A Bug’s Life Movie Review

By Alexis O.

Managing Editor

The hero’s journey is prevalent in almost every film, and A Bug’s Life is no exception. The trials and tribulations of the hero, or protagonist, engage viewers of all ages and create a valuable experience for the audience. In A Bug’s Life, the question is simply, “Will Flik find the courage to overcome the grasshoppers’ wrath?” The hero Flik’s earlier mistakes only led him to a triumphant victory among the enemy grasshoppers, combining strategy, determination, and support in his quest to free the colony of their enslaved state. A Bug’s Life teaches important lessons to the youth of today.

To begin, Flik starts out as a misfit ant in his colony. He is always inventing items and trying to impress the rest but hopelessly failing. He possesses all of the qualities of an outcast, but clearly he has potential to be something remarkable. All of the ants annually collect food, known as the “offering” for the grasshoppers.  This is when viewers are introduced to the enemy: Hopper and his gang of grasshoppers. When they arrive on Ant Island, the tone of the movie immediately becomes dark and gloomy. The colony is underground, and the grasshoppers break in and mock them in the shadowy depths of the earth. It is ironic how the main character is an ant, which we look at as insignificant, and he conquers the unthinkable.

Flik’s call to adventure occurs when the grasshoppers arrive and find that the ants have not collected any food for them. “What have you done?” says Princess Ada to Flik, and immediately the audience knows that Flik has gotten himself into trouble. The colony decides thbugs life AO 1at Flik needs to be punished for his actions, so they host a meeting where it is decided that Flik must go and find strong, warrior bugs to help fight off the grasshoppers. Flik is thrilled to represent his colony in such a manner, while his colony is ecstatic that he is leaving.

An important person, or ant for that matter, in A Bug’s Life is Dot, the next heir to Princess Ada’s throne. Dot would be considered Flik’s mentor because she looks up  to and believes in him. Also, she is the only one really on Flik’s side throughout the entire film. At the beginning, Flik tries referencing a rock to a seed. He tells her that the seed (rock) is small now but will one day become a big, beautiful tree. Dot cannot seem to get past the fact that it is a rock Flik is talking about, which shows how young and naive she really is, but nonetheless, she reminds him of this reference when he must face Hopper at the end of the film. This is what helps the hero fight the villain and gain the respect and acceptance of the colony on Ant Island.

Flik sets out to find warrior bugs to help his colony and arrives in a big city. When Flik “crosses the threshold,” he literally uses a dandelion to parasail his way across the rough terrain of what looks like the grand canyon, but in reality is just cracked dirt. This symbolizes Flik distancing himself from Ant Island and proving himself to everyone. When he arrives in the city, the mood changes again to dark but also with bright lights and many strange bugs. The imagery resembles an actual city with all of the hustle and bustle that comes along with it. In his quest to find his warriors, Flik comes across a group of what appears to be misfit bugs fighting a group of fruit flies. This is where Flik meets his allies: Slim the walking stick, Heimlich the caterpillar, Francis the ladybug, Manny the praying mantis, Gypsy the gypsy moth, Rosie the black widow spider, Tuck and Roll the woodlice, and Dim the rhinoceros beetle. While Flik believes they are heros, the audience sees that they are “down-on-their-luck traveling circus insects in need of a job.”

When Flik returns to the colony with the bugs he has found, the colony is surprised. They immediately shower the warrior bugs with gifts and try to prepare them to fight. The colors red and orange are used when the younger ants put on a skit, showing a bloody battle between the warrior bugs and grasshoppers. When the true circus bugs see this, they try to leave, but are stopped by a bird. This is key to what Flik must do to outsmart Hopper, and the hero soon realizes what he must do to be successful in the supreme ordeal.

When the grasshoppers arrive, Flik’s colony clearly outnumbers them, but fear keeps the ants at bay. Flick’s inventing skills come in handy when he constructs the mechanical bird, and it immediately scares the grasshoppers. The night is dark, and the lighting just adds to the effect of the drama. The grasshoppers start to retreat, but suddenly it starts to rain. Water, or rain, symbolizes purity, which in A Bug’s Life shows how Flik is purifying the colony of their enslavement to the grasshoppers. The mechanical bird catching on fire means that Flik must face Hopper himself. At the brink of death, fate steps in and sends the real bird. The bird chases Hopper away and ultimately all of the other grasshoppers. Hopper is fed to the bird’s babies.

The hero’s journey in A Bug’s Life is simply laid out, and ultimately Flik returns to the colony a more respected, appreciated ant, which answers the audience’s central dramatic question. The archetypal elements in this film mainly revolve around color and lighting, and the characters show human-like qualities. Flik’s daring and fearless attitude both contribute to his success in the bug world and lead him to success in freeing his colony.

 

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