasn’t for the witty dialogue and the funny characters. I love movies that are full of small details that you can discover one after the other. You can tell that this one is made with a lot of dedication. I especially like the way they make fun of the ants’ routines that the rather open-minded, creative Flik wants to break.
Some people may claim that the insects are not depicted in a realistic way. But the movie is not about photo-realism. Instead, this artistic freedom allows the animators to be creative. As a result, this movie features so many bright ideas that you will hardly believe it. Whereas the circus bugs are the most likeable characters, it is Hopper who steals the show. Kevin Spacey’s voice-over is dead-on perfect for this cool villain. I am especially intrigued by the way Hopper’s eyes are animated.
Talking about the efforts in animation, Pixar did an outstanding job in bringing these creatures to life. Good examples for the beautiful artwork are the impressively rendered backgrounds. The grass, the leaves and the blue sky are done so well that it’s hard to believe this movie is computer generated. Another highlight is the glittering fluorescence of the plants. Pixar also came up with some impressive crowd scenes, in which we get to see about a hundred ants with different facial expressions.
While A Bug’s Life is superbly animated and written, there is also a positive message implied. In my opinion, Pixar is responsible for the best Disney movies of the past decade. Without doubt, Toy Story 2 is the highlight of their work. Still Pixar’s second feature film is a brilliant adventure and a remarkable achievement.
A richly animated movie for the whole family, A Bug’s Life is a fantastic journey and an excellent comedy.
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Other reviews of A Bug's Life (1998): Groucho