“You let one ant stand up to us then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one. And if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life! It’s not about food; it’s about keeping those ants in line.”
—Hopper, A Bug’s Life
Totally going of on another subject (sort of): Disney movies. One Disney movie. A Bug’s Life.
Honestly, I’m not too big on publishing this before the quote has been published to my other blog yet, but I thought bringing this up is important.
A Bug’s Life, in my opinion, is very underrated in comparison with other Pixar works. Many are quick to name The Incredibles, or Toy Story, or Monster’s Inc. Not to say that these are particularly bad movies, but A Bug’s Life is not given nearly enough credit, especially with its main theme.
Fun fact: ants and grasshoppers have no natural relationship. By natural relationship I mean symbiosis: when two different organisms in nature use each other with either a gain for one or both of the creatures involved.
So this brings up the question: why did Pixar use them?
Well, my opinion could be biased because my world history class just recently looked at imperialism. Places like Great Britain and France took over sections of the world to gain resources and power (work with me here; there are different types of power but this is the simplest way for me to explain this).
In A Bug’s Life, Hopper explains that the ants greatly outnumber them, and that controlling them is no longer about resources (as was the original plan for both imperialistic countries in history, and with the grasshoppers). It turns into power, about “keeping them in line.” Power.
In real history, we could look at India (first example I could think of at the top of my head). India is, and has been for years, a very diverse, populated, multi-linguistic, and multi-religious part of the world. Though they may not have been nearly as advanced as Great Britain (when they took over), they definitely had great numbers, and they could have definitely taken the British on.
It could be argued that the grasshoppers had the better “technology”: they were much larger and had larger, stronger wings. They also had a stronger, natural armour.
The grasshoppers took advantage of the ants, getting into their psych and saying things like “you need us” (when really, they didn’t). Like many civilizations before imperialistic countries started taking other countries, the ants technically did not need them. Civilizations go from hunter/gatherer, before looking into more efficient ways. All those civilizations that France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, etc. took over? They would have gotten into using higher tech eventually. The reason that European countries had it before them is because humans had been there longer, and were able to develop before anyone migrated to other places in the world.
What’s even more interesting is that the grasshoppers, continuing with this imperialism theme, thought that the ants were too simple for their own good. Ants, however, are some of the most complex organisms in history, especially when all ants work together. Back to India: they are all so diverse that it would be an insult to call that society “simple” in any way.
I hate bringing this subject up, but it is an important aspect of our world’s history. To ignore it is to do a disservice to the memory of all those we have wronged in our world. We preach that we should take criticism, no matter how much it hurts. And here, we have Disney Pixar criticizing the world before what we consider modern, using tiny little bugs.