Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Candy Corn! Let me help you to finish it!"

Film: "A Bug's Life"

Release Date:
25 November 1998

Director: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton

History: The second of the Pixar films and sandwiched in between the first two "Toy Story" films, "A Bug's Life" seems to get the short end of the Pixar stick and is often over looked in favor of "Toy Story," "Monster's Inc.," and "Finding Nemo." But "A Bug's Life's" achievements should not be over looked. It was the first non-"Toy Story" Pixar film and it's success proved that Pixar was not just a one trick pony.Making over $160 million domestically and with a ton of high praise from the movie review world, "A Bug's Life" showed it had the right stuff. Which was good as it faced stiff competition form the other "bug" movie "Antz."

There was controversy in the animation world between these two films. Both films seemed very similar to each other and where coming out at the same time. Dreamwork's Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was head of Disney Animation originally left Disney in August of 1994 when "A Bug's Life" director John Lasseter and then Pixar owner Steve Jobs claimed "A Bug's Life" was originally pitched at Disney. Katzenburg claimed "Antz" was pitched to him back in 1991, but there was a "bug" movie in the works at Disney as early as 1988.

Dreamworks was working hard on their first major animated film, "The Prince of Egypt," which was set to be released the same holiday season as "A Bug's Life." Katzenburg asked Pixar to change the release date to "A Bugs Life" to avoid a show down with "The Prince of Egypt." For doing this, he offered to stop production on "Antz." Pixar refused and in response "Antz" was moved up from being released March 1998 to October 1998, right before "A Bug's Life" came out. But despite Dreamworks attempt to derail Pixar, "A Bug's Life" ended up making more money domestically and intentionally then either Dreamworks film.

My Reaction: I have a hard time singling out a single Pixar film as my favorite. It's like deciding who your favorite child is. But, when I get really serious and take off my Pixar Fan Boy glasses, I may have to say in many way this is my favorite Pixar movie. It's almost blasphemy to say that as all the Pixar film are amazing, but there is just something about the story of the out of place ant that sings to me. Maybe it's because I relate rather well to the main character Flick. Just like Flick I find I don't fit in to society. Just like Flick I find that it always seems that the harder I try to fit in, the more i find I really don't. And just like Flick, I find that I let other's doubts and expectations bring me down to the point where I don't life up to my full expectations, yet when I'm able to put all of that aside and just be myself, few could match my ingenuity, creativity and thoughtfulness.

There are so many great lessons to be learned here. Don't let others stand in the way of your dreams, don't let people bully you around, be yourself, loyalty goes a long way and many times what we originally think is a big mistake ends up working out to be the best thing ever. I love how the ants at the end band together to face Hopper. Team work goes a long way it seems. I also love the comedy of errors this film end up to be. At first, both the ants and the circus bugs think the other is something they are not. But, in the end, even when they find out the other is not what they thought they were, they find out the other is what they need. Even though they are not amazing warriors or a high paying gig, they end up playing their weakness as strengths to defeate the grasshoppers. All lessons that many of us need to take to heart.

My Wife's Reaction: This was the second time she ever saw this film, with the first time being when it came out in theaters, so this was her first time seeing it on DVD. She seemed to enjoy it and said she liked it.

My Final Grade: (A) I know there are many who may call it almost blasphemous that I give "A Bug's Life" a higher grade then "Toy Story," but I just feel that this film was more exciting, better told and did a much better job show casing its characters. It did a great job of let us get know more then just Flick and the locations it depicts are just beautiful.

All images copyright Disney/ Pixar. All rights reserved.


  1. Bugs! Not my favourite thing! This is my 2nd to last least favourite.......I love the music and the animation is grand but somehow (dont know why ) the main characters send me cringing into the sofa. It might be the wings or the 5 + legs or maybe the feelers growing out of their heads.

  2. I do sometimes wonder if both "A Bug's Life" and "Ratatouille" suffer from the fact that the heroes of both are creatures normally feared and despised by human? Could be?