All in all, bugs do not have a good reputation. They are considered by many to be slimy pests and even destructive intruders. But the insect kingdom is a complex and diverse one. In the hands of capable story-tellers, such as those employed by Pixar pictures, bugs can also be heroes. Just as they explored the oceans for an astonishing range of colorful characters in yesterday’s review, “Finding Nemo,” so too did they explore the dirt and mud for a variety of creatures around which to generate 1998’s “A Bug’s Life.”
The story of “A Bug’s Life” is loosely based on the story of the Japanese classic, “Seven Samurai.” It centers on Flick (voiced by Dave Foley), an agreeable ant who lives in a large colony that is bullied by a group of obnoxious grasshoppers, led by Hopper (voiced by Kevin Spacey). As the ants are gathering food for the grasshoppers, Flick, an aspiring inventor, accidently knocks over all the accumulated food. Hopper is angered, and the crude grasshopper demands more food for the fall season. This disturbs the greater ecological balance as the ant colony’s supply is already limited. Everyone is mad at Flick, who suggests that he goes to get bigger bugs to fight the grasshoppers. Flick is given permission to go on this odyssey so as to keep him away and prevent him from causing more trouble. He does find a group of ominous-looking bugs which includes Francis (voiced by Dennis Leary) and Slim (voiced by David Hyde Pierce). They say they will help him. But Flick does not realize they are circus bugs and not warrior bugs.
Like other Pixar productions, “A Bug’s Life” has stunning animation. The grasshoppers in particular are very well done as they look menacing.
The cast is excellent. Dave Foley makes a very good hero. Although he is accident-prone, he is still likeable as he is always trying to help. Kevin Spacey makes a great villain. He has a creepy voice and intimidating presence.
“A Bug’s Life” is well-worth seeing for its strong story and animation.