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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.41%
Just Average: 8.62%
Pretty Crappy: 6.32%
Sucks: 5.17%

4 reviews, 150 user ratings

Bug's Life, A
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Disney/Pixar's bland retort to 'Antz.'"
2 stars

Perhaps 'A Bug's Life' would play better if if hadn't come so soon after 'Antz,' but not much better.

Though the films were clearly developed and made around the same time, this Disney/Pixar animated feature almost feels like a copy of the earlier DreamWorks movie. A Bug's Life has the same wisecracking dialogue, the same basic plot (a wimpy ant helps his colony defeat a vicious tyrant, though here the villain is a grasshopper instead of a military ant), a similar look, a comparable theme (in both, an evil character says something like "Ideas are dangerous"), even some of the same gags. And, like Antz, this film doesn't even have musical numbers -- a surprising departure for Disney animated movies.

The problem is that, even if Antz didn't exist, A Bug's Life would still be eye-catching but immediately forgettable. This is the second feature by John Lasseter, who directed Disney/Pixar's wildly popular Toy Story, which left me cold. Halfway through A Bug's Life, I began to yearn for the relative simplicity of Toy Story. The movie is always teeming with movement and color, but you never quite forget that the insect heroes are ready-made toys. The characters in Antz were like wiry action figures; the Bug's Life menagerie are more like Beanie Babies.

The hero is Flik (voice by Dave Foley), a dreamer whose schemes don't impress his fellow ants, who are too busy gathering food for seasonal offerings to the fascistic grasshoppers. Led by the malicious Hopper (Kevin Spacey, whose voice work here lacks his usual deadpan cool), the grasshoppers have terrorized the ants into keeping them well-fed. Flik has an idea: He'll leave the colony and search for bigger bugs to help the ants fight their oppressors. He finds a group of rowdy critters he thinks are warrior bugs, but are actually circus performers: a black widow (Bonnie Hunt), a macho ladybug (Denis Leary, not as funny as you'd expect), a plump and bumbling caterpillar (Joe Ranft), and so on.

What follows is all very cutesy and lightweight, without the verbal wit of Antz or the visual splendor of James and the Giant Peach. The landscapes, framed in ostentatious widescreen (for a movie about bugs?), are exquisitely detailed, and a few of the touches have comic ingenuity. But again, as with Toy Story, I felt both locked out of the narrative and locked inside the claustrophobic, untouched-by-human-hands look of the movie. John Lasseter doesn't really create a world and let you enter it. He programs a world and then surrounds you with it, aggressively.

The plot, involving the creation of a fake bird meant to scare the grasshoppers away, leads nowhere. It's as if the moviemakers needed a way to get the other ants involved in their own destiny -- otherwise this is a movie about characters who can't handle their problems and have to recruit outside forces. (Nobody points out that, having been scared off, the grasshoppers will probably come back again.) A Bug's Life doesn't merit much enthusiasm or indignation; it just skitters across your consciousness, leaving no traces except a vague depression.

A lot of people put in a lot of hours on this, and for what? The movie will certainly sell toys and hamburgers, but it won't endure as a work of fantasy. For that, it needs a vision that extends beyond the Disney boardroom.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=177&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/27/07 17:44:45
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User Comments

8/08/15 Jake Even if this is not as popular as Toy Story or Inside Out, this amazing film. 5 stars
12/23/13 Michelle O got to experience the Disney World "RIDE" with my kids = sheer delight! 5 stars
5/10/13 pikachu Vieja no está tan mal 3 stars
10/18/11 Magic Possibly the best remake of Seven Samurai ever. 4 stars
12/29/09 Dane Youssef Suprasses their earlier triumph "Toy Story." This one shows a whole universe in the grass. 5 stars
10/22/09 Boy18 Community engagement is a two-way street where the school, families, and the com- munity ac 4 stars
7/12/09 nparker people swearing at a bugs life....GET A LIFE IDIOTS! 5 stars
3/29/08 Pamela White PIXAR great animation but needed a better script 3 stars
3/21/08 chienne Er, not as verbally witty as Antz? Isn't it a kid's film? Superior in every way 2 Antz. 5 stars
7/27/07 mb Interesting 3 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday Thouroughly enjoyable movie for the entire family. 4 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Good, clean Disney/Pixar fun 4 stars
2/08/07 Raph Branca Another Pixar triumph. 5 stars
9/21/06 ProSneakyD Not as sophisticated as Toy Story, but an amazing effort & the circus bugs are hillarious. 4 stars
7/12/06 David Cohen I liked it 5 stars
5/28/06 Troy M. Grzych Funny, Nice effort from PIXAR, but not their best. 4 stars
5/10/06 chienne We simply loved it, STILL waiting for the sequel 5 stars
12/06/05 Quigley the old geezer playing chess with himself is the only reason to watch this. pixar's weakest 3 stars
10/30/05 Jeanne It's an entomologist's "Seven Samurai"! - wonderful. 5 stars
9/07/05 Ladybug I love this movie! espcially francis. 5 stars
6/08/05 oh my god but if u like him fine 2 stars
6/08/05 oh my god ew his a ugly dog 1 stars
6/08/05 HOT CHIK I LUV JUSTIN IDAT 5 stars
6/08/05 hadka ill tell u something its just all bullshit crap 1 stars
6/08/05 broll not its all a piece of crap 1 stars
6/08/05 kate pretty good 5 stars
6/08/05 Kimba Its da best 5 stars
6/08/05 kate its alright for kids 3 stars
6/08/05 Shauna Is a great children's film 5 stars
2/05/05 clinger26 One of disney's greates 5 stars
1/14/05 Smytheman Pixar's films best of animation 4 stars
1/03/05 t-1000 I didn't laugh even once! this is no imaginative at all; hyped-up bullshit 1 stars
6/29/04 James Bond Pixar magic 5 stars
6/04/04 Sean Scanlan Pixar is alot better than all the dumb shows, except for one, on Cartoon Fridays 5 stars
6/03/04 Daveman An insect version of The Seven Samurai! Brilliant! 4 stars
5/16/04 DM Funny and well-acted, but a bit too predictable 4 stars
5/14/04 Sean Scanlan So funny 5 stars
4/23/04 J. Pianta great animated movie, pixar's best! 5 stars
3/28/04 LadyApocalymon This has been my favorite movie ever since I first saw it. Doesn't get any better. =) 5 stars
2/28/04 Littlepurch In my opinion, best of the Disney/Pixar films. Spacey is yet another excellent bad guy! 5 stars
12/08/03 john disappointing compared to Toy Story and Nemo but cute 3 stars
6/23/03 Lush Yet another great way to rip off a Kurosawa film. Turn the seven samurai into bugs, 4 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Pretty damn cool. 5 stars
12/08/02 Goofy Maxwell I'd watch this anytime but I'd watch live ants before watching Antz. 5 stars
10/26/02 Charles Tatum Better than Shrek 5 stars
2/16/02 R.W. Welch Crack animation but the story line doesn't really hold you. 3 stars
12/16/01 Michael T.S. Browne Goddamn right, Oz & Ryan_A, WONDERFUL CARTOON. One of the best movies I have ever seen =^) 5 stars
8/28/01 Gary Visually awesome, excellent voiceovers and slapstick but lacking Antz's heart and wit. 4 stars
8/08/01 E-Funk Great Disney movie. Fun and innovative. 4 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat IF YOU MISS THIS MOVIE, IT'S A SHAME! 5 stars
6/20/01 J No offense that I am disappointed about going with Erik more than Ryan and OZ but its good. 4 stars
4/09/01 Gary This was a great movie. 5 stars
11/12/00 The EVIL Penguin I disagree with Pokejedservo 2 stars
11/02/00 buzz ok, but toy story was much better. Goofs at end r funniest part 3 stars
3/23/00 David Rogers This one was actually disappointing compaired to Toy Story. 2 stars
3/01/00 Mic Lasseter (Toy Story 1 and 2) has yet to fail in any way. 5 stars
2/12/00 Richard Wright Not as witty or gripping as Toy Story 1 or 2, still a decent flick, fab animation as usual. 4 stars
8/22/99 Michael Grimm I liked Ants better 4 stars
6/27/99 caroline good 5 stars
6/21/99 Angie adorable movie!! the screwups in the end were hysterical!! 5 stars
5/30/99 kmk great animation and some funny moments. spacey rocks. 4 stars
5/17/99 jose david cabrales r. godd 5 stars
5/10/99 Angie I loved it!!! The special effects rocked!!! 5 stars
4/28/99 Dribble I can't wait for Toy Story 2! 2 stars
4/23/99 gibb cute movie 3 stars
3/11/99 Natasha Minnaert the movie was excellent, I loved it. 5 stars
2/27/99 ITALIANGUY. great as it was,but could have been HEAPS better. 4 stars
2/23/99 Julie LOL I was cracking up the whole time1 5 stars
2/23/99 Scott I see movies for free & I'd pay to see it again 5 stars
2/22/99 Jeff HOUN bug's life was definitely better than ANTZ, both could've used more work on the plots 4 stars
2/20/99 Shanandler Bong This was on my list of top ten flicks of '98. What #, though, I can't remember 5 stars
2/18/99 The Graduate Gorgeous animation and colorful characters, but the plot is paint-by-numbers. 4 stars
1/24/99 melissa i think that the movie coulda been betta,the graphics were good though 3 stars
1/24/99 Meepos. Animation far superior to Antz, story likewise. On it's own, awesome. 5 stars
1/19/99 Odd Pieman The only great part of this movie was the cut scenes during the credits. Decent movie. 3 stars
1/18/99 Yo Momma Incredible! Just incredible! 5 stars
1/15/99 Steve Kelley Think "Three Amigos" meets "Antz." The "Three Amigos" was better. "Antz" was better. 3 stars
1/15/99 ACME-TNT A Bugs Life rocks. Geri's Game rocks hard. Toy Story rocks harder. Antz Rocks the hardest!! 3 stars
1/15/99 donkey_dew Don't look at the light. Don't look at the light. I can't help it, it's beautiful! 1 stars
1/08/99 MRHOLLYWOOD !! could of been better !!, though funny,entertaining & money worthy,Kevin Spacey Rocks! 4 stars
1/07/99 demon_shredder Funny how Geri's Game knocked the socks off of the movie it preceded. Antz was far better. 1 stars
1/02/99 Negative Creep Beats the pants off of Antz. Hey that rhymed. 4 stars
1/02/99 Shana Slim was cute and Hopper was awesome. Pixar is the best CGI house. 5 stars
1/02/99 Dasha I was disapponted. Antz was MUCH better. 3 stars
1/02/99 Jules Great. And I loved the short film that preceded it! 4 stars
1/02/99 Critic Deluxe Outstanding. Clever dialog and entertaining characters. 5 stars
1/01/99 Fat Joe The bloopers in the credits are the only really funny part. 4 stars
1/01/99 John The kids loved it. I liked the segment with the bird. Hopper is superb. 5 stars
1/01/99 Oscar Goldman The state of the art in animation. Great verbal humor. 5 stars
1/01/99 Jack Deth Great flick,gotta love those grasshoppers,even better than toy story animation wise 5 stars
12/31/98 Jack Ripper Story could have been better, but the animation was out of this world. Worth the money. 5 stars
12/31/98 Lindsay It was cute, not as good as Toy Story though. 4 stars
12/30/98 grunter best Disney film in a decade; cleverly designed; TWEET TWEET!! 4 stars
12/29/98 Jules Very entertaining, but I gotta say, aside from the incredible animation, not much to it. 4 stars
12/29/98 Peter Fitswell The best of the genre this season. Rugrats was the only real competition. 5 stars
12/29/98 Sylvia The dialog is too sophisticated for little kids, but perfect for adults and older kids. 5 stars
12/29/98 FRED Groovy movie baby!!! 5 stars
12/28/98 Hugh Jass This thing rules! The bird segment was fantastic. Slim is great. Dot is cute. Funny! 5 stars
12/27/98 Mercury Hayes Unbelievable animation. The top CGI talent is at Pixar. PDI is minor league. 5 stars
12/26/98 Clint Beastwood Awesome!!!!!! Best kiddie flick of the season by far. 5 stars
12/25/98 Bridgette jiminy h. cricket! 4 stars
12/24/98 Jack Wilson Fantastic animation. Slim and Hopper are great. Pixar is in a class by itself. 5 stars
12/23/98 Lou Pine, Jr. Skews younger than Antz but neither film exploits the medium as deftly as Toy Story. 3 stars
12/18/98 Carole Whitehill Too busy. Kiddie oriented. ANTZ was much better 2 stars
12/18/98 PyThomas Pretty fucking clever of 'em to put animated "outtakes" during the closing credits. 5 stars
12/17/98 jenn EWWW 1 stars
12/14/98 boboy it's funny...thats great 4 stars
12/13/98 Binky A rare treat. A smart, funny, non consumerist movie. See studios? They do make money! 5 stars
12/12/98 Carl spectacular animation! 4 stars
12/10/98 Mike Mc excellent - check out the bloopers at the end (how bout a review WITHOUT mention of Antz?) 5 stars
12/10/98 Brent Funnier and better-animated than Antz. The "bloopers" at the end are hilarious. 5 stars
12/10/98 Bryan Too Funny 5 stars
12/07/98 sarah amazing,had everything; action, adventure,romance,great characters and animation. a must se 5 stars
12/06/98 Mr Showbiz More Kid-friendly than Antz but not as clever. 4 stars
12/04/98 Jason Stein Pixar=Kick ass movie...WAY better than Antz 5 stars
12/04/98 Shadow Raider Stunning CGI animation and terrific voicing. How beautiful. 5 stars
12/03/98 Burgandy Kevin Spacey rocked nads! Go see it, and drag your pain in the ass cousin with you. 5 stars
12/01/98 16 in, of swingin' meat and a bucket of balls Very, very funny. Superb animation and characterization make this one of the year's best! 5 stars
12/01/98 buddy This film erased the headache I had from watching Antz a few weeks earlier. 5 stars
12/01/98 Jerry Greatest animated film ever made. Makes Antz look like shit hanging off Katzenbergs asshole 5 stars
11/30/98 Kirgo For kids. Good but not as inventive as Antz. 4 stars
11/30/98 Michele "Flik" Lefkowitz Yeah!! BUG'S LIFE Kicks ASS!!! 5 stars
11/30/98 The Dude The motherfucking movies kick so much ass 5 stars
11/30/98 N. Hananoki The more times you view it the more you'll love it! Abundant fun & genius! 5 stars
11/29/98 Lindsay Very funny. Good film. Best part was the outtakes at the end. 5 stars
11/29/98 Ann Rogers Just an amazing film!!! 5 stars
11/27/98 Lord Of The Dunce Sensational movie. Leaves Antz looking pale. Or brown. 5 stars
11/26/98 Freyja Yeah...yeah...,YEAH!!!! It rocks! 5 stars
11/25/98 Jenni Ware absolutely lively and amazing , a masterpiece for sure... 5 stars
11/25/98 Katsat Funny, sweet, visually stunning. Slightly uneven but full of energy, delight. 5 stars
11/25/98 Louis Munro The visuals are excellent. Plenty of humor. A bit pastel. Better voices than in Antz. 5 stars
11/25/98 Bryan Bird ballot stuffing aside, it's a great film 5 stars
11/25/98 Andrew Kinney Un-fucking-believeable 5 stars
11/21/98 Baked Spam awesome, totally awesome. By far the best looking animated film of all time! 5 stars
11/17/98 Leticia Romero Toy Story was crap compared to this!! Kurosawa would have been pleased!! 5 stars
11/15/98 Manstruate A spectacular movie! Dave Foley is superb as Flik! Newman's score is stirring & beautiful! 5 stars
11/15/98 Martin Ransfield Incredibly funny, amazing visuals, great characters. Absolutely not just for kids. 5 stars
11/15/98 Kleckboy Yay Dave Foley. Yay Denis Leary. Yay other voice talents. 5 stars
11/15/98 Mr. Scream I'm gonna see the hell out of this flick. 5 stars
11/15/98 Josh Luttenberger ANTZ kicks ass to this movie that only a three year old would find funny. 1 stars
11/05/98 Andrew Gould This movie is spectacularly entertaining. 5 stars
11/02/98 Simon DeBolivar Incredible 5 stars
10/24/98 Lord Of The Dunce A great god damn movie. NOT a kiddie film. 5 stars
10/22/98 James Humberdink Friekin Killer!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/19/98 Dark Horizons Visually speaking at least, this film was absolutely awesome to look at, at least. 4 stars
10/03/98 spork-girl Pixar rules. Bah to Woody Allen. Save your 7.50 for this one. 5 stars
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  25-Nov-1998 (G)
  DVD: 27-May-2003


  03-Dec-1998 (G)

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