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A Bug's Life (1998) Poster

(1998)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (4)
DIRECTOR CAMEO: The two mosquitoes trapped in the light of the bugzapper ("Frank, don't go towards the light!" "I can't help it - it's so beautiful!") are the voices of the co-directors, John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton.
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This is the first Pixar film to have outtakes.
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In the bloopers shown at the end of the film, Princess Atta is shown cracking up during her scene with Hopper, ruining take after take until Hopper goes to his trailer in frustration. This is a spoof of Julia Louis-Dreyfus being known to do the same.
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The Pizza Planet van from Toy Story (1995) that appears in every Pixar film, (except The Incredibles (2004)) is visible around 25 minutes in, just after the circus scene as the camera tilts up.
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The original "teaser" trailer for this film was made up of animation made specially for the trailer and not appearing in the final film. This became a Pixar trademark.
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A similar film called Antz (1998) was released a month before this one. One of the producers for Antz (1998) was Jeffrey Katzenberg, who used to work for Disney but left after some disputes.
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The tunnel in a tunnel joke was made in reference to Steve Jobs' (CEO of Pixar and Apple) plan for Apple's "store in a store". Also, the hand gestures made by Hopper were modeled after gestures made by Jobs.
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During the summer of 1994, Pixar's story department began turning their thoughts to their next film, while Toy Story (1995) was in post-production. The storyline of A Bug's Life (1998) originated in a lunchtime conversation between John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft, the studio's head story team. Toy Story 2 (1999), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), and WALL·E (2008) were also conceived at this lunch. Lasseter and his story team had already been drawn to the idea of insects as characters. Insects, like toys, were within the reach of computer animation at the time due to their relatively simple surfaces. Stanton and Ranft wondered whether they could find a starting point in Aesop's fable The Ant and the Grasshopper. Walt Disney had produced his own version with a cheerier ending decades earlier in the 1934 short film The Grasshopper and the Ants (1934). In addition, Walt Disney Animation Studios had considered producing a film in the late 1980s entitled "Army Ants", that centered around a pacifist ant living in a militaristic colony, but it never fully materialized.
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The casting of Hopper proved problematic. John Lasseter's top choice was Robert De Niro, who repeatedly turned the part down, as did a succession of other actors. Kevin Spacey met John Lasseter at the 68th Academy Awards ceremony and Lasseter asked Spacey if he would be interested in doing the voice of Hopper. Spacey was delighted and signed on immediately.
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Editor Lee Unkrich revealed they considered calling the film "Bug Story", but coming on the heels of Toy Story (1995), they were worried that people would expect Pixar to use the "____ Story" naming convention for all their films.
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The names on the boxes that make up the City are all the names of the writers' kids. A few examples are: JuJu's Litter, Hannah's Bananas, and PJ Pop.
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For the 1.33:1 video transfer, rather than pan-and-scan the original 2.35:1 theatrical image, Pixar actually re-used the original computer images, re-framed some scenes, and even to the point where they'd place characters to a different spot in the scene to fit into the 1.33:1 frame.
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The short film Geri's Game (1997) was shown before this film in theaters, at least in the United States, as the first Pixar short to precede a full-length feature film.
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When Flik is in the city, a cereal box can be seen over his right shoulder with the first half of the code written on it appearing as "A113", a reference to the animation room at California Arts University where many Pixar artists attended. This reference is common is animated films, and has been made in most of Pixar's films up to date.
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In the home video release there were 5 covers to pick from (Hopper, Flick, Dot, Francis, and Heimlich).
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P.T. Flea is Pixar Legend John Ratzenberger's favorite Pixar role.
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Dim wasn't based on a real variety of rhinoceros beetle, but in 2016 a variety of rhinoceros beetle with a horn like his was discovered. Such discoveries of "fictional" creatures later revealed to be real have subsequently been dubbed "the Dim Effect".
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Gypsy's feet are shown to be shaped like high heeled shoes.
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Gypsy was Madeline Kahn's last voice role before her death in 1999 a year after this movie was released in theaters.
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The Queen's pet aphid "Aphie" in real life would be treated more like livestock instead of a pet as ants typically herd aphids for the sweet nectar that they produce, and in return the ants protect aphids from predators.
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This was Roddy McDowall's final film, released 7 1/2 weeks after his death on October 3, 1998 at the age of 70.
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The movie closely resembles the 1954 classic Seven Samurai (1954) by Akira Kurosawa. A story about a village under attack by bandits demanding food compensation. This goes on until the village decides to travel outside their area and hires samurai to defend the village. The classic was remade into a western in 1960 as The Magnificent Seven (1960) where they hire gunslingers to defend their home. The term is changed in this film to 'Warriors' of those they hire to help defend their home, which total seven as well.
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Andrew Stanton has said that he was the creator of Dot and that he was inspired to want a little girl in the film because he just had a newborn daughter at the time, which he said was something that John Lasseter as a father of five sons "couldn't claim to have".
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In the movies first draft script, Flik was a red ant named Red who was part of the circus gang.
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Princess Atta is named after the genus of ant of the same name.
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It is suggested in the DVD commentary for A Bug's Life that the mosquito family that lives in the sombrero are taken over every summer by Hopper and forced to play along with them.
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Molt was created for the film to provide some comic relief out of the more uncomfortable moments with Hopper, but it was decided to make him Hopper's brother when it was realized that Hopper would never allow somebody as witless and annoying as Molt to stay with the gang otherwise.
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The fly's POV of simultaneous images of Francis yelling at him seen through his compound eyes is a nod to The Fly (1958).
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There has always been some confusion as to which one is Tuck and Roll, but the set of bean bag dolls of the characters that were made by Disney reveals this. Tuck is the one with two eyebrows and Roll is the one with the unibrow. It's also worth noting that Roll has a deeper voice while Tuck has a slightly higher tone.
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Hopper is considered among Pixar's most evil and ruthless villains along with Syndrome and Lotso. He victimizes the ants with no reason or Freudian excuse, and has no obvious sympathetic or comedic qualities. Although, he does show a little bit of a comedic side to him when he interacts with Axel and Loco before he buries them under a huge pile of grains to demonstrate what the ants are capable of.
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DVD version is first ever all-digital video transfer.
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A Mega Gulp cup from Pizza Planet can be seen on top of the bug bar's entrance.
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Ashley Tisdale tried out for the part of Dot.
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On top of a tin can, you can see the same Pizza Planet cup from Toy Story (1995) that Woody was hiding in when he and Buzz were sneaking into Pizza Planet.
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Even though Thumper rarely speaks, in the scene where the grasshoppers are approaching Ant Island he shrieks "get those bugs" as Molt is desperately trying to hold his leash, when he actually speaks in the outtakes he's voiced by David L. Lander who has also voiced Smarty the Weasel
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In the original fable "The Ant and the Grasshopper", a grasshopper squanders the spring and summer months on singing while the ants put food away for the winter; when winter comes, the hungry grasshopper begs the ants for food, but the ants turn him away. Screenwriters Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft hit on the notion that the grasshopper could just take the food. After Stanton had completed a draft of the script, he came to doubt one of the story's main pillars - that the circus bugs that had come to the colony to cheat the ants would instead stay and fight. He felt the circus bugs were unlikable characters as liars and that it was unrealistic for them to undergo a complete personality change. Also no particularly good reason existed for circus bugs to stay with the ant colony during the second act. Although the film was already far along, Stanton concluded that the story needed a different approach. Stanton took one of the early circus bug characters, Red the red ant, and changed him into the character that would become Flik. The circus bugs, no longer out to cheat the colony, would be embroiled in a comic misunderstanding about why Flik was recruiting them. John Lasseter agreed with this new approach and comedy writers Don McEnery and Bob Shaw spent a few months at Pixar working with Stanton on further polishing.
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Hopper apparently had a soft spot for his mother, as he honors her deathbed wish not to kill Molt, despite being quite tempted to on various occasions, although many have debated if this is actual love or him simply trying to prove he can keep a promise.
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Manny bears a great resemblance to Zorak from the Cartoon Network series, Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Cartoon Planet.
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Only film directed by John Lasseter to be outside of the Toy Story and Cars franchises, as well as Lasseter's only film to not have any follow-ups.
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Heimlich is the most popular Pixar Character that Joe Ranft has voiced during his life.
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Despite being grasshoppers, the villains display more traits of locusts. Examples include having a way with food, flying around together in a swarm, being brown, never happen to jump around, and live in the desert. However, it's since been discovered that some species of grasshoppers can morph into locusts under the right conditions, so the movie got it half-right.
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Easter Egg: Woody from Toy Story (1995) in one of the outtake scenes holding a clapper upside down.
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When Dim hides the Queen under his wings, Manny mistakenly calls him a dung beetle when he is really a rhinoceros beetle,though rhinoceros beetles are a subfamily of the scarab beetle (dung beetle) family.
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Heimlich's obesity may be a reference to Eric's Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
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Pixar's First Film to have their Logo with Luxo Jr. bouncing and squashing the Letter I, which appears after the Disney Logo at the start of the film, after their first film Toy Story (1995) didn't have that.
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P.T. Flea's name was based off of P.T. Barnum, who owned a traveling circus in New York City during the 1840s.
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Despite Gypsy being able to fly, in real life only male gypsy moths can fly while females, Despite having a full set of wings cannot fly.The real gypsy moths are also not as bright colored as Gypsy's wings (real female gypsy moths have white wings with black spots.)
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The bird was originally stated to be a chaffinch; however her plumage is brighter and doesn't include wing bars as found in a female chaffinch
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The speechless grasshopper Thumper is named after Thumper from Bambi (1942), who is also one of John Lasseter's favorite characters.
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Dave Foley, who voices Flik, originally tried out for the voice of Slim, played by David Hyde Pierce.
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The restaurant at Bug City is a can of "Low Fat Lard".
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Hoppers fate is similar to Scar's demise in The Lion King (1994) - both villains get eaten alive by animals (Scar gets mauled by his Hyena minions who turned against him at the end, while Hopper gets fed to the bird's chicks).
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First Pixar movie to have a death, AND a dedication.
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When Molt sheds his entire skin from being scared of the ants, the skin is the model that they use before they add the color.
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During the warriors' introduction, Slim whispers to Heimlich, "Wow, they sure are starved for entertainment" - a direct quote from the similarly themed The Three Amigos, a comedy film where the plot involves three out-of-work actors that are hired to defend a town from "real" bandits.
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Tuck and Roll have only eight legs rather than the 14 legs that woodlice have in nature, and the insect characters (aside from the Grasshoppers and Slim) only have 4 legs as opposed to 6, and Manny has 2 legs instead of 4 legs like other Mantises.
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According to the Nutrition Facts sign on the back, the cookies from the box that P.T. Flea's circus travels in contain an impossible 92 grams of protein per serving.
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HIDDEN MICKEY: There are Mickey Ears when the scouts are painting Francis.
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HIDDEN MICKEY: when they're building the bird and Heimlich sits up and puts his feet together to form a Mickey. (He actually makes two, with six of his feet).
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According to the official website for A Bug's Life (1998), Tuck and Roll are of Hungarian origin.
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WILHELM SCREAM: A worker ant screams the "third scream" when the grasshoppers invade the colony.
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John Lasseter assigned Andrew Stanton the job of co-director on A Bug's Life (1998); the two men worked well together and had similar sensibilities. Lasseter had found that the workday of a sole-director on a computer-animated feature was dangerous while working on Toy Story (1995). In addition, Lasseter felt it would relieve stress and the role would groom Stanton for a lead directing position of his own. Lasseter's decision was handsomely paid off, as not only Stanton went on to become one of the most visionary directors in modern-day cinema, but also production on nearly all future computer animated films can now be well-handed by two directors.
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Molt is the first Pixar character voiced by Richard Kind.
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Of all the circus bugs, Dim seems to have the least number of lines throughout the movie.
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The thumbtack Tuck and Roll are standing on is the red tack that fell off the pictures in Andy's room from Toy Story (1995).
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The train that the circus bugs use is called "Casey Junior", which is also the name of the circus train in Dumbo (1941).
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The face of Geri (from the Geri's Game (1997) short and Toy Story 2 (1999)) is molded onto the tree of the ant colony. It's best visualized while Flik is explaining how seeds grow into trees.
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Hopper's right eye got damaged after a blue jay nearly ate him, which foreshadows the fact that he has a fear of birds (which is ornithophobia) along with his fate in the end.
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The Bird is (probably) not based on a real bird, though the overall coloration and shape are vaguely reminiscent of some kind of tanager. This Saffron Finch (actually a tanager despite the name) is pretty darn similar, although fans have accepted it as an American Goldfinch.
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This was the first computer-generated feature film to be presented in a scope ratio of 2.35:1.
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One of the Grasshoppers name is 'Loco' which is Spanish for crazy.
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Randy Newman reused several music tracks from James and the Giant Peach (1996), another animated Disney film about talking bugs.
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Pixar's first film to say "The End" before the Credits start to roll. This would later be the case for Future Pixar Films that had the Co-Director of A Bug's Life (1998), Andrew Stanton as the Main Director.
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This is the only Disney/Pixar film released before Disney officially bought Pixar not to have any Sequels or prequels announced.
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CASTLE THUNDER: Heard twice in the rainstorm.
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The first Pixar movie without the Pixar ball or Luxo lamp from Luxo Jr. (1986).
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Woody from Toy Story (1995) makes a cameo in the bloopers at the end.
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This is the first Pixar film to be produced in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio; all of that company's previous films were produced in 1.85:1.
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The Casey Jr. cookies box says that they have been around since 1957, which was the year John Lasseter was born.
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Denis Leary's first animated film, and only one outside 20th Century Fox's Ice Age Franchise ((2002-2016) which also had a character named Manny) which unlike this film is rated PG, as well as the only one that doesn't have him using his regular voice.
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The first Pixar film to only have A113 appear once.
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In the bugs' bird attack scene, Manny (Jonathan Harris) says "Oh, the pain!" in the same tone he used to whine in Lost in Space (1998).
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Even though the grasshoppers are portrayed as short-winged green grasshoppers, only Hopper and Molt are from a different genus of grasshopper known as Euthystira brachyptera, the Small Gold Grasshopper.
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Even though hes his younger brother, in real life Richard Kind (Molt) is actually less than 3 years older than Kevin Spacey (Hopper).
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Only Pixar film released in the 20th century to be outside the Toy Story franchise.
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Directors John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton envisioned the film as an epic in the tradition of David Lean's masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
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A Bug's Life (1998) has the shortest development cycle of any Pixar film to date, having been in production for three years following the release of Toy Story (1995), whilst the other Pixar Films to date had been in production for at least more than that time.
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In the bug bar a slug claims he did not want salt on his food. The joke is that salt is fatal to both slugs and snails.
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The characters of "Tuck and Roll" were inspired by a drawing that Andrew Stanton did of two bugs fighting when he was in second grade.
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Pixar's 2nd feature film.
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The only Pixar film directed by John Lasseter to not be nominated for a Best Film Golden Globe, as Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 2 (1999) were nominated for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, and Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011) were nominated for Best Animated Feature, with Toy Story 2 and Cars winning.
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From Joe Ranft's death in 2005, Hannibal Buress will be the new voice of Heimlich in the sequel. Buress will base Heimlich's voice by sounding like the Bavarian German mama's boy.
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Alex Rocco (Thorny) and David Hyde Pierce (Slim) both had roles as Minor Recurring Characters in the Fox Animated Sitcom The Simpsons (1989). Rocco voiced Roger Meyers Jr., and Pierce voiced Cecil Tewiligger.
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First Pixar film not to have humans.
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Not only is the famous class number at Cal Arts, "A113" on a box in the movie, but also next to A113, it said "1195", this is a reference to the first Toy Story. Toy Story (1995) was the first Pixar movie made, and it was released in 1995. 1195 also references to the month and year Toy Story (1995) came out, November 1995.
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During the bird fight scenes, Heimlich is seen as being stuck in a crevasse, and Slim tells him, "Suck it in, man!" In the following scene, we see them in the medical room and Heimlich is there as well, with no evidence as to how he escaped the crevasse.
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This is the first Pixar film to not become a franchise.
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Rosie is the first Pixar Character to be voiced by Bonnie Hunt.
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The first Pixar movie to be produced by Darla K. Anderson.
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The fourth computer animated film after Toy Story (1995), Cassiopeia (1996) and Antz (1998).
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Hopper is the first pixar villain to die.
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When Hopper monologues to Princess Atta about "those circle of life kind of things-the sun grows the food, the ants pick the food the grasshoppers eat the food," Molt interrupts him quipping "And the birds eat the grasshoppers," foreshadowing Hopper's death at the end when the bird feeds Hopper to her baby chicks.
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Molt is the First Pixar Villain to redeem himself at the end of the film.
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Shares a similar plot with the CG Animated film, "Antz (1998)". In both films, a common worker Ant with a reputation for thinking too much embarks on a journey that affects his entire colony and begins a romance with the Princess.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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