Thursday, April 14, 2011

PIXAR @25: A BUG'S LIFE (1998) "It's a buggy bug world out there"

The Ant Island

The definition of a true hero is when you succeeded in saving others even if they hadn't believed in you.

The memory always comes back, when my siblings and I used to watch A Bug's Life (1998, directed by John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton) over and over again in VHS. The architectural design of the colony's anthill has always marveled me and made me want to dissect the pile of mud in our own backyard.

After peeking into the life of toys, Pixar took their wild imagination to the next level and entered the world of ants and bugs for us to learn the true meaning of heroism.

While the rest of the ants endure the routine manually collecting food and portraying slavery, Flik (Dave Foley) takes a stand with his inventions to collect more food the easy way, although he strongly believes ants shouldn't do the dirty job for the lazy freeloading grasshoppers.

We were still young and took the childish pleasure of turning on the water hose and wiping out the anthill in our backyards. And while watching A Bug's Life, we lick on our lollipops and suddenly contemplate on the real life of ants under the scorching sun, carrying heavy seeds and beans and realizing that at the end of the day, the food was not for them to munch.

While we once accepted the norm that ants are boring insects and simply never cease to line up, we've witnessed Flik's wild journey and even the colorful life of an insect circus troupe we've never imagined before.

It seriously depresses me that I last watched this movie when I was nine and I desperately want to watch it again. I had missed the vibrant circus troupe, especially Francis (Dennis Leary) the ladybug who's always mistaken as a girl, and Tuck and Roll (Michael McShane), the Hungarian twin pill bugs who, by character definition, always ended up fighting.

But what I missed the most was the group's quest to outwit Hopper (Kevin Spacey) and his swarm of grasshoppers by making a large fake bird, and how, at a young age, I finally understood one's dream of changing his own way of life because he believes it's not his.
Tuck and Roll: always ending up fighting
Somehow, a true hero is not officially defined as the Superman who saves the day, but the outcast who simply wants to change the world.

A BUG'S LIFE Fact sheet

1. The makers of A Bug's Life had admitted establishing the impression from a bug's point of view was no easy task. Pixar had even created a "bug cam" and shot the world from a bug's viewpoint to capture and refer from its majestic transluscency.
2. It became the highest grossing animated movie of 1998, collecting $362M in worldwide box office receipts.

3. The movie also garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Comedy Score, a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition, and four ASIFA Hollywood Annie Awards for Outstanding Feature, Directory, Writing and Production Design.

4. The Aesop fable The Ant and the Grasshopper became the movie's inspiration, when one day writer-director Andrew Stanton and storyboard artist Joe Ranft chatted about the story.

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