A Bug's Life

1998, Movie, G, 94 mins

Review

BUG'S LIFE, A
starstarstarstar
It would be a shame if families who've already seen ANTZ didn't show up for this technically astounding and unwaveringly bright film -- both visually and philosophically. The Pixar team (who were also behind TOY STORY) has done some knockout work, full of movement and natural wonder. As in ANTZ, the protagonist is an outcast, a nonconformist ant who finds himself forced to save his colony from rapacious invaders. Flik (voiced by Dave Foley) is a perpetual dreamer who invents machines to help out his fellow ants, but is universally shunned by them. Normal ant life consists of gathering food to placate a swarm of bellicose grasshoppers, led by the ruthless Hopper (Kevin Spacey, an impressive vocal performer). After Flik's bumbling destroys the colony's offering to the grasshoppers and puts the entire colony at risk of annihilation, Flik comes up with a plan to recruit bigger and nastier bugs to fight off the hopping horde. The Queen (Phyllis Diller) and her Queen-in-training daughter Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), exasperated with Flik's incompetence, happily agree to let him strike out on his own. Out in the exciting bug city (a garbage dump) Flik happens upon a troupe of feisty and colorful flea circus performers -- notably a male ladybug named Francis (Denis Leary); Manny (Jonathan Harris), an aging praying mantis; and Heimlich (Joe Ranft), a fey caterpillar -- who've just been fired, and mistakes them for insect warriors. These lively showbiz characters add considerable verve to the story: The laudably industrious ants, sad to say, are a bit dull. The saucy repartee will amuse adults, while the climactic showdowns -- yes, there are more than one -- are gripping entertainment for the whole family. leave a comment --Sandra Contreras

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