A Bug’s Life

A Bug's Life

Bugs crawling across movie screens were a common sight in the late 90s. While the folks at Dreamworks were infested with Antz, Disney/Pixar followed in their footsteps with A Bug’s Life, featuring a star-studded cast of critter voices and some revolutionary CGI animation for their “epic of miniature proportions.”

Partly a parody on Aesop’s fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, with a healthy dose of The Seven Samurai thrown in for good measure, A Bug’s Tale tells the tale of an ant named Flick, an eccentric inventor whose colony is under the constant oppression of evil grasshoppers.

In the course of trying to create a more efficient way of picking grain, Flick accidentally destroys a crop of grain that was supposed to be used to appease the grasshoppers. They give the colony until the end of fall to produce a double-sized crop of food, or face annihilation. To do so means the ant colony will likely starve in the following winter.

As the colony sets out to gather as much of a food offering as they can muster, Flick has a better idea – they simply need to assemble a force of bug warriors to fight the grasshoppers and end their reign of control. The idea is considered insecticidal to the Queen and her daughter, Princess Atta (played respectively by Phyllis Diller and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) but they agree in the hopes of keeping Flick occupied.

Flick hitches a ride upon a dandelion and heads to the city, a bustling metropolis built out of old boxes and other discarded items, and comes across a group of ex-circus performers, a walking stick, ladybug, and gypsy butterfly (played by David Hyde Pierce, Denis Leary and Madeline Kahn).

Thinking that Flick is a talent agent, they eagerly follow Flick back to Ant Island, only to discover the true peril that awaits them. A bit of cunning insect ingenuity and colony camaraderie is the only thing that can save Flick and friends from utter destruction, at the hands of the gang of grasshoppers.

A Bug’s Life was an instant hit for Disney, surpassing the success of the more adult-oriented Antz. They even managed to get people back into the theater a second or third time, due to an ingenious use of closing credit bloopers and outtakes, similar to those that had become common in films like Cannonball Run.

The popular response to the film’s ending led Disney to create an entirely new set of outtakes in later releases and audiences came back again just to see the news bloopers. Disney would employ these fan-pleasing outtakes again in Toy Story 2.

With a cast that read like a “who’s who” of Hollywood, some fantastic computer animation, and a fun heartwarming story about facing adversity, A Bug’s life crawled into the collective hearts of millions, earning $162 million at the box-office alone. And, for fans of the famed bugs, a trip to Disney’s California Adventure affords the ability to visit Flick and friends via a 3-D theater experience based upon the film, an encounter certain to make you jump like a grasshopper when you least expect it.

If you have fond memories of watching A Bug’s Life, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts and recollections in our comments section below.

One Response to “A Bug’s Life”

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  1. Gina says:

    I went to see “Antz” and “A Bug’s Life” on the same day–I made it a double feature.

    We have the Flik 3D film at Disney’s Animal Kingdom here in Central Florida also.

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