Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Bug's Life

Unlike most of the Pixar movies (with the possible exception of The Incredibles) which focus on one main character (or a pair of them), this is the closest the studio came to a true ensemble picture. And honestly, with a movie about a colony of insects, how could that not be the case! That is the true victory of this film, the richness of its secondary cast members. Each one of the circus bugs is so well cast and characterized, and oftentimes are the most well-remembered parts of the movie. The fat and lovable Heimlich who only wants to be a butterfly, the ladybug who is actually a man-bug, and the two spanish/russian/?-speaking pill bugs ("You fired!") just to name a few!
The plot channels many classic films like Seven Samurai, and follows the plight of a helpless group of insects which must come to an understanding of their place in the world while under the oppression of the evil grasshoppers. The ants (spearheaded by the outcast Flik) seek in vain to find an extrinsic solution to their problem, in the end discovering that they had always held the power to vanquishing the enemy...the power within (cue Chariots of Fire music). Ironically this is something that the villains had known and exploited all along, exhibiting a simple yet powerful lesson (which history has shown us time and time again) on the ability of the 'powerful' few managing to oppress the 'weak' many.
The animation in this movie was stunning, giving the viewer a glimpse into how nature is seen from the other side. And last but certainly not least is what i consider to be the most ingeniously clever thing that has ever been done in an animated film, outtakes. I mean seriously, whoever had that idea should be set for life, because it was a stroke of brilliance!!

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