Another Sunday, another look at a movie that can change your life! Welcome to episode 7 of Sunday Cinema Reflections. This time around, I'd like to take a look at another wonderful kids' movie with a potent message.
Episode 2: Snowden
Episode 3: The Peaceful Warrior
Episode 4: They Live
Episode 5: Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land
Episode 6: The Big Short
Episode 7: A Bug's Life
A Bug's Life was inspired by Aesop's fable The Ant and The Grasshopper, combined with a tale of a parasitic ruling class, and the standard trope of the bunch of misfits defeating that ruling class.
The movie was written & directed by John Lasseter & Andrew Stanton, the same team behind the Toy Story movies, Finding Nemo, etc. The score was written by Randy Newman (of course).
Though many preferred Antz (released close to the same time), the movie was a huge financial success, and I believe an important example of how the fear of the working class is the only thing keeping the "rulers" in power.
The movie is centered on Flik, a failed inventor ant, part of a colony of ants who are stuck in a cycle of violent oppression by some grasshoppers who demand that they collect enough food for them, "or else". When one of Flik's inventions causes the loss of the food supply that has been collected, Flik heads off to get help.
Rather than finding heroes, he finds a traveling bug circus, who think he is hiring them for a gig. Through a series of comedic events, Flik alternates between the role of hero and fool, finally tricking the leader of the grasshoppers into getting close to a bird's nest and freeing his people.
Hopper: Let this be a lesson to all you ants! Ideas are very dangerous things! You are mindless, soil-shoving losers, put on this Earth to serve us!
Flik: You're wrong, Hopper. Ants are not meant to serve grasshoppers.I've seen these ants do great things, and year after year they somehow manage to pick food for themselves and you. So-so who is the weaker species? Ants don't serve grasshoppers! It's you who need us! We're a lot stronger than you say we are... And you know it, don't you?
Flik: Ants are not meant to serve grasshoppers. I've seen these ants do great things... and year after year, they somehow manage to pick enough food for themselves and you. So-so who's the weaker species? Ants don't serve grasshoppers! It's you who need us! We're a lot stronger than you say we are… and you know it… don't you?
Princess Atta: You see, Hopper. Nature has a certain order - the ants pick the food, the ants keep the food, and the grasshoppers... leave.
Worker Ant #1: No, no, no. Oh, no. Oh, no. I’m lost! Where’s the line? It just went away. What do I do? What do I do?
Worker Ant #2: Help!
Worker Ant #3: We’ll be stuck here forever!
Mr. Soil: Do not panic, do not panic. We are trained professionals. Now, stay calm. We are going around the leaf.
Worker Ant #1: Around the leaf. I don’t think we can do that.
Mr. Soil: Oh, nonsense. This is nothing compared to the twig of ’93. That’s it. That’s it. Good! You’re doing great! There you go. There you go! Watch my eyes. Don’t look away. And here’s the line again!
Why I Wanted to Share A Bug's Life
As I mentioned in a previous episode, one of the things I've been looking for over the last couple of years is to find movies/shows that folks can watch with their kids that don't contain the standard statist, corporatist, disempowering BS programming. Obviously there aren't all that many options, but there are certainly a few, and I plan to showcase them all in this series.