Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Bug's Life

A Bug's Life; CGI animated fantasy comedy, USA, 1998; D: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, S: Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Kevis Spacey, Denis Leary, Hayden Panettiere, Madeline Kahn, David Hyde Pierce

One ant colony has to pay taxes in the form of food to grasshoppers who terrorize them. One day, the clumsy ant Flik accidentally knocks the food into the river so the angry grasshoppers, led by tyrant Hopper, now demand a double portion. Flik decides to liberate ants from those parasites and goes to search for warriors who will help him. He finds 7 bugs, among them a caterpillar, a butterfly, a spider and a praying mantis, who mistake him for the circus owner who is looking for talents, so they go with him. When they realize they have to fight, they craft a giant fake bird, but it burns out. Still, a real bird shows up and eats Hopper while Flik becomes the hero.

"A Bug's Life", the 2nd entirely CGI animated film from the Pixar studios, is a simple crowd pleaser that served it's purpose of becoming a box office success: while the clever ideal "Antz" had a smart story and satirical sharpness, "A Bug's Life" is just a childish and naive mainstream film. As a whole, it's an easily watchable and easily forgettable achievement that entertains and serves as a light fun for kids, but director John Lasseter coped here much lesser than he did in his first CGI feature length film, the excellent "Toy Story": the story doesn't have any spectacularly genius scenes and it's filled with naive, lame, far fetched ideas (already the sole scene where ant Flik accidentally knocks the entire food stock into the river and ruins everything is hugely unrealistic - so it just happens that absolutely every supply of food is conveniently place precisely on the edge of the cliff?) while the parallels/homages to "the 7 Samurai" are convulsive, yet when the authors manage to get a joke right, then it's really excellent: for instance, an insect without wings is "handicapped" while a ladybug is hermaphrodite, whereas the fake "bloopers" during the end credits are great. It's a sweet, but too simple crafted film to be anything more than chidlish entertainment.


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