A Bug’s Life (1998)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Fun story and characters, improvements in visuals over Toy Story

No sequel yet

Movie Info

Movie Name:  A Bug’s Life

Studio:  Pixar Animation Studios

Genre(s):  Animated/Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  November 25, 1998

MPAA Rating:  G


We can be heroes!!!

Flik doesn’t just want to be like every ant in his colony.  He has ideas and dreams of how he can make their lives better.  When Flik accidentally destroys the tribute to Hopper and his band of grasshoppers, Flik learns that he must leave the island to find warriors to defeat the grasshoppers.  When Flik accidentally recruits a troop of circus bugs that he believes to be warriors, he must convince the Queen, Princess Atta, and the ants that they can defeat the grasshoppers and save the colony.


If you squeeze me black tar junk comes out of my mouth…

Directed by John Lasseter, A Bug’s Life is an adaptation of the classic Aesop’s fable of the The Grasshopper and the Ants.  The movie was Pixar’s second venture after Toy Story in 1995 and did find itself in battle in the cinemas with the computer animated Antz which was released on October 2, 1998.  A Bug’s Life was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score (losing to Shakespeare in Love).

Toy Story was a revelation in animation and A Bug’s Life pushed the advancements of the film and added a strong story.  With the strong story and art, A Bug’s Life is one of the better Pixar entries.


We’re kind of like the Seven Samurai…plus two

The basis for A Bug’s Life might be The Grasshopper and the Ants, but the film follows the story of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (or the U.S. version of The Magnificent Seven).  This gives the story a very classic feel…the movie however ditches the Western motif and goes for more traditional comedy and adventure.

Pixar continued its trend of casting strong actors as voice actors for the film.  Dave Foley provides the lead as Flik with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as his romantic interest in Princess Atta.  Kevin Spacey plays the evil Hopper and a young Hayden Panettiere voices Atta’s sister Dot.  Phyllis Diller is the queen of ants (resembling her character).  The circus bugs are voiced by Jonathan Harris (Manny), Madeline Kahn (Gypsy), Bonnie Hunt (Rosie), Denis Leary (Francis), David Hyde Pierce (Slim), Brad Garrett (Dim), Joe Ranft (Heimlich), and Mike McShane as Tuck and Roll.  In addition you get Richard Kind, Roddy McDowall, Edie McClurg, Alex Rocco, and Pixar regular John Ratzenberger as P.T. Flea.


Come back for a sequel!

Visually, A Bug’s Life shows some improvement over Toy Story in that it adds more texture and realism to the  characters…something that is always the goal of animation in general.  A Bug’s Life (opposed to Toy Story) had only one movie to make the characters feel real…and I think they did a pretty good job.

A Bug’s Life feels a bit weird and out of place in the Pixar library.  With a strong movie, and good characters, you almost feel like the movie should have had a sequel by now.  I don’t know if A Bug’s Life with ever get a sequel, but it is a shame that A Bug’s Life remains a stand-alone film when other Pixar movies like Cars just keep pumping out sequels and spin-offs.  Pixar followed A Bug’s Life with Toy Story 2 in 1999.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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