A Bug's Life

A Bug's Life


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Anything connected to Toy Story isn't going to follow the "drawers" tradition, nor melt earwax with soapy ballads. The Pixar computer animated people understand the importance of a script that runs off the edge of the page. A weakness for one-liners is another plus.

The new mantra is "character-led". Every tiny creature has a history of little victories, or fruitless endeavour. In this context, "fruitless endeavour" means "not squished". A good thing if you're a bug.

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The flying green Mafia, under grassfather Hopper (voiced by Kevin Spacey), has a lucrative protection racket going on The Island, until odd-ant-out Flik (Dave Foley on vocals), decides to brave the outer reaches of the known unifield in search of mercenaries to do battle with their oppressors. He returns with PT Flea's circus troupe, a mixed tin of insect life, masquerading as performing artistes, who don't have the first notion of how to conduct themselves against the equivilant of helicopter gunships.

For all its invention and humour, the film suffers from following Antz. There are a surprising number of similarities, not all of which are improved upon by Toy Story's director, John Lasseter. While the circus bugs are quirky, there is nothing to match Woody, or Buzz, in nursery interest, with the possible exception of Hopper. Perhaps Pixar animation has become so adroit, audiences are spoilt. Make no mistake: all ages will leave the cinema with a big fat grin on their faces. Don't rush away early. There is a surprise in the final credits.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A Bug's Life packshot
An ant recruits a troupe of circus insects to save his colony from grasshoppers.
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Director: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Donald McEnery, Bob Shaw

Starring: Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Hayden Panettiere, Phyllis Diller, Richard Kind, David Hyde Pierce, Joe Ranft, Denis Leary, Jonathan Harris, Madeline Kahn

Year: 1998

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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