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Opened in Theaters: Wednesday, November 25th, 1998

Directed by John Lasseter
Andrew Stanton
Genre: Family
Running Time: 1:26

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A Bug's Life
Join Flik, a brave but misguided ant, as he mistakenly enlists a troupe of unemployed bug performers from a second-rate flea circus to help him save Ant Island from a gang of greedy grasshoppers....  View more >


Starring Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kevin Spacey...  View more >

Reviews Summary

Rating # %  
See Now!  17 68 See Now! Percent
Good  6 24 Good Percent
Wait for Rental  2 8 Wait Percent
Stay Away!  0 0 Stay Away! Percent
25 Total Reviews

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
Truely a great family movie, A Bug's Life may even deserve the hype. Although the over marketing of extra products may turn you off, this movie had many adults in the theater laughing out loud. Pixar includes an animated short piece "Geri's Game" in the other previews (Star Wars!) which was creative and entertaining in itself. You can see some of it at Pixar's web site. The movie is cute enough for the little ones, but the humor is over most of their heads and definitely aimed at the adults. Not "too adult" though. You must not leave after the "The End" appears. Stay for the credits... you won't regret it.

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
This movie explains what the entertainment is. It's completely fun!!! Two big thumbs up.

[--- Wait for Rental ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
I was so disappointed in this movie after all the terrific critics reviews. I thought it was kay but actually I preferred the movie Antz to this one. I went with my hubby and my two kids. My daughter is 6 1/2 years and my son is 4 years. My daughter, who saw Antz with me, said she liked this movie a little better because she thought it was funnier. My son was TERRIFIED. The plot is about this ant colony who are plotting against the grasshoppers. The grasshoppers were very scary and my son sat with his hands over his eyes for much of the show. If you are going to see it.....don't take kids under the age of 6!

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
A Bug's Life (1998)

The State of Movie-going in Late 1998: A Review of A Bug's Life and the Theater Showing It

November 26 - Thanksgiving Day. On a visit to my in-laws', we drive out to the Showcase Cinemas, a ten-plex in the wilds of western Cincinnati. In the lobby the ticket counter seems to be closed, but I'm told to go to the one clear on the other side of the lobby. It's a big place, with mammoth hype displays for A Bug's Life and the Rugrats movie, arcade games and ripoff fish-for-a-dinky prize games. There's even a "Customer Service" counter that doubles as an outlet for movie merchandise, trinkets and polyester caps and twenty-dollar t-shirts.

We're here for the 2:10 show, and I'm thinking good: bargain matinee prices, when I see the sign for $5 each. That's OK, it's a family outing, my wife and I and our two kids, the first day of a four-day weekend from school.

We opt not to visit the array of refreshment counters: this is a short film and, besides, we must save our appetites for my mother-in-law's 80 pound turkey. So the wallet does not take another hit for popcorn, or worse, 6-dollar-a-pound candy from plexiglass bins mounted on the wall. The carpet that covers the acreage of lobby and corridors leading to the auditoriums is gaudy, stuff you would never want in your house, even in the 1970's. Outside each screen there's an electronic message board with abbreviated titles: Enemy of State, Pig in City, Bugs Life (not only the syntax ruined, but the punctuation shot as well). Ushers with tiny brooms and dustpans hang around the doorways and call to each other, occasionally eyeing the patrons suspiciously. In our theater we are pleased to find the newer generation of chairs, ones that rock and hold your cup and pad your back and seat. We sit on the end of a staggered row, so my daughter cannot be blocked by any tall, hat-wearing man. As the lights dim we can see only the light-embedded plastic stripping that lines the aisles.

Then the previews, at least five of them, the last one the trailer for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, the one my son has been longing to see. (After this last, Billy and his mother both get up as if to leave, the best part of their viewing over!) Oh, and before the film starts, we are treated to that most rare aperitif, a cartoon! It's Pixar's "Geri's Game," an award-winning animated short about an old man playing chess, against himself, on a table in an otherwise deserted park. It's a delightful and sweet story, uncomplicated but thick with imagination, the kind of story Chekov or O. Henry would have loved to watch.

A Bug's Life is an entertaining film with a decent story and astounding computer-generated animation. This is the best animation yet of this sort - the facial features of the ants and their rival grasshoppers possess the elasticity of real faces, and the expressions and body movements mimic actual motion without a hint of choppiness or other animated fraud. It's quite an accomplishment for Pixar and all the women and men who worked on it.

Down to the slightest swaying of the trees, the animation is the real star of this show. Everything is fun to look at, and I imagine one could pay to see A Bug's Life many times before taking in a good deal of the panorama of action and detail in every shot. The colors are artfully chosen (even though it's unclear to me why the ants' bodies are bluish gray); they are tones that occur in nature, with a few bright bugs and a bird thrown in for vividness. Even though I saw Toy Story twice at the cinema and countless times on video, I am still getting used to viewing this type of animation: I feel like turning to my kids and saying, "In my day we were lucky to have color in our cartoons, and your grandpa was lucky to have sound!" In short, the film gives us a visual banquet of images, and I wouldn't be averse to returning for more helpings.

John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton are the directors, and they have done a fine job with perspectives and pace. Lasseter and Don McEnery wrote the screenplay, which includes generous amounts of humor. What's cool is that you can pick and choose among the humorous moments, according to your age. There are takes on all the bug jokes you can think of, there's plenty of slapstick (literally!), and there are even a few cerebral pokes, such as the shtick involved with German accents (the caterpillar Heimlich) and with a queen ant assisted by Phyllis Diller's entire routine - a "Fang"-like old guy, a small dog-like aphid, and Diller's precious voice and laugh.

The plot is successful but not as strong as other aspects. We see the independent thinking Flik (voice of Dave Foley), an ant who has broken away from the ranks and invented a device to make harvesting easier. Although he is sharp and well-intentioned, Flik is also dense enough to repeatedly endanger the colony. He is known to the royal family, and quickly falls in love with the queen's daughter Atta (voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus). When Flik accidentally ruins the food the ants have gathered for the mean grasshoppers, the colony is faced with gathering twice as much food, or facing the wrath of the larger insects as soon as the last leaf falls. When autumn comes we are set up for the showdown, and it is an engaging one to watch.

If you saw even a trailer for DreamWorks' Antz, do the plot elements of A Bug's Life seem nearly identical? I have purposely forgotten many of the details surrounding the genesis of Antz, the premise perhaps coming along with an executive from Disney to the newer studio. But Disney has a right to be upset at the derivative nature of the film that was begun later but released earlier. It is difficult to say which is the better film. I have already declared Pixar's animation superior. As far as target audiences, A Bug's Life is more appropriate for children. Not that Antz doesn't work for kids - it's just that in many ways it is a vehicle for Woody Allen, who does the voice of an neurotic ant who bucks the system, falls in love with the princess, and saves the colony. Antz has a greater number of jokes that Mom and Dad would enjoy.

My call is that Antz owns the edge for voices. Gene Hackman, the inimitable Christopher Walken, Sylvester Stallone, Allen - these actors lend their character voices that are quirky, unique and memorable. Outstanding talents in A Bug's Life include Diller, David Hyde Pierce as Slim the walking stick, and John Ratzenberger as the circus-owning flea. Other actors do a very adequate job, but fail to go over-the-top in a way that makes you chuckle just to remember the funny dimension to a voice itself. For instance, why didn't Lasseter have Louis-Dreyfus to an Elaine-ism, crying, "Get out!" and pushing Flik backwards? Where are Andy Devine, June Foray and Sterling Holloway when you need them?

An aside: you must stay for the closing credits. Randy Newman sings one of his funky songs (why didn't you do more with lyrics, Randy?); and there are belly laugh-inducing outtakes that are well worth being last to leave the theater.

My children claim not to like one film better than the other. I would as soon sit through Antz a second time. But for pure visual enjoyment, A Bug's Life is beautiful. I recommend you find a reasonably priced theater, smuggle in Reese's Cups and Twizzlers, and share an afternoon with the kids in your life.

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
a bugs life,

a bugs life is the best movie i have ever seen. i love how the characters move like they are alive! The movie is so superb i think parents would even get a kick out of it. Disney & Pixar did a wonderfull job! They are very talented people and i thank them for their entertainment

Sincerely, christopher bergman

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
Incredible animation! Familiar voices from Toy Story. Good humor for adults, and of course the kids loved it too. Don't miss the blooper outtakes which come at the end after the credits.

[--- Good ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
I went to see A Bug's Life opening night and had a really good time. I felt that I received an appropriate amount of entertainment for the money I spent. This movie is one that the whole family can enjoy or you can just enjoy by yourself. Of course, the computer animation was one of the big reasons I wanted to see this movie. And I wasn't disappointed. This is one of the clearest movies I've ever seen and I was sitting toward the front. The storyline is not to bad either. I didn't find it entirely predictable. The humor takes a while to get started but don't worry. You'll be falling out of your seat and rolling on the floor later on. Overall a good movie that was fun to see in the theaters and one that I will look for when it comes out on tape.

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
The latest Disney/Pixar animation film is definately worth seeing. Regardless if you are an adult or an inspiring adult, this movie is good fun and good laughs. The story line is simple enough...One lonely ant must save the ant colony from invading grasshoppers. Those annoying critters have had the ants as slaves, gathering food for a long time. Filmed in Panavision (A first for an animation film) and mixed with split surround SDDS sound, this film delivers in every way. A definate on my too see list for all you movie viewers out there.

[--- Good ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
I thought this movie was well animated. If I had children, ages 3-7,I would take them to see it. It's a cute story. For older children, this movie would probably be boring. However, if your children don't want to see it, it isn't worth the money. Then your better off waiting for the rental.

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
This movie is good. As most of you know "A Bugs Life" is the latest CGI feature from Disney and Pixar. It is extremely well done especially the attention paid to the background. This feature seemed appropriate for the younger audience as well as their parents. Kevin Spacey is very well cast as the villainous Hopper, the leader of the grasshoppers. Just a note don't leave before the credits finish. I won't give it away but it is creative.

[--- Good ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
No, itís no Antz, but it is a very good film in its own right. Its amazing to watch where Pixar has come from even a couple of years ago, that being Toy Story, my favorite movie of 1995. Watch little details in A Bugís Life like the backgrounds. Blades of grass move in the wind, never satisfied to be stagnant. Objects cast shadows which move if their host moves. And the story is engaging once it finally gets going, following the adventures of Flick and his fun circus companions. And you'd think with just about EVERYONE telling people to stay for the end credits, they'd listen, right? Nope, about 3/4 of a packed house missed the best part of A BUG'S LIFE by leaving as soon as the first word of the end credits appeared on the screen. Bad moviegoers! Bad!

10-point scale rating: 7

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
I've taken 2 sets of grandchildren to see this, & if I had any more grandkids would go back again -- you can't absorb it all in one viewing. Simple enough for the little ones to enjoy, but much humor & nuance for the grownups. A really delightful show.

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
Emilio Tostado A BUG'S LIFE G 1998 My Rating: 9-10

One day while an ant colony was piling food, one of the ants, Flik (voiced by Dave Foley) by accidently knocks over the food pile, and it all falls into a pond and are out of view. When a pack of mean grasshoppers come to claim their food, but find nothing there, they get angry. The leader, Hopper (voiced by Kevin Spacey), says that they need more next time they come. Flik decides to have a war, and he embarks on a trip to find some bugs that will fight on their side and keep the grasshoppers away for good!

Between Antz and A Bug's Life, I just can't decide which one is better. But what I thought was good about Bug's Life was all the sight gags and the creativity put into it, like a leaf for a mural, and a backpack. Food brand named boxes and cans for stores and homes. It's elaborate, all the techniques for their living style. It's so cute.

The animation goes beyond great. It has a lot more lighting props, more movements, and better graphics than it's predecesor, Toy Story. It's a great family movie that kids as little as 3 can see and enjoy. It's full of fun, humor, sight gags, action, and family appeal. Enjoy!!

[--- Good ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
There were adults in the theatre that came without children that were laughing their fannies off. My children, aged 8 years to 12 months loved it. And so did my husband and I.

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
My son and I really enjoyed "A Bug's Life". This movie is a great family movie.

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
My name is Laura. I went and saw A Bug's Life around the time it first came out during Thanksgiving and I am still obsessed with that movie. No I am not a little kid. I am actually 22 years old and I absolutely loved this movie. I am going to go see it again to see the new bloopers next week sometime and it is now the middle of January. The movie was just absolutely adorable and I do not understand why everyone is saying that there was no talent in this movie compared to Antz. The talent was incredible. I recommend that if you have enjoyed kids movies in the past, then you should get to the theatre to go see this movie. You laugh from the first cartoon Gerald's Game comes on to the funny little screw-ups at the end.

[--- Good ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
I went to see the movie after it was out for a while thinking I would be bored. Actually I was well entertained throughout the whole movie. It was really funny and it's cool to see the adults and kids enjoying a movie together. I wouldn't be a pinch-penny on this one, it's worth every penny you pay on it. A little tip, the refreshments and snacks are outrageous, so sneek your own in. Then you can still afford to go and watch it again! Also the back-ground and computer graphics are really cool so WATCH IT!!! Amanda-14:)

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
"A bug's Life" is one of the cutest, and funniest kids movies I have ever seen. Actually it isn't even a kids movie, it's a movie for anyone who wants to have a great time laughing. Because that's all I did....(it's better than ANTZ!!!)

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
A Bug's Life was one of the best Disney movies I have seen in a long time. How someone can say that kids over the age of 7 would think it was boring, and it's too scary for kids under 6 I don't understand. For one thing, I am a teenager, and this is one of my favorite movies ever. As for it being scary, my little sister saw it and loved it (she's 5). Also, did you check out the violence in Antz? Now THAT was gruesome. What are these little kids going to think when they see an ant without a head and spears sticking out of insects all over the place? At least they gave it a PG rating. Anyway, A Bug's Life had nearly perfect animation, an awesome storyline, and hardly any violence. It also had enough creative humor to keep me (and my parents, for that matter) entertained for the entire show. One more thing, if you don't stay for the ending credits, you'll never forgive yourself.

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
Pixar rocks. These guys know how to make a "kiddie" flick accessible to audiences of all ages. Filled with clever jokes, some for adults, some for kids, this film will have the viewer in stitches by the finale. A Bug's Life is one of the best movies of the year, and probably deserves a Best Picture nomination.

The animation in this film is absolutely seamless. From the first reel, the audience is drawn into a world where one drop of water is a thirst-quenching drink and blades of grass are as tall as trees. Visually, A Bug's Life is stunning. The film is filled with vibrant color and scenery that provides the viewer with constant eye candy. The insects' movements are fluid, and their appearance is smooth. Eventually, I forgot I was watching animated bugs, they seemed so much like real people!

Basically, the film deals with an idealistic ant named Flik (voiced by Dave Foley), who comes up with a plan to stop the grasshoppers from invading every year and eating all the ants' food. The princess (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) decides to send him on this quest, mainly because she wants to get rid of him. Flik enlists the help of what he thinks are tough bugs, but they turn out to be circus performers. Hilarity ensues.

Some of the voice work in this film is quite good, though not in the caliber of Antz. Kevin Spacey is particulary meanacing as Hopper, the head grasshopper. Denis Leary is hilarious as a male ladybug who is constantly mistaken for a female. The voices, however, are not nearly as important as the characters. Heimlich, the ever-hungry caterpillar, is perhaps the sweetest character of the year, and two Hungarian pill bugs/acrobats, Tuck and Roll, are a complete riot.

Everyone should see this film. It will make you laugh. You'll fall in love with the characters. And definitely stay for the ending credits.

[--- Wait for Rental ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
I don't know if I've ever had less to say about a movie than I do about this one. The only conclusions I have drawn is that the movie seemed too long (although it was only an hour and a half, it seemed like an eternity), and that it was a bit scary for young children, in my opinion. I thought the story was kind of boring, and there were too many characters to keep track of. The only thing this movie really had going for it was its spectacular visual effects.

My rating: ** out of *****

[--- Good ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
If there was a grading thing that had the title "cute" on it, This movie would get that. However, I'll settle for "good." This movie is not intended for adults, hoever, when I went I had a couple of chuckles. The main reason I wanted to see this movie was for the graphics. they do great things over at Pixar and it shows in this film. I thought that the movie was adequate for children. Some situations were scary, such as the fleet of grasshoppers. I'd have to say that the grasshoppers in this movie even scared me and I'm 19 years old, that and I hate grasshoppers. Also "the fire death" circus scence was a tense moment that might upset some kids. On whole, If you like "Toy Story" you'll like this movie. Woody even appears in this one.:-)

[--- See Now! ---]by  Jan 25, 2000
This movie was really a surprise for me. My wife and I wanted to see a movie, and had read great reviews from Roger Ebert and others about "A Bugs Life", so we decided to give it a try. This was a movie mainly geared for younger children, but also very enjoyable for adults as well. The story was well thought of. The voices and characterizations matched the computer animated ants almost perfectly. I would higly recommend you see this movie while its at the theater. If you take your kids or grandkids, its one of the rare movies where you'll both probably enjoy it a lot. **** out of *****.

[--- See Now! ---]by VIP MemberNov 10, 2003
This is a light-hearted and fun tale of an ant who just can't get it together. He's got good ideas, the eye of the pretty ant princess, but just when things are going good for him, he blunders and embarrasses himself. Sounds like high school...

The hoppers might be a little scary for the little ones, but the rest of the film is very kid-friendly, with plenty of comedy and cute moments to please kids of all ages.
[--- See Now! ---]by VIP MemberAug 31, 2006
"A Bug's Life" is another excellent movie from Pixar, who is riding off the success of "Toy Story." A group of ants is under attack by the means grasshoppers led by Hopper, so an ant named Fiix goes to the city to recuit some circus performaers who he though were warriors. This to me, is an aminated version of "the Magnificent Seven" which is also is a remake of Akira Kunoswa's "Seven Samurai." and the music score is one of the best that I ever heard by Randy Newman. "A Bug's Life" is so full of life, I wanted to see it again.

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