Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Bug's Life (1998)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

When A Bug’s Life was first released, I wanted to see it, but simply never got around to it.  When I received it from NetFlix, I had all but forgotten about it.  I was debating sending it back, but decided to watch it since I already had it in the house.

The movie is about an ant colony.  They’re collecting food as protection money against a group of grasshoppers led by Hopper.  Flik is one of the ants helping to collect food using one of his new inventions.  He’s not particularly well liked among his fellow ants, mostly because he’s a bit clumsy.  In his clumsiness, he knocks over the offering causing all of the collected food to be lost.

When the grasshoppers arrive, they notice the conspicuous absence of food and demand that the ants work overtime to gather twice the normal offering.  Flik comes up with the idea of fighting back instead and offers to go out in search of some bigger, badder bugs to fight off the grasshoppers. When he presents his idea to the colony’s princess, she realizes that this is the perfect opportunity to not have him around while they collect more food.

Flik finds an odd assortment of bugs that have recently been fired from a circus.  Flik invites them back and the group is eager to follow.  What results is mostly a comedy of misunderstandings.  Everyone involved figures stuff out with varying speed.  (The performers are the first to realize that they’re not there for a performance.)  They do come up with a plan to chase off the grasshoppers, but there are a few setbacks.  It’s up to Flik and the performers to save the day.

Yes, the movie is computer-generated animation.  Yes, the movie is rated G.  Some would think that the movie is meant for children.  Yes, it’s safe for children, but not at the exclusion of adults.  This was Pixar’s second feature film, so it wasn’t as complex as some of their other movies.  I don’t think that there’s too much that would go over the heads of children.  It’s not childish, though.

I was able to watch it and not feel like my intelligence was being insulted.  There’s a ladybug that’s actually male and has issues with this at first.  There’s a stick-bug that often gets typecast with anything that requires a straight-line object like a stick.  Yes, some of it is predictable and a little cliché, but it is fun to watch.  You have a main character that you can identify with and root for.  Not many of the other characters get much development, but all play their parts well.

The movie was released in 1998.  CGI has come a long way since there.  (Compare A Bug’s Life to the more-recently released WALL-E.)  It does seem a little dated.  All of the ants are bluish.  There are also some issues with the number of arms/legs that the other insects have.  Basically, there was never a point where I forgot that it’s CGI.

I’d recommend renting it if you’re looking for something a little different.  I’ve been watching a lot of horror and science-fiction movies, so I needed something a little lighter and this definitely fit the bill. 

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