Today: June 21, 2024

Bugs On Film

A fantastic tale taking place at ground level, Minuscule: Valley Of The Lost Ants is the perfect half term treat for all the family. Minuscule: Valley Of The Lost Ants blends stunning CGI animation with live action backdrops to really transport little ones to the undergrowth where they’ll embark on a huge adventure with this half term’s tiniest heroes.

To celebrate the creepy-crawly filled film, arriving in cinemas on May 27th courtesy of Lionsgate UK, we take a look at the little bugs that have appeared on the big screen.

Minuscule: Valley Of The Lost Ants
Based on the popular Ceebies TV Series, Minuscule: Valley Of The Lost Ants tells a thrilling story set in the miniature insect world that surrounds us all. In a peaceful little clearing, the remains of an abandoned picnic sparks warfare between two tribes of ants, both captivated by a prized possession; a box of sugar. A brave young ladybug finds himself caught in the middle of the battle. He befriends one of the black ants, ‘Mandible’, and helps him to save the anthill from the assault of the terrible red ant warriors, led by the fearful Butor. The film also manages the tall task of capturing imaginations without using any dialogue between its tiny characters. Good things come in teeny, tiny packages!

Pinocchio
Disney’s classic tale of a marionette built by a carpenter to fill the void of a son, who is turned into a real-life boy by a magical fairy. The puppet, named Pinocchio, is not yet a human boy and must earn the right to be real by proving that he is brave, truthful, and unselfish. To help guide Pinocchio, the fairy assigns Jiminy, an extremely well-dressed Cricket, to be Pinocchio’s conscience, but even with these wise words in his ear, the marionette goes astray and finds himself in a world of trouble. Everybody’s favourite little whisper in their ear, not only does Jiminy teach Pinocchio the ways of the world he is trying to be a part of, he also teaches him how to whistle, which as we all know is essential to keep spirits high!

A Bug’s Life
John Lasseter and Pixar’s follow-up to their movie phenomenon, Toy Story, set new standards in computer animation as another Disney-released children’s epic entitled A Bug’s Life. Using classic Disney storytelling and characters, A Bug’s Life is a retelling of the Aesop Fable ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’, with a colony of ants who seasonally gather food for themselves and a wild gang of rowdy grasshoppers. When bumbling worker ant Flik destroys the food supply, the angry grasshoppers, lead by the maniacally warped Hopper, threaten to kill the ants if they don’t produce a new supply of food by the time they return. Flik leaves the anthill in search of help and discovers a group of down-on-their-luck travelling circus insects in need of a job. Together they rescue the ant colony, and Flik even manages to win the heart of the Princess, happy days!

Antz
In a classic example of Hollywood double-booking a particular type of film, DreamWorks Animation’s Antz was released just one month before Pixar’s A Bug’s Life. In this tale of the world of creepy crawlies, Central Park ant drone Z longs to be an individual of accomplishment, but Z’s colony is a society that puts the value of the colony over personal achievement. Young Z sets his sights on the colony Queen’s daughter Bala- who is uninterested until Z successfully mounts a revolution within the colony for the advancement of individuality. If the plotline doesn’t do it for you, you get to see Woody Allen and Sylvester Stallone as Ant-pals, what’s not to love!

Epic
Epic appears to be a much more magical and colourful version of Honey I Shrunk The Kids, when a teenage girl finds herself magically transported to a deep forest, into the secret natural world, where there is an ongoing battle between the forces of good, who keep the world alive, and the forces of evil, who wish to destroy it.  Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) has to team up with an elite band of warriors and a crew of comical, larger-than-life figures, to save their world… and ours. Aziz Ansari’s hilarious slug called ‘Mub’ creates much comic relief between the tough-talking warriors played by Collin Farrell and the Queen-Bey herself; Beyonce!

James & The Giant Peach
This film adaptation of the wonderful children’s novel by Roald Dahl follows a lonely young boy called James, who discovers a gigantic peach in the garden of his horrible aunties. This triggers an eventful journey across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City, with a group of talking, oversized insects, including a vampish spider, a sarcastic centipede, and a matronly ladybug. This strikingly designed and surprisingly twisted animated adventure crosses live-action with a combination of stop-motion and digital animation to establish the dark yet fanciful mood one might expect from an adaptation of a Roald Dahl story. This mixture of remarkable visuals paired with oddball characters brings the novel to life perfectly!

A Monster In Paris
The originally titled Un Monstre a Paris was written and directed by Bibo Bergeron, returning to French cinema after directing several successful features in the United States. It follows a Parisian scientist who is determined to create an important new invention with the help of his friend Emile, who attempt an experiment that has an unexpected side effect – a tiny flea has suddenly expanded until it’s seven feet tall. The enormous flea gets loose and it’s not long before word is out that a monstrous bug is haunting Paris. However, a nightclub performer makes a surprising discovery — the big flea is not only gentle and friendly, he’s a gifted guitar player, because of course! The giant flea is decked out in a suit and a hat, he’s soon impressing punters as the new big hit in the city of love.

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
An absent-minded inventor played by Rick Moranis, leaves his latest creation, a shrinking ray, unattended in his attic, where it is accidentally triggered by his young children. When the newly tiny youngsters are tossed out with the trash, they must survive the long journey across the lawn to make it home in this fantasy-adventure. Whilst trekking through the unusually long grass they come across a variety of bugs that now resemble giant monsters in the jungle of the back yard. They even befriend an ant, who they inspirationally name ‘Antie’, who eventually falls victim to a terrifying Scorpion whilst saving the kids from certain death near the film’s end. A scene that to this day still has the power to bring a tear to the eye. Who knew ants could be so loveable…

MINUSCULE is in cinemas from Friday May 27th, 2016, courtesy of Lionsgate UK. 

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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