Twenty years ago today, one of the most beautiful movies in all of cinema history was released on American Thanksgiving weekend. Following the successful release of their very first animated feature film, Toy Story, Pixar Animation Studios makes a comeback three years later with a movie of an epic of miniature proportions: A Bug’s Life. This 1998 film was released before I was even conceived, yet, it’s my number one favourite movie of all time. If my parents had a dollar for every time I watched this movie while I was in the hospital when I was a little boy, they’d richer than rich. Both my parents and myself have memorized every piece of dialogue throughout the whole movie, most especially the beginning sequence. In honour of its twentieth anniversary, I am doing a Nate’s Analysis, further explaining what makes A Bug’s Life such an amazing and beautiful film even twenty years later. This is Nate’s Analysis of
The movie begins with a wide view of Ant Island, where the ant colony led by the Queen and her daughters Atta and Dot. After Flik, the main protagonist of the film, attempts to inspire Dot based on a pretend seed, the ants sound the alarm, alerting the colony to put all the food they’ve collected onto the offering stone and make their way into the anthill, for the grasshoppers have arrived. The last one to enter, Flik puts the food he collected with the rest of the pile, and throws his machine away when it accidentally malfunctions and tips all the food over and into the water. Flik runs towards the anthill screaming for Princess Atta. That’s when the grasshoppers arrive. Hopper and his gang break into the anthill, demanding for their food and terrorizing the ants. Hopper orders double of food, saying “If you can’t keep your end of the bargain, then I can’t guarantee your safety. And there are insects out there that will take advantage of you. Someone could get hurt.” Long story short, Hopper blackmails the ants in getting him more food or else he won’t protect them.
This entire opening is easily my favourite part of the whole movie. I have the whole thing memorized, I know exactly what everyone’s gonna say and when they’re gonna say it, and to this day the jokes and one-liners still make me laugh and bring out my inner child. Not to mention, it’s fantastic introduction to the movie and its characters, especially the villain, Hopper. He’s my favourite character of the whole movie. His entrance is so menacing and scary, just seeing the towering insect gives you chills down your spine. Hopper is not one to be messed with.
Following Hopper’s threatening visit, to pay for his mistakes, Flik is sent away from the island to search for “warrior bugs” to help fight the grasshoppers and finally free them from their slavery. Meanwhile at the circus, P.T Flea and his batch of circus bugs struggle to put on a show for their audience of flies. This gang includes the likes of Francis the ladybug, Heimlich the caterpillar, Slim the stick bug, Dim the beetle, Manny the praying mantis, Gypsy the butterfly, Rosie the black widow, and Tuck and Roll, the Hungarian twin pill bugs. After a stunt that goes wrong and almost costs P.T Flea his life, he fires his whole troupe. The gang ends up at a bar, drinking away their sorrow. That’s where they meet Flik. After picking a fight with some bullies, Flik, in the midst of everything, approaches the circus bugs, not knowing they’re circus bugs, and proposes his idea to protect his colony from the grasshoppers. Without thoroughly thinking it through, the circus bugs agree to Flik’s proposal and fly their way to Ant Island, Flik riding with them, where they are introduced to the Queen, Princesses Atta and Dot, and the rest of the ant colony.
The circus bugs are another one of my favourite parts about this movie. They’re a diverse troupe and they each have their own fruity personalities. And somehow, they all work together as a group. My personal favourite is Heimlich.
After a near-fatal encounter with a bird, Flik is inspired to build a bird to scare away the grasshoppers and convinces the circus bugs to stay a while longer, hiding their truth from the rest of the colony. Together, the ants and the “warriors” build a fake bird and hide it away until the time is right. Unfortunately, after the bird is successfully crafted, P.T Flea returns in search of his circus troupe, ambushing Ant Island. He blows theirs and Flik’s cover, resulting in an immediate ban for both the circus bugs and Flik. The grasshoppers arrive at Ant Island at the sight of little to no food on the offering stone. Hopper is furious and demands, and I quote, “Not one ant sleeps until we get every scrap of food on this island!”
Like I said Hopper is my favourite character in the movie, but he’s also my favourite villain of all time, next to Darth Vader from Star Wars, Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War, and Shego from Kim Possible. The creators and Kevin Spacey really presented this character well and made him a real threat to the protagonists and even the audience. I know I for one am scared of Hopper.
Dot escapes Ant Island and finds Flik and the circus bugs, begging them to come back. After she is able to convince him enough with the seed analogy he taught her, Flik agrees to come back and help Dot rescue the colony from the grasshoppers’ grasp. While the circus bugs distract Hopper, Flik, Dot and her friends pilot the bird out of its cave and all around the island, scaring the grasshoppers. It isn’t until P.T Flea emits the bird on fire that Hopper realizes it’s fake. The bird crashes and Hopper brutally beats up Flik. He attempts to reassure the ants that he’s in charge, when Flik uses his last bit of strength to literally stand up to Hopper, shouting “Ants are not meant to serve grasshoppers!” Flik’s motivational speech hypes up the colony and all the ants charge at the grasshoppers, no fear in sight. They all fly away, crying. The ants crowd surf Hopper into a canon, only to be disturbed by the rain. Hopper flies out of the canon and kidnaps Flik. Atta sweeps by and takes Flik from him, doing what Flik says and flying over to the bird nest. Flik tells Atta to hide while he confronts Hopper. Just in time, the bird comes out from its nest, catches Hopper with his mouth and feeds him to its babies.
All in all, the falling action of this film was fantastic. I mean, there’s so many twists and turns. It’s hard to pick a favourite part. Although I do have to say that Flik’s monologue was awe-inspiring. I’m not too happy with Hopper’s demise but, what are you gonna do? The final stages of the movie are part of why I love it so much. The action, the plot twist, the adventure. Don’t mind me, I’m just soaking all this in…
In the end, literally, Flik is praised for his heroic acts and the colony is forced to say goodbye to their new friends. Ant Island is restored to to peace and freedom, leaving the ant colony to live the rest of their lives as they please. And as all Disney movies work, everybody lives happily ever after. The End.
I give this movie a 10/10. Amazing characters, amazing score, amazing plot, amazing everything. I have loved this movie since I was just a little bug and and I will love it until the day I die. This movie is not only my whole childhood, but my whole life. My parents know how precious this movie is to me. It’s something I can always turn to as a lift-me-up. Some other fans of the movie have debated that the movie should get a sequel. In my opinion, I don’t want a sequel. I like A Bug’s Life just the way it is. A Bug’s Life is its own beautiful piece of art. Giving it a sequel might just ruin it. NOT ALL GREAT MOVIES NEED A SEQUEL.
That is my Nate’s Analysis on A Bug’s Life. What did you think? Have you seen A Bug’s Life? If so, what are your thoughts on it? If not, I highly recommend it. Let me know all your thoughts in the comments. Thank you for reading, and have a great day.
“It’s the time of your life, so live it well.” – Time Of Your Life by Randy Newman, from A Bug’s Life