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A Bug's Life

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: A Bug's Life

Starring: Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey
Director: John Lasseter
Rated: G
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: November 1998
Genres: Animation, Kids

Review by Walter Frith
3 stars out of 4

Pixar animation and Walt Disney Pictures presents 'A Bug's Life'. The film is a rousing pleasure to watch, to listen to and to think about after it's done. There isn't much to think about in a philosophical sense but the brilliant attention to detail using the most advanced and state of the art special effects and computer techniques available have you guessing just exactly how it was all done.

Similar to 'Antz', also released recently, 'A Bug's Life' details the antics of an ant colony. The main character, voiced by Dave Foley is named Flick and he's the nerdy little foul up whom you would never expect to be a hero. Other prominent characters that celebrities lend their voices to for the production are the Princess (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss), her mother the Queen (Phyllis Diller) and their relationship with the good guys (other insects) and the bad guys, a swarm of grasshoppers led by Hopper (Kevin Spacey). A minor character, Mr. Soil, is voiced by Roddy McDowell, a classic actor making his last contribution to motion pictures as he died earlier this year from cancer.

After a major foul-up by Flick, the colony loses all food collected for the grasshoppers, (after all, grasshoppers ARE above ants in the food chain), Hopper orders the ants to begin again and says that his army will destroy the ants if they come back at the end of the rainy season and there isn't any food. After a trial, Flick is banned from the colony and finds himself on his own where he befriends a group of other insects connected to a flea circus. Prominent among the characters are a butterfly (Madeline Kahn), a walking stick bug (David Hyde-Pierce), a ladybug (Denis Leary) and a black widow spider (Bonnie Hunt). Flick recruits them in a comical way to return with him to the colony and stand up to Hopper and the others when they return to bully the ants for food.

I give much credit is given to Pixar and Disney for making the potentially hideous insects adorable and cute for kids to laugh at and become wide-eyed. One of the most hideous creatures in nature is the spider but it's drawn so well in this movie, that you can't take your eyes off the screen for it or any other optical candy intended for adults as much as it is for kids.

'A Bug's Life' is directed by John Lasseter ('Toy Story') and Andrew Stanton and the screenplay is by Andrew Stanton, Donald McEnery and Bob Shaw. Cleverly used in the film, and it should be in all films of a cartoonish nature, are the ingeniously used clichés thrown in such as a bug being attracted to a bright light, how they hang around food containers that become trash etc, etc. Especially nice is the film's running time which actually exceeds 90 minutes and gives the audience its money worth and isn't 70 or 80 minutes in length. I guess that explains why they used a lot of t.v. actors. Their scale of pay wouldn't cost as much as a big name such as Tom Hanks, whose character voice of Woody in 'Toy Story' probably commanded a high salary so more money is available for a longer running time in this production. 'A Bug's Life' is perfect for the attention span of children and the satisfying appetite of adults. A charming romp all the way which don't require being written about at great lengths. Just enough to highly recommend it.

Copyright © 1998 Walter Frith

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