Disney (Wednes)Day: A Bug’s Life

See, I can’t decide if I saw A Bug’s Life before or if didn’t which is really pathetic but I would have been around 11 at the time and I just really don’t know. Let’s just say, I think I saw it in theatres back in the day and move on.

A Bug’s Life was released in 1998, being the second theatrical animated movie release of 1998 for Disney.

The movie opens with nature shots and a pretty soundtrack while we zoom in on ants picking off the seeds from grass. They are all very busily marching in a row, dropping off their seeds at a certain point when a leaf falls down and everyone panics because where should they go now? The leaf is in the way. Oh good lord. But the situation is resolved very fast and everything can go back to normal.

Princess Anna has a panties in a twist over something I haven’t understood yet. Either way, she is nervous about getting everything ready for D-Day. She seems like a rather nervous person. A small royal baby ant emerges from the ground and it is adorable. Dot tries to use her wings but they aren’t grown enough yet.

Cut to Flik who has invented a harvester and keeps hitting poor Princess Anna with the left over grass. It’s kind of funny but also makes me feel sad for Flik because you can tell right away that his genius is not appreciated in his colony. He explains his invention but the others are having none of it and he broods away.

Flik wants to make a difference and he has a very sweet conversation with Dot about it. He uses a rock as a metaphor for a seed and that all its potential already lis within that seed, it just needs to get out. Something like that. I’m making it sound terrible but it was actually really nice.

The Horn of Gondor is used to notify the ants of the arrival of someone. The ants are running around like scared minions, muttering things about an offering stone and so on. They all gather inside their anthill. Flik, the last to enter knocks all the gathered food over. Womp, womp.

Cue for the crazy grasshoppers to arrive and I guess that’s who the ants were gathering food for. They are throwing a hissy-fit over the food not being there. Flik tries to stand up for himself but it isn’t working so well. The ants get an ultimatum to collect their food until the last leaf falls, then the grasshoppers will be back. OH NO! This means the ants will not have enough time to collect for for themselves and the grasshoppers. These bastards. Flik suggests they should leave the island they are currently on but they others aren’t really paying any attention to him with his being the reason they have to do this chore again and all. Instead Princess Anna suggests that Flik leaves the island alone, that way he can’t interfere with their operation. So Flik goes on an adventure into the big city.

Cut to a bug circus that isn’t very good. I can see why their audience is running away. Their jokes are really boring and not particularly good. The scene is rather long but nothing really substantial for the plot happens so I’ll spare you the details.

Flik arrives in the big city and he looks a bit overwhelmed with it all. Being who he is though, he immediately sets to work to finding warrior bugs. He ends up in a bar where, oh wonder oh wonder, the circus bugs are all brooding over their bad circussing.


Flik observes the circus bugs helping out one of their own and mistakes them for mighty warriors proving that his brain might not be too sharp after all. He asks them to help him out and they agree more so to get away from their own problems.

Back on the ant island, the ants look all tired and one even collapses from the heat and work. There just isn’t enough food around for them and the grasshoppers. Bummer. When Flik and his merry bugs appear, they first go into hiding because well, I would have done the same probably. They get out again soon enough though when they realise who it is that’s returned. Flik introduces the circus bugs and also his plan of fighting the hoppers which doesn’t seem to resonate so well with the rest of them because ants simply don’t fight grasshoppers. Sure, and women don’t go around working. Pff.

After some thinking, they decide to give this fighting idea a chance and throw a party. Just as Flik gives a speech that he himself hijacked from Anna, the Black Widow reveals to him that they are in fact circus bugs and no warriors. Whoopsie.

The circus bus run leave but Flik doesn’t approve so he follows them. They all end up very close to a bird who in return seems them as food and goes to town on them. Only with their combined efforts do they rescue everyone including little Dot who got himself in on this shenanigan somehow. They are basically saved by a thorny bush because he bird couldn’t follow them. Great Warriors my ass.

Flik and Anna are having a cut bonding moment. Anna reveals that she is very afraid at failing in her position as soon to be Queen and that’s why she acts so fluttery. Flik gives her a kiss on the cheek and did I say cute because oh mah gahd these two are so cute together.

Flik comes up with an idea of how to get rid of the evil grasshoppers but the circus bugs aren’t having any of it. Basically, they want to build a bird to scare the hoppers because they are afraid of birds. Sounds kind of easy. So now, instead of harvesting food, the ants are directing all their energy into building a bird. I understand that part of their problem was that the islands doesn’t provide enough food for all of them but idk, sounds wonky to me.

At the Hops, it looks like they are in Mexico having a grand ole time. Hoppers second in command asks why they even bother with the ants after all, they don’t like grain. Hopper agrees but reveals that the reason he cab’t let go is because Flik stood up to him and he can’t have that. “It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line.” How sweet.

Flik has promised to let the circus bugs leave after the bird is complete, without anybody else noticing. But they don’t want to leave, now that’s warming my heart. Just then, because everything is going fine and we can’t have that for too long, the owner of the bug circus comes strolling in looking for his people. Like that, the ants learn that their great warriors are in facts clowns. Anna i smithy disappointed and tells Flik to leave and never come back. MY FEELS!

The last leaf falls and the Hoppers come. The little ants run to their club house where Dot overhears one of the grasshoppers telling another one that they will first eat all their food and then kill the Queen. OH NO! Dot moves to call Flik for help but falls off a cliff. Thankfully he wrings have finally grown in and she can fly.

Dot finds Flik with the other circus bugs and he looks miserable, having a full on crisis of faith so she hands him a stone and he remembers their talk from the beginning of the movie.

Circus arrives as supposed entertainment for the grasshoppers. They distract the hopper long enough for Flik and the kids to release the bird and also get the Queen into safety. It all looks quite successful until the bird catches fire and it all goes down in flames.

Flik stands up for himself again but gets kicked around by the hoppers instead. But this time, Anna gets in there herself which in return gives the collective ants enough boost to fight the hoppers. They are only slowed down by heavy rain fall. Hopper leaves with Flik but Anna comes to his rescue together with he circus bugs. They land in the vicinity of the real bird from earlier which the Hopper thinks is another contraption but turns out to be the real thing, He gets eaten. HUZZAH!

Next spring, life is good. The circus is leaving and they have taken on one of the leftover grasshoppers. Flik and Anna are all squee-worthy. Flik gets applause for his courage and great works and Anna kisses him on the cheek. Last but not least, Anna becomes Queen and everyone is happy.

The end.

Now this was a cute movie. I did forget a lot of things over the last 15 years but can you blame me? I like that both Anna and Flik are flawed and complicated characters. Their lives mimic real life pretty¬†well. All in all I really likes this movie though I’m not sure it has as much rewatchability as other ones. At least not for me.

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  • Vanessa

    I think this is my favourite take on the Seven Samurai story. But of course it is, it’s Pixar. I’m biased.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      The Seven Samurai story?

      • Vanessa

        Sorry, it’s a Japanese film. The plot’s inspired so many other films over the years.