A Bug's Life (December 18/98)
Despite the fact that other animated bug movie was released just two short months ago, I was quite looking forward to A Bug's Life. It's Pixar's sophomore effort following the brilliant Toy Story and much of the same talent behind the scenes is the same. Alas, A Bug's Life does not live up to Toy Story, nor is it as good as Antz.
The movie is about an over-eager ant named Flik (voiced by Dave Foley) who gets his colony in trouble with a dangerous gang of grasshoppers, led by the appropriately named Hopper (Kevin Spacey). Flik comes up with a plan to leave the colony and find other insects to fight the evil grasshoppers. He mistakenly hires a ragtag bunch of circus performers, but this being a Disney movie, they eventually come together and do right by the colony.
The biggest problem with A Bug's Life is that it seems to have been made with a very limited audience in mind; the kids. Young children under the age of 10 will likely enjoy this film the most, but anyone older than that will probably find themselves waiting for it to end. The movie starts off well enough, with an intelligent first act, but it's downhill from there. The last half-hour consists of one action sequence after another, which really got tiresome after a while.
Another problem is that there are no strong main characters. Look at Toy Story. Buzz Lightyear and Woody the cowboy are about as vivid as characters get. In A Bug's Life, what do we have? Flik? Well, he's not very interesting, and he's kind of a wimp. And then there's the circus troupe, and while they do provide comic relief, none of them really stand out on their own. So we're left with no one person to root for.
However, the animation in this movie is simply dazzling. There's no other word to describe it. The computer animation in A Bug's Life is far better than the animation in Antz. I was stunned by the first shot of the film, which features a panoramic view of the ant colony from the air. I remember thinking that it really looked real, and didn't look at all like computer animation.
So, A Bug's Life is worth seeing simply for the breathtaking animation, but if you're expecting a story and characters of the same caliber as Toy Story, you'll be left disappointed.