Chances are you remember the classic film A Bug’s Life – a charming film all about, well, a bug’s life! With this film reaching it’s 25 year anniversary, this article aims to celebrate it’s success. With a look back into it’s production, as well as how the story itself came to be.
What is A Bug’s Life?
For those that don’t know, A Bug’s Life is a 1998 American computer-animated comedy film. It came after the success of Toy Story in 1995, with it being the second feature-length film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. The director was John Lasseter, who also directed such films as Frozen (2013) and Zootopia (2016). It is regarded highly, standing at a solid 92% with Rotten Tomatoes.
The story of the film first takes us to a colony of ants. The ants are led by an older queen, as well as her daughter which is an ant princess. Every summer, the ants are forced to give over their hard earned food to a gang of grasshoppers, led by someone called – you guessed it – Hopper.
That is until a courageous ant, Flik, completely messes up. His newest invention, that was supposed to help with the food harvest, instead destroys their offering to the grasshoppers. Hopper then demands twice his usual amount and leaves. With the blame on Flik’s shoulders, the ants turn to him and expect him to fix the situation. Flik suggests that they enlist the help of bigger bugs – and is sent away. The colony thinks they will never see Flik again. However, he finds help. Flik just doesn’t realize that the fearsome warriors he thinks he’s found are actually unemployed circus acts. Literally. Will this unlikely group of heroes be able to save the colony?
That’s the spoiler free version. If you’re intrigued by that small synopsis, you can watch A Bug’s Life on Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon Prime and Disney+.
How Was A Bug’s Life Made?
The story behind this film actually came from a conversation at lunchtime. Lasseter was speaking with Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Joe Ranft – the studio’s head story team. Stories for Wall-E (2008), Monsters Inc (2001). and Finding Nemo (2003) were all discussed at this lunch as well. The story also branched from some earlier Disney stories, like their 1934 adaptation of The Grasshopper and The Ants.
Insects, like toys, were in reach of animation at the time. This is because they had relatively simple surfaces. Or at least, that’s what they thought. Production was difficult because of the complexity of the models; it would make the computers sluggish. The first scene to be animated was actually the “Flaming Wall of Death”. To help with models, the ants would stand on two legs and were given two arms instead of having all the limbs an actual ant would have. Things like mandibles were also removed to make them easier to animate.
To get the perspective of bugs, “BugCam” was invented. BugCam was a miniature video camera put onto a set of Lego wheels, to help the animators gain the right perspective. It would roll through things like grass in order to see what a a bug would see.
Will There Ever Be A Sequel?
Considering how old the film is in comparison to others, and there being no news of it, likely not. Pixar often produces stories that are confined to one film, and not to be broadcast another time. While Pixar has before waited decades before giving films sequels, many fans don’t think that A Bug’s Life will be one of them.
However, the franchise has branched out into things such as video games. A Bug’s Life video game was released on PlayStation and Gameboy Color in 1998. However, it only received “mixed to average” reviews.
What are your memories with A Bug’s Life? Would you want there to be a sequel, or are you happy for it to be a piece of nostalgia? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.