A Bug's Life
***.5 GM
Starring: Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Kevin Spacey, John Ratzenberger, Michael McShane, David Hyde Pierce, Denis Leary, Brad Garrett, Phyllis Diller


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Ladies and gentlemen, animation at its finest.

True, maybe I'm a sucker for cartoons and computer animation, but this film looked amazing - and it SHOULD, since Pixar's been working on this for years - and it was actually pretty damn funny. Maybe there's something about cartoons that allows a person to drop a lot of the personal annoyances towards particular celebrities and storylines and just sit back and have fun. That's what I did for this film. Although it didn't hurt to have voices of people I like giving life to the characters.

Dave Foley from "The Kids In The Hall" and "Newsradio" plays Flik, the goofball ant that actually has ideas about how to improve colony life. He's got a thing for Princess Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and a burning desire to make a difference and defend his beloved colony from Hopper (Kevin Spacey) and his nasty gang of grasshopper bullies. To this end, Flik ventures out to the city to recruit warriors, only to mistakenly return with a funny batch of circus bugs stolen from a flea circus led by P.T. Flea (John Ratzenberger). Wacky zany madcap hijinks ensue.

Standouts include Michael McShane as Tuck & Roll, two insane, gibberish-spouting pillbugs that embody the highest form of comedy - the non-sequitur. They come out of nowhere and scream nonsensical ramblings, slapping everyone and each other around. Genius! They provide the biggest laughs of a laugh-rich film. Denis Leary is also great as Francis, the butch ladybug that gets roped into being a den mother to a bunch of little girl scount ants. Ratzenberger's flea ringmaster is a joy to watch, and David Hyde Pierce's Slim the Walking Stick lends that not-quite-sophisticated-enough comic angle to the story.

The real credit goes to the animators from Pixar who have managed to capture the most miniscule of facial inflections and the most frantic of bodily gestures magnificently and seamlessly, creating an amazingly detailed and breathtakingly illustrated world fraught with natural wonders and frightening dangers - the devastation of rainfall on a tiny bunch of insects is an interesting concept to explore, and it's depicted as appropriately terrifying.

Thankfully, the story does not follow typical Disney protocol, using the little romance story between Flik and Atta as a backburner story, making sure that it doesn't drag the fun down with the sappy and trite "highfalutin gal falls for wacky different low-rung guy and isn't it immensely romantic and lovable to watch and gush over" stuff. Wisely, they keep the rapid-fire comedy coming at a blistering pace, and it works very well.

This is quite possibly one of the best animated films ever made. Of course, due to childhood bias, I still have to stick with "The Transformers: The Movie." However, since very few people will agree with me here, I highly recommend this film to kids and adults everywhere.

And no, I didn't see "Antz." I wanted to see this one first. Anyone who has the gumption to use "Baba O'Reilly" from The Who in their previews for a cartoon has earned my vote of approval.

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