All of Pixar’s films are wonderful to varying degrees, and the fact that A Bug’s Life (or any film) is this low on the list doesn’t mean it’s a poor film, just one I like less than others. This insect fable is the lowest Pixar movie on my list (I’ll admit that Cars 2 wasn’t good enough to make the cut, and I haven’t yet seen Monsters University), but it remains a funny and endearing classic. While the main plot is clearly drawn from Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and the concept is quite similar to DreamWorks’s Antz, released just a month earlier, A Bug’s Life has enough lovable characters and subtle humor to be original enough to blow Antz out of the water, though Woody Allen’s film still has its good points.
One amazing aspect of the film is its many diverse characters. There are a ladybug, a walking stick, a caterpillar, a butterfly, a praying mantis, a rhinoceros beetle, a spider, two pill bugs, a flea, two main grasshoppers, and at least seven named ants, and every one is given a distinct personality and great character moments. As many times as I’ve seen A Bug’s Life, there continue to be little details I hadn’t noticed; for instance, my VC pointed out that the awesome score would have fit well in a western, leading to observations of similarities to westerns, such as good guys being called in to stop outlaws, the desert location of Hopper’s vacation spot, and the flea’s stagecoach-like circus wagon.
The large cast of uniquely developed individuals has become typical of Pixar’s films, started by Toy Story and continued by the likes of Cars and Finding Nemo. A Bug’s Life also sticks out in my mind for the unusually gruesome death of the villain. Hopper is actually devoured alive, setting a precedent, followed by other cartoons like The Incredibles and Up, that animated bad guys can meet almost any horrific end as long as it is offscreen.
A Bug’s Life may be Pixar’s least original film and one of its least memorable, but it is still a fun adventure with lovely, though still developing CGI animation, countless laugh-out-loud insect-themed jokes, and a hilarious voice cast.
Best line: (a fly at the circus) “I only got twenty-four hours to live, and I ain’t gonna waste it here.”
VC’s best line: (waitress) “Who ordered the poo poo platter?” (Flies swarm all over it.)Artistry: 5 Characters/Actors: 8 Entertainment: 8 Visual Effects: 5 Originality: 4 Watchability: 7 Other (I just like other films better): -4 TOTAL: 33 out of 60
Next: #279 – The Muppets
© 2014 S. G. Liput