[Picture of projector]

Laramie Movie Scope:
A Bug's Life

Computer animation goes to the next level

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

November 29, 1998 -- "A Bug's Life" is a movie featuring spectacular computer animation, and which offers a real challenge to live action films. The challenge is: Why do so many directors and writers and live actors produce films with so much less character development than this cartoon does?

The shading and texture of the computer animation, created by Pixar, is noticeably better than Pixar's earlier hit, "Toy Story." The images have a real three-dimensional quality. While the story is thin in "A Bug's Life," the characters are rich and that's what powers the story.

The story is about an ant named Flik (voice by Dave Foley) who is a visionary and an inventor, but is considered a flake by the rest of the colony. The colony has been cowed into providing food for a bunch of bully grasshoppers led by Hopper (voice by Kevin Spacey). When Flik accidentally knocks the food supply into the river, he is forced to go get help to defend the colony against the grasshoppers.

Flik journeys to the city where he happens upon an unemployed troupe of flea circus performers he mistakes for warriors. He persuades them to return with him to the colony. Together, they work out a plan to defeat the grasshoppers. There are many complications thrown in, including a love story.

The film manages to develop these various bugs into interesting characters, aided by the voice talents of the late Roddy McDowall (Mr. Soil), Denis Leary (Francis), Madeline Kahn (Gypsy), Phyllis Diller (Queen), Bonnie Hunt (Rosie), Jonathan Harris (Manny), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, (Princess Atta).

The story includes a some funny sight gags and one-liners, but the basic message has to do with believing in yourself and having the courage to fight back against injustice and those are good lessons. This film rates a B+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
    [Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)