Grasshopper bugs life
Characters / A Bug’s Life
A Bug’s Life
- Adorkable: Either when it comes to his inventions or talking to Princess Atta.
- All of the Other Reindeer: He is regularly marginalized for wasting his time on creative thinking and inventing instead of gathering food for the Offering. What makes this more understandable than usual for this trope is that he is very much The Klutz and causes often more harm than good with his blunders. This is deconstructed because the others’ criticism of his acts blind them to the facts that he is actually right about.
- Artistic License Biology: This comes from him being a male worker ant – in real life, all worker ants are females, and at the very least, he should have wings.
- Badass Bookworm: Becomes this during his stand against Hopper.
- Bamboo Technology: All of his inventions are made entirely of twigs, grass and any resource similar to that.
- Batman Gambit: He uses this technique to defeat Hopper. It also doubles as a Kansas City Shuffle because he “looked left”, while Hopper “fell right”.
- Big Brother Instinct: While he’s not related to her, he’s quite protective and caring towards Dot. He’s the only one who steps in to stop Hopper from terrorizing Dot in the beginning and he gives her a motivational speech about how she can do amazing things despite being so small.
- Bring Help Back: He wants to look for a way to make things better for the colony, so what does he do? Leave the island to look for bigger bugs who can help them stand up to the grasshoppers.
- Big Sister Instinct: Like Flik, she’s very protective of Dot. She became concerned for her sister once she discovered the bird was going after Dot and was asking the troop girls where her sister was after they evacuated the burning bird.
- Birds of a Feather: She and Flik both lack conf >the false bird and demands to know who d >learning to stand up Hopper . Her actions also drive the plot as much as Flik’s antics: she sends him on the search to find “warrior bugs” (though under false pretenses), is the reason the colony witnesses their “rescue” of Princess Dot, inadvertently gives Flik the “bird” >banishes them during the Liar Revealed part leaving the colony in the Darkest Hour, and saves Flik’s life twice in the climax, ensuring the movie’s Happy Ending.
- Disappeared Dad: Her and Dot’s birth father was never seen.
- Based on science, after mating, the supposed “King Ant” dies.
- Everything’s Better with Princesses: She may be neurotic, but she does care for her colony.
- Jerkass Ball: Despite having had a Jerkass Realization, she grabs this again hard after the Liar Revealed plot, where she berates Flik for lying to her, and banishes him from Ant Island, paving way for the colony’s Darkest Hour. She seems to realize her mistake afterwards.
- Jerkass Realization: After Flik reveals he understands how she feels when she says the colony is all watching her, waiting for her to screw up, she realizes she was just as guilty, apologizes, makes it up to him and is nicer to him from then on.
- Hartman Hips: For an ant, Atta has pronounced hips.
- Nervous Wreck: Starts off as this before her Character Development. (To be fair, inheriting a colony enslaved to a gang of grasshoppers led by an Ax-CrazySadist who won’t hesitate to kill her sister or worse if she doesn’t deliver would put everyone on edge.)
- The Cutie: An ant version this time.
- Die or Fly: Her subplot involves her trying to get her wings to work. She finally succeeds after being chased off a cliff by Thumper.
- Disappeared Dad: Her and Atta’s birth father was never seen or mentioned.
- As mentioned above, based on science, after mating, the supposed “King Ant” dies.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: “Come on, wings. Fly, fly!”
- K >After the colony revolts against the grasshoppers, when Thumper tries to scare her into submission she’s momentarily startled, only to slap him on the cheek and admonish, “No! Bad grasshopper! Bad grasshopper! Go home!”
- Plucky Girl: Shown to be incredibly determined, which allows her to fly.
- R >squish the queen and flew back to the circus wagon to get Flik and company to return to save the colony.
- Tritagonist: To Flik’s Protagonist and Atta’s Deuteragonist. Dot is still a major character whose character development (learning to fly and overcome her fear of Thumper ) and friendship with Flik is significant, and whose actions greatly impact the plot. (She inadvertently causes Atta and the colony to accept the “warriors unconditionally, and the “warriors” to stay, when she acc >gets Flik and the banished bugs to return to save the queen from getting squished by the grasshoppers.
- Undying Loyalty: One of the only members of the ant colony who respects Flik, despite his accidents, even when he is exiled.
- Youthful Freckles: The only ant to have this that also showcases her youthfulness.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Despite ordering his gang to kill the circus bugs, when Tuck and Roll devolve into a petty slap fight, Hopper barely changes his expression. and admits now thats funny, and allows the troupe to stay and perform.
- Ax-Crazy: It’s unbearably obvious that he’s a incredibly mentally unstable character who compartmentalizes it by making a point in using violence as a means to get his way, which means that he is not safe to be around as saying the wrong thing can result in the speaker’s death no matter the species. Its during his Villainous Breakdown that he totally loses control of the situation and as a result goes completely insane.
- Bad Boss: As Molt tells the ants during the ra > his rather undignified death, eaten by a bunch of baby birds while screaming like a little girl .
- The Bully: He loves picking on weaker species to make himself feel big.
- Bullying a Dragon: A Reconstructed variation. He understands the weakness of his position against the numerically superior ants, and engages in a campaign of terror specifically to keep the ants from wising up and fighting back. He tried to keep a small balance of just the right amount of terror but Flik upset that balance and it backfired as it only meant the ants snapped after too much abuse, much to his confusion:
- Ascended to Carnivorism: He tries to eat Dot multiple times.
- Ax-Crazy: Shown in full when he mercilessly beats up Flik .
- The Brute: He’s by far the most violent member of Hopper’s swarm.
- Fluffy the Terrible: If you associate the name “Thumper” with a certain adorable bunny, it’s weird to see an Ax-Crazy grasshopper having the same name. On the other hand, it’s also a Meaningful Name, as he likes to thump his enemies in the ground.
- Furry Confusion: He’s less humanized than the other grasshoppers, to the point of being treated as a pet.
- Karma Houdini: He gets scared away by Dim, but apparently survives.
- Madwoman in the Attic: Well he’s kept around, but often on a leash, blurring the line between thug and animal.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Actor!Thumper is rather polite, completely sane, and far from the Ax-Crazy character he is in the movie.
- Psycho for Hire: A very low-functioning example but very psycho for treats nonetheless.
- Suddenly Voiced: In the main film, he has no actual dialogue (see The Unintelligible below), save for an easy-to-miss line where he says “get those bugs!” In the outtakes, however, he talks normally.
- Team Pet: Though it’s ambiguous whether he’s supposed to represent an attack dog or an insane person, he seems to be this to the grasshoppers to some degree. A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene shows him begging Hopper for treats and catching a piece of grain tossed to him in his mouth.
- The Unintelligible: Speaks in grunts, rasps, growls, snarls, and whimpers (when Dim scares him away) .
Affably Evil: Nice and friendly, even trying to tell funny stories to ants he’s menacing. He even gives them a friendly warning during the second ra >”Do as he says; you don’t want to make him mad. Believe me!“
The Circus Bugs
- Bad Boss: As >Which he uses on a “bird” that he sees.
- Let’s Get Dangerous!: There’s no denying that’s he’s a Jerkass, but he shows his courage by heroically attacking what he thought was a real bird to save everyone.
- Meaningful Name: “P.T.” most likely came from P.T. Barnum, founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus.
- Repulsive Ringmaster: He is the ringmaster of the circus bugs, and while not outright evil, he is the least heroic and most Jerkass out of them.
- Skewed Priorities: When he sees Manny “bleeding” to death during the fake bird attack.
- Big Eater: How he mainly copes with not getting to be a beautiful butterfly.
- Fat Idiot: A very fat and not very bright caterpillar.
- Funny Foreigner: He has a thick German accent.
- Berserk Button: “SO! Being a ladybug automatically makes me a girl! Is that it, fly boy?! Huh?!”
- Brooklyn Rage: He gets angry whenever he has to clear up that he is a male and this along with his tough-guy accent makes the reveal even more shocking when he is shouting into the offending bug’s face.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Has a feminine appearance that routinely makes him a target for male bugs.
- Guttural Growler: The contrast of appearance is complete with his raspy, definitely male voice.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Slim.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He’s easy to anger whenever you call him a lady, and he’s pretty short-tempered, but he’s truly a helpful and talented ladybug and cares for his fellow circus bugs. Oh, and he loves children, too.
- Real Men Wear Pink: He has a tough personality and a deep, manly voice, but also a very feminine face.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Parodied. He has long eyelashes, full lips and a beauty mark.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Slim.
- Butt-Monkey: He’s always used in his acts as a prop.
- Deadpan Snarker: Throughout the film, but especially when Francis uses him as a “sword”.
- Friendly Neighborhood Spider: She helps Flik and the Circus Bugs in their quest to save the colony from the Grasshoppers.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Dim whom she seems to view as a surrogate son.
- Team Mom: She is a gentle creature who helps the Circus Bugs, and is quick to tend to Dim’s wounds (with her web likely) when he is hurt.
- Big Guy: The biggest and strongest of the Circus Bugs.
- Friend to All Children: Dim even tried to sneak some ant children away to the circus.
- Gentle Giant: He’s the Big Guy and is nice to kids.
- Manchild: The most childish of the group.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Rosie. The two are often seen paired, but only in the sense that they perform their acts together.
- Third-Person Person: What little lines he has has him referring to himself in third-person.
- You No Take Candle: He doesn’t seem capable of articulate speech.
- Cool Old Guy: Manny gives the appearance of being an older bug, but he’s very confident and composed.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Gypsy seemed much more interested in her appearance than her husband walking into the walls.
- Happily Married: Even outside of their acts, the two seem very happy with one another.
- Interspecies Romance: A male praying mantis is married to a female moth.
- The Klutz: He has this knowing, thoughtful gaze but not looking where you’re going tends to end in tripping and crushing into things.
- Large Ham: What do you expect? It’s Dr. Smith! Manny does try to appear all-mystical but he ends up described as a bit of a hack.
- A Lizard Named “Liz”: Manny the mantis and Gypsy the gypsy moth.
- Non-Action Guy: Manny does not get involved with fighting nearly as much as his companions.
- Stage Magician: Manny’s main contribute to the troupe is being a magician, albeit he seems to honestly believe that he’s capable of magic.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: A beautiful gypsy moth married to an elderly praying mantis.
- Catchphrase: “You fired!” becomes theirs after their boss actually does fire them.
- Funny Foreigner: Both are the comic relief characters and talk in a gibberish that is supposed to sound like Hungarian.
- Keep It Foreign: They never learn a word of English, except. “You fired!” Word of God says they’re Hungarian, even though their gibberish sounds nothing like the actual language.
- Those Two Guys: The only twins of the group which immediately makes them closer to each other than anyone else.
- The Unintelligible: Especially when they slip into Hungarian.
- Always a Bigger Fish: A gigantic predator (from the bugs’ point of view) who defeats the film’s true villain Hopper in the end .
- Chekhov’s Gunman: After its appearance where it nearly ate Flik, Dot, and the circus bugs, Flik uses it to defeat Hopper for good by deliberately leading him to its nest .
- The Dreaded: Everyone is afraid of birds, even Hopper.
- Feathered Fiend: Formerly to the good bugs. A human would probably find her rather cute.
- Giant Flyer: A mix of the “normal sized flyer seen from a small character’s perspective” and “giant predator” varieties.
- Kaiju: What everybody sees her as.
- Monster Is a Mommy: The bugs are terrified of her, but she’s just a mother bird looking to feed herself and her chicks.
- Non-Malicious Monster: She’s only looking to eat and feed her young.
The origins of A Bug’s Life
D > News Simon Brew
If you’re looking for inspiration for an animated film, then it’s generally all around you. Disney has mined fairy stories, DreamWorks has been hunting down books too, then there are television series, popular characters and original ideas. Basically, given the glut of animated movies coming out every year, the big companies are looking far and wide for inspiration.
But how many have looked to Akira Kurosawa’s classic movie, Seven Samurai?
The answer, predictably, is one. And the identity of that one? That’d be Pixar.
For its second feature, A Bug’s Life, which we’ve been celebrating this week, Pixar appeared to take Kurosawa’s 1954 classic as inspiration. Certainly, whether the similarities are intentional or coincidental, there’s a lot of crossover between the two movies, even though, in terms of treatment, they couldn’t be much further apart.
Seven Samurai, if you’ve not seen it, is the story of a village that hires – yes! – seven samurai to protect the harvest from people looking to steal it. Effectively, the farmers of the village hire in outside help to offer some defence to those who come and steal their livelihoods. It’s a stunning film, and, it should be noted, a much longer one than A Bug’s Life.
It perhaps goes without saying, though, that if you’ve never had the chance to catch it, you really should try to. It regularly appears on lists of the best films of all time. Rightly so, too.
So, where does this cross over with Pixar’s second movie? Well, firstly, we should be clear, here: A Bug’s Life isn’t an official remake of Seven Samurai, but it is a film that effectively tells the same story. Only in the case of A Bug’s Life, Pixar put together a team of bugs to carry its narrative, instead of samurai. And the firm also, as you’d expect, put more than enough of its own twist upon matters to give it an identity very firmly of its own.
To the best of my knowledge, Pixar has never gone on record to talk about the Seven Samurai link. Instead, it cites a different inspiration as sparking the germ of the idea for the film. On its official website, Pixar offers Aesop’s Fables as the starting point for A Bug’s Life, instead.
The firm says that the idea itself came from a chat between co-director Andrew Stanton, and storyboard artist Joe Ranft. The pair were chatting about the fable The Ant And The Grasshopper, so goes the story, and developed A Bug’s Life from that point on. However, Pixar twisted the classic fable, so that the grasshopper who begs for food in the Aesop story decides to just take it in the A Bug’s Life movie. The rest of the narrative was spun out from there.
Yet, for me, it’s the Seven Samurai that seems the most potent influence. You have, after all, the anthill under threat from grasshoppers, who wreak their damage and fly off again (although Seven Samurai didn’t have Kevin Spacey on brilliant voicing duties, of course).
Off, then, goes one of the bugs to call upon a group of people who can protect said anthill, shoring up the defences of a village that previously had none. If you follow the path through, as to who eventually saves the day in both A Bug’s Life and Seven Samurai, there are parallels there, too. In short, it’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that A Bug’s Life is an homage of sorts.
The films would certainly make a fascinating, and unusual, double bill, but perhaps, therefore, an appropriate one. And it’d be fascinating to see if more animation studios looked at remakes as potential source material. Personally, I’m no advocate of the remake trend, but can’t shake the fact that I’m intrigued by a firm such as Pixar digging back into the classic films of the 40s and 50s, and putting an animated spin on them.
For now, though, do consider giving the mighty Seven Samurai (a film with no shortage of imitators, to be fair) and A Bug’s Life double bill a go. At the very least, you’ll be giving fresh light to Pixar’s most underappreciated movie.
A Bug’s Life is available on Blu-ray in the UK now.
Grasshopper bugs life
In A Bug’s Life , Disney and Pixar’s second project together, they retell the classic tale from Aesop’s fables “The Ant and the Grasshopper”… with a twist. In the original story the ant is hard at work all summer long gathering food for the coming winter, while the grasshopper does nothing but sing and dance and use the good weather to enjoy himself. When winter finally does come the grasshopper comes knocking on the ant’s door asking for food and shelter but is turned away.
A Bug’s Life takes the age old fable and makes some small, yet significant changes. In this telling the ants still work hard all summer, and the grasshoppers still wile away their time in leisure, but instead of asking and being turned away from the ants when winter comes, the grasshoppers use the threat of force to take a portion of the ants’ harvest every year.
Princess Atta from Disney-PIxar’s A Bug’s Life
This particular year Princess Atta (Julia Louis Dreyfus) is training to become the next queen. When they hear the grasshoppers coming everyone hides in the ant hill leaving “the offering” up top on the “offering rock”. Atta, who is constantly nervous, is calmed by her mother, the queen (Phyllis Diller). She says: “ It’s the same year after year, they come, they eat, they leave; that’s our lot in life.” The ants are resigned to have a portion of the fruits (or in this case grains) of their labors taken from them year after year.
Hopper from Disney-Pixar’s A Bug’s Life
This year, however, an innovative, non-conformist, but also clumsy ant named Flik (Dave Foley) accidentally destroys “the offering”. When the grasshoppers arrive and see that “their food” is missing, they break into the ant hill and Hopper (Kevin Spacey), the leader demands “Where’s my food?!” After it’s discovered that the food has been destroyed Hopper demands that the ants provide double the normal offering by the end of the season. He also tells the ants “if you don’t keep your end of the bargain, then I can’t guarantee your safety and there are insects out there that will take advantage of you! Someone could get hurt .”
Hopper makes an appeal to the ants’ fear, making reference to some vague, potentially menacing outsiders that may come and terrorize them, but also fear that they will be the victims of direct violence at the hands of the grasshoppers themselves. Lawyer, entrepreneur, and legal commentator Lysander Spooner recognized the violent nature of taxes and the “protection” that is provided with tax dollars:
The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: ‘ Your money, or your life .’ And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.
The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.
The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a ‘protector,’ and that he takes men’s money against their will, merely to enable him to ‘protect’ those infatuated travelers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful ‘sovereign,’ on account of the ‘protection’ he affords you. He does not keep ‘protecting’ you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.
The grasshoppers’ threats against the ants are clearly immoral, they are robbing other insects while presenting their victims with the flimsy excuse that they are protecting them when in reality they themselves are the perpetrators of violence. There is, however, room for criticism of more than just the grasshoppers and their real life counterparts. The ants exist in a society that rewards conformity, submissiveness, and tradition and discourages individuality, different ideas, and innovation. This causes the ants to accept that their lot in life is to give a portion of their harvest to the grasshoppers, without thinking about whether or not there is a another way, such as increasing production, (as Flik tries to do at the beginning with a harvesting machine he invents) or negotiating with the grasshoppers. This mindset even prevents them from realizing (as Hopper knows all too well) that the ants outnumber the grasshoppers 100 to 1 and could stand up, defend themselves, and keep all of their harvest.
I’ve heard plenty of times the argument that we need government (and therefore taxation) because it provides essential functions like roads, a social safety net, or education. Besides the fact that, like the ants and the defense of their colony, the innovative and industrious among us could provide these services more efficiently than the government, there is a larger moral issue at work. Should needed goods and services be paid for via the forcible confiscation of property? Should violence be used to fund libraries, public parks, and fire fighters? Or is there a better, more peaceful way to provide these services? If there is not, then will we be like all the other ants and accept idly the fact that the grasshoppers take our stuff? Or will we be like Flik and attempt to innovate around the system of violence? If there is a way to organize a society around peaceful, voluntary action will we help those around us realize their own power to help themselves and shake of the chains of the state?