PIXAR MASTERPIECE REVIEW: “A Bug’s Life” is voiced by Dave Foley (Monsters University, NewsRadio [TV series]), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards [TV series], Superman Returns), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld [TV series], Veep [TV series]), Hayden Panettiere (Heroes [TV series], Nashville [TV series]), Phyllis Diller (The Aristocrats, Forget About It), Richard Kind (Inside Out , Spin City [TV series]), David Hyde Pierce (Frasier [TV series], The Fisher King), Joe Ranft (Cars, Finding Nemo), Denis Leary (Ice Age, Two If by Sea), Jonathan Harris (Lost in Space [TV series], The Third Man [TV series]), Madeline Kahn (Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles), Bonnie Hunt (Return to Me, The Green Mile), Michael McShane (Office Space, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), and John Ratzenberger (Cheers [TV series], Spirited Away). It is directed by both John Lasseter (Cars, Toy Story 2) and Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, John Carter), who also co-wrote the story with Joe Ranft, while Stanton also penned the screenplay with Don McEnery (Hercules , Boo, Zino, & the Snurks) and Bob Shaw (Hercules , Stuart Little: Call of the Wild [Video]). When an inventor ant known as Flik (Foley) jeopardizes his colony’s annual food offering to the feared grasshoppers, he sets himself out on a journey to find big bugs to stop the grasshoppers from profiting off of his mistake.
“A Bug’s Life” has to be the only Pixar film that I barely remember. It’s been a hefty seven or so years since I have seen it, so my memory was rather murky in trying to piece things together going in. Pushing in the VHS tape (that can tell you how long it’s been), I sat back to see how this movie has held up over time, and if it is worthy of the Pixar name. To be honest, I think not watching it for so long has done a service to me because seeing this film again was like viewing it for the first time, with only a few things that I remembered showing up along the way. After seeing this release today, I can tell you that it was not too shabby. When compared to the other Pixar single-run films (Up, Wall•E, Ratatouille), this one doesn’t have much to boast about, but I still had a fun time in watching it. The comedy served well to the story, the characters were unique, and the style of it was rustic; a good touch. There’s plenty to serve to your needs in wanting a good time, but in terms of being something masterful or groundbreaking, this falls short. One big reason why “A Bug’s Life” falls under the radar in any Pixar lover’s eyes is the fact that it premiered in the same year as “Antz.” Same species of characters, same perspective. It’s a shame that it had to happen that way, but what am I going to do? Another reason why this release doesn’t give back on the same level as “Toy Story” is because of its flat plot. Before you fans of this film pull out your pitchforks, let me explain myself. Although this adventure can be fun, the writers have trouble making our characters deep and their situation impactful. No human can relate to a bug unless writers can make it so, and in this I couldn’t connect to our figures. I understood their situation and felt sorry for them, but I wasn’t necessarily clinging onto them and cheering when they made progress. Yes, I said that the characters were unique, and they are. Flik was a nice lead to watch and his circus buddies were entertaining. I laughed seeing them perform, and the voice acting was great. The villain was cool too, especially with Kevin Spacey’s voice behind the character. He was awesome, and I thought he had a good motive. I just wasn’t impacted by this movie. It wasn’t a heavy experience, and I don’t think that it was meant to be. Everything was covered in its own way, and it can either be highly regarded by fans or not. For me, I found that this is to be a movie best served as something fun more so notable. I give them props for making an original story, it just wasn’t one that had me wrapped up in its world. It was a beautiful world, though, because the animation was good. It’s a step up from “Toy Story,” being that it came after, and I do admit that it isn’t bad. There are crude aspects about it, but I found many things to be really good. The shadows casting from the blades of grass to the glowing blues inside the anthill are wonderful to see. I wish that I saw it in better quality, being that I did see this on a VHS tape. The plot had a smooth pace to it, and there were quite a bit of scenes that I found memorable (my favorites being the beginning with the fallen leaf and when the “warriors” were given a show). It even had a satisfying conclusion that did well in displaying rain. What I can say to you when considering this film is that you will like the experience. I’m sure that anyone who sees this will find some enjoyment in it, but they definitely won’t be as blown away by it as they were with “Toy Story.” I’m not really disappointed in this feature, but it could’ve done better in pulling me in and never letting me go. Overall, if you are a fan of Pixar, you may like this one. If you are looking for a fantastic animated release, I’d point you to “Toy Story.” On a side note, the blooper reel they have in the credits is by far hilarious and a phenomenal add-on. FINAL SCORE: 80%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
Here is the review for the short film, “Geri’s Game.”
MOVIE SHORT REVIEW: “Geri’s Game” is a 1997 short film voiced by Rob Peterson (Monsters Inc., Up), while being written and directed by Jan Pinkava (Ratatouille, Windy Day [short]). It is about an old man playing a strategic game of chess with himself.
Unlike “A Bug’s Life,” I remember this short film all too well. To me, “Geri’s Game” is one of the most iconic Pixar shorts to date, as it has such an innocent and funny story that will surely leave its viewers happy. Looking back on it now, the animation does look crude, with Geri looking rather blocky in the hands and the trees having little detail. However, the entertaining plot really shrouds all of that, as I had a good time in seeing this again. There isn’t much else to say about it. It’s an old man playing chess with himself, which may seem sad to some, but it is actually quite funny. The conclusion to this finished it off nicely and I’d recommend anyone to check out this nice short. There isn’t much to it, but you’ll enjoy it, I assure that. Heck, it even won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 1997. I’m sure that’s enough to draw anyone in. FINAL SCORE: 89%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the full short: