Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Bug’s Life

            A Bug’s Life is a cute story about an ant named Flik who does not fit in with his colony.  He seems to ruin every situation while trying to help the colony and makes one mistake that gets him sent out from the colony on a mission that everyone believes is impossible.  Flik is to find warrior bugs to fight against the suppressive grasshoppers who steal food and strike fear in the hearts of the ants.  These bugs have given the ants a deadline for an impossible amount of food.  Flik comes back with a troop of vicious bugs who are sure to be the colony’s saviors.  These bugs are actually circus bugs and have no chance of defending the colony.  By the time the queen ant and everyone else discover this, it is too late and the grasshoppers are almost to the colony.  The bugs must use their creativity to fight off the grasshoppers when all hope seems lost.  They succeed and Flik becomes a hero.  I would say that this film falls at the slightly to the right of center per Giannetti’s scale.  This film communicates importance of creativity and perseverance, but violence is depicted as necessary at times.

            In the movie, A Bug’s Life, like in all other children’s movies, there are many themes and positive elements that are being portrayed to the young minds watching.  The biggest ideas in this movie are creativity and perseverance.  Flik is clearly depicted as the protagonist early on and the movie is often shown from his point of view.  As shown in the scene above, Flik comes up with ideas to harvest seeds and other food quicker and builds a telescope from a leaf and dew droplet in the very beginning of the movie.  Despite these ideas seeming great to the viewer, the other ants criticize him and discourage his creativity.  The next thing we see is Flik accidentally destroying the leaf with the seed on it and losing every bit of food that the ants had worked so hard to harvest.  In this moment, I felt sympathy for and a connection to Flik, just as I am sure most young kids did too.  We all have moments where we feel like Flik.  Where we try to help, and make things better, but we end up making things worse.  Flik is later sent on his impossible task and succeeds in finding warrior bugs to help his colony.  This is the first time when the movie shows that hard work pays off.  Flik persevered and he is rewarded when he returns.  Shortly after, the colony realizes that Flik has brought a circus act instead of warriors and he is shut down again by his peers.  Even in this moment when hope seemed lost, Flik comes up with another great and creative idea.  He and the other ants and bugs build a bird out of sticks and leaves to scare off the grasshoppers who will attack soon.  A long fight breaks out and Flik and the ants end up beating the grasshoppers and winning their freedom.  Flik is a hero and his inventions start being used by the whole colony.  This ending gives the message that creativity is important and perseverance pays off.  Throughout the whole movie we root for Flik while he is being shut down and his creativity is being suppressed, but we rejoice in the end when he is finally seen as the hero he is and the hero we all want to be.  A Bug’s Life has clear positive messages, but just like every other movie out there, negatives can also be found.

            The biggest potential negative element of A Bug’s Life is that violence is shown as necessary or as the means to an end.  To get rid of the grasshoppers once and for all, the ants and other circus bugs had to fight and overtake them.  The leader of the grasshoppers, Hopper, was even killed by a bird and its family.  He was eaten alive, as shown in the scene above.  A parent could easily see this scene as horrible and get upset.  In addition to this death, there are plenty of violent scenes elsewhere in the movie.  The flea in charge of the circus is unintentionally burned in an act, the rolly pollys are always slapping and hitting each other, and there is another scene where a bird attacks the circus bugs and Flik.  This movie could easily be seen as violent film and not suitable for young children to some parents.  In my opinion, I think the good far outweighs the bad. 
            Each of the appeals we have studied were used in this film, but ethos was leaned on the most of the three.  An emotional connection is established between the viewer and Flik early on.  Scenes where Flik’s ideas are shot down and when he is treated like an outsider cause sympathy or empathy, depending on the viewer.  Ethos also affects the circus troop.  We know that they are not legit at the beginning, so when they come to help the colony we anticipate that they will fail because of their lack of credibility.  Also, if there are any people watching who like a romantic story, they will be emotionally connected to the tension between Flik and the princess ant named Atta and rooting for them to be together in the end.  A Bug’s Life relies heavily on ethos to establish a connection with the characters and the audience.

            In my opinion, the positive outweighed the negative by a long shot.  Most of the themes conveyed were about the importance of creativity, hard work, and perseverance.  I would recommend this movie to any parents looking for children’s movies and will most likely show my kids this one day.  A Bug’s Life was great and earned 4 nachos.

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