Movie Mom

Movie Mom


A Bug’s Life

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Mild
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:1998
DVD Release Date:1998

Pixar is the must successful studio in movie history, with every single one of its releases earning over $100 million. Even more impressive, every one of them is entirely original, not based on a book or classic fairy tale. I have a special affection for “A Bug’s Life,” and so chose it as this week’s DVD pick, in honor of its newest cinematic sibling, “Up.”
“A Bug’s Life” did not get the attention it deserved when it was first released was because it was the second computer-animated movie about ants within a few months. The difference between the two animated ant movies is exemplified by their lead characters. “Antz” had Z, voiced by Woody Allen as — well — Woody Allen, angst-ridden, in analysis, searching for individual identity in a world of conformity. “A Bug’s Life” has “News Radio’s” Dave Foley providing his voice as Flik, an All-American ant-next-door type, inventive, brave, and loyal.

When Flik inadvertently loses the food tribute set out by the ants for the predatory grasshoppers, he must find a way to protect his community. In the spirit of “The Magnificent Seven,” he goes off in search of warrior bugs to fight the grasshoppers. He mistakenly hires a group of unsuccessful vaudevillians from (of course) a flea circus, who think they are being booked for a performance and have no idea he expects them to fight. But they turn out to have just the right stuff to help the ants fight the grasshoppers after all. And Flick gets to prove that he is a hero at heart. The result is a delightful movie that is great fun for all but the smallest kids, who may be frightened by the scary grasshoppers and by some intense action sequences that put the lead characters into danger.

Helped by outstanding voice talent, the characters are quirky and endearing enough to make you forget they are computer-animated. “Seinfeld’s” Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the ant princess, learning about the responsibilities of leadership. Phyllis Diller lends her raspy voice to the ant queen. Kevin Spacey is smoothly menacing as Hopper, the leader of the grasshopper bad guys, and “Spin City’s” Richard Kind plays his not-so-bad-guy brother. The flea circus performers include the voices of “Frasier’s” David Hyde Pierce, and John Ratzenberger of “Cheers.”

“Antz” was largely brown, but this ant movie uses a paintbox of color to produce stunning images with luminous tones. You’ll need to see it twice to appreciate the scope of the movie’s visual wit and technological mastery. It also has the funniest credit sequence I have ever seen — be sure to watch all the way to the end to enjoy it.

Subjects for family discussion include bullies, and how to deal with them (note Hopper’s view that their power depends more on the ants’ perception than on reality), what makes a leader, the obligations of responsibility, and responding to challenges — including failure.



  • Anne

    The score from this movie is also excellent!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    You are right, Anne! The soundtrack is exceptional. I really love this movie!

Previous Posts

Smile of the Week: A Boy and a Penguin
This reminds me a little of the depiction of a child's world in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and Barnaby. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iccscUFY860[/youtube] Many thanks to Slate for this and the others on its list of the year's best ads.

posted 12:06:45pm Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Mel Torme and Judy Garland: Christmas Song
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaEedtRHklg[/youtube] I love it that Judy Garland sings "rainbows" instead of "reindeer."

posted 8:00:57am Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?
Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don't seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, and see if you can think of one quotable line from any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't well wri

posted 3:58:57pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey
You don't have to be a fan of "Downton Abbey" (or "Mr. Selfridge") to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ryo7fqdmcGQ?rel=0" frameborder="0"] [

posted 1:43:50pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed
I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson's wonderful "Book on Every Bed" proposal: Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood). You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or whatever holiday you celebrate), you leave the book in a place where Santa is

posted 12:00:42pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.