Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A Bug's Life

Pixar time again, wrapping it up since I've reviewed nearly all of them.

Boy it has been a minute and a half since I watched this movie! Like over 15 years so I knew this was gonna be an interesting walk down memory lane, how does it hold up? I like it but that's all I'll give it. The story revolves around a colony of ants being harassed by a gang of grasshoppers for food, and a young imaginative ant named Flik journeys out to find warrior bugs to help solve their problem, he meets a group of circus performers who he mistakes for fighters, and has to come up with more plans to save the colony. It's pretty much Walt Disney's Seven Samurai in concept, obviously the movie goes about it's own way but the template is undeniable. And I gotta say for just the second Pixar feature film the animation genuinely holds up pretty damn good! It's stylized of course, there be no Lion King remake realism here, but the colors, the physics of certain natural elements, the environments themselves, it's solid man! I wasn't thinking the movie was gonna look aged to shit, but I also didn't truly notice such details when I was but a wee lad. In fact my complaints of the movie really just stem from the boring ass tired liar revealed trope, and even though it hardly takes up any runtime I fast forward cause I just don't like it. But the cast is really good, David Foley as Flik has a lot of youthful energy and fully knows he is a nuisance to the colony but he is just trying to do the best he can. Julia Louise-Dreyfus as the princess Atta has some nice chemistry with Flik and even has some humorous moments so it's anything but stale. Kevin Spacey as Hopper is the reason you should watch this movie period, and I couldn't tell at all that was his voice but he has some real moments to shine and aside from our circus crew made me laugh the most. Now there's a lot of people in the circus troupe so I'll narrow it down to 4 characters. Denis Leary as the ladybug Francis, even with not much to do is a welcome addition and again I couldn't place the voice. I may be getting more senile with each passing week folks. David Hyde Pierce as a stick insect named Slim may be my favorite, just his deadpan delivery and resentment to be a prop really hit my funny bone. Bonnie Hunt who I've come to realize has had history with Pixar before, appearing here, Monsters Inc., Cars, Toy Story 3, and Zootopia, plays a black widow spider named Rosie, I can't explain it I just love her voice and this kinda ditzy persona she brings, again not too much screentime but the woman has my attention. Last but certainly not least John Ratzenberger as their manager P.T. Flea, it's frickin' John Ratzenberger he's always awesome and his fast talking money grubbing persona was a joy to watch. The movie made me laugh a bit and whenever there was a laugh it was a strong one, it doesn't emphasize a lot of the comedy it's more about the story and while there are a slight few puns the performances are mostly what sells it. That and just the sheer uninterested look Hopper has when he literally crushes 3 of his goons to desth just slayed me. Something else I never noticed was, the sound design is very very good in this movie. The grasshopper wings droning, all the little sound effects of the natural environment when interacted with, hell I'll even go to say the movie has striking moments based on sound. Silence to thundering revs of the wings of grasshoppers, the slow but heavy footfalls as they walk through a dense fog, and the movie takes something as simple as rain and makes it feel fucking apocalyptic as you see it sweep across the land and bombard the anthill. That's impressive man, I cannot commend that more if I tried. It has striking moments, decent characters, animation that I feel entirely stands the test of time, and a basic story told decently. Is it great? No. But as a studios second film where they were still very much finding their footing after the powerhouse of Toy Story, I'd say it's okay. I give it 2.5 stars, 6.5/10, and tomorrow another trip down memory lane as we step through a doorway to visit working class individuals keeping their city up and running.

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