Bug's Life


Fantasy elements

talking insects




The island's ant hill has a problem. The grasshoppers are coming to collect their annual food offering, and they are not going to be happy when they discover it's missing. So Flik goes off in search of some Warrior Bugs to fight Hopper and his gang for them. [Warriors] He thinks he's found the ideal help, but all he's actually found is a motley crew of second rate circus bugs. Now the ant hill is in real trouble.

The (four legged) ants are all rather the same, of course, but the different circus bugs are wonderful: the macho ladybug, the boss flea, the long suffering stick insect, the dim dung beetle, the voracious caterpillar, the black widow spider, the pair of foreign acrobat bugs, the mantis magician and his butterfly assistant, are all distinctive characters.

I suspect the reason for the recent spate of ant films is that they allow use of the classic fantasy tropes in a new setting: [Dung beetle] beleaguered queen and her princess daughter rely on (male) commoner to save them and the colony.

Comparisons with Antz are inevitable, and it has to be said that Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life isn't quite as well animated, and doesn't have quite as witty a script. But that's because Antz is so good, not because A Bug's Life is poor. Certainly, the less sophisticated script makes it more suitable for children (although some of the scenes with the bird might be frightening for the very young). But there is plenty of fun here for adults, too. And don't forget to watch the 'out-takes' at the end!

[Mantis and Flik]

Rating: 2.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 2 May 1999