It’s hard to believe that Pixar has been part of our lives for nearly twenty years, and this movie is just another in their amazing line-up of great family hits. This is a tale told from a miniscule POV, and it features the ants in a colony and a gang of grasshoppers that exploit these ants and their hard-working ways. In every community, there is an oddball, and in this colony, this Flik (Dave Foley), an enterprising ant with big ideas and inventions made of simple things like dew, grass, and burrs. Right about now, the ants of Ant Island are making an annual offering of grain, fruits, and berries for the grasshoppers. The old queen (Phyllis Diller) is training her daughter, Princess Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) to take over for her office, and Atta is stressing over little things. Her little sister, Dot (Hayden Panettiere) wants to help, but all the grown-ups keep syaing she is too little. She goes off to find Flik, since she is about the only one whom gets what he’s about. This is right after he as shown Atta, whom is his crush, by the way, all his time-saving tools. As he and Dot are talking, the warning horns go off, and the ants scurry into the hill, and Flik is the last one to go. He drops his grain harvester on the offering stone, and the thing breaks, and knocks over the supporting rocks, and the food all goes into the drink.
Flik is mortified, and runs into the hill to tell Atta what has happened when they hear some angry and confused voices up top. Flik blushes and tells her that it was an accident. The grasshoppers break through the roof of the anthill, and Hopper (Kevin Spacey) and his gang confront the little royal family. After some cruel teasing by Hopper and his gang, Hopper has an odd change of heart and gives the ants another season to put together another offering. The grasshoppers leave, and this brings on a new dilemma, Flik.
Flik is brought before a hearing of the colony council, and they cannot decide what to do to keep him from meddling in their business. Flik works out an idea on his own, and suggests that they go look for warrior bugs to fight Hopper’s gang. The council finds the idea to be brilliant, and insists that Flik be the one to go, thus removing him from causing any more damage.
Flik goes off the little island in the pond to the “Big City”, which is some sort of mixed insect colony under an old camper trailer, which looks not unlike the one Randall ended up in in Monster’s Inc. While he is off being the country boy fresh from the farm, on the other side of town, a circus is on town, and the cast members are doing a lousy job at keeping the flies entertained. The circus is run by P.T. Flea (John Ratzenberger), and features the clowns, Slim, a walking stick (David Hyde Pierce), Francis, a ladybug (Dennis Leary), and Heimlich, a huge butterfly larvae (Joe Ranft). There is the magician, Manny, a praying mantis (Jonathan Harris), and his wife, Gypsy Moth (Madeline Kahn), the acrobatic mealy bugs, Tuck and Roll (Michael McShane), and the animal trainer, Rosie, the black widow, and her charge, Dim, the rhinoceros beetle (Brad Garrett). As the crowd leaves, P.T. does one last bid to save the show, and does an act called “Flaming Death”, which goes horribly wrong, and all of them end up getting fired.
Flik meets with the circus bugs at a bug bar, as the flies they encountered earlier were giving them a hard time. A crowd clamors around the troupe, and Flik can only hear what is going on. Suddenly, he thinks these performers are warriors, and once the commotion dies down, he comes to them, saying her has been scouting bugs just like them. They think he is a talent scout, and they go back to Ant Island. The colony council can’t believe he brought back bugs to fight for them, let alone that he did not get squished while out and about. There’s celebration, fun, and later on, intrigue and deception as Flik goes from saving the colony to saving his own skin. The cast list of voices features many actors and actress you might be familiar with in supporting roles. You can see them all here.
This is one great film that never gets old, no matter how you see it. Whether in film or on a videogame, this story is just as cute as all the little blueberry ants in it, and can be watched over and over again, and you’ll always find something new. It is a modern classic, and will stay that way.
I give this film a Musing review of