Strange Transmissions
Warning! Major spoiler alert for readers outside the USA or Canada
selected from Xposé #30
US: November 25 1998 • UK: February 5 1999
Directed by John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Phyllis Diller, Dennis Leary
Rated: PG
5-star rating

It’s been a busy year for animated ant movies. First there was Dreamworks’ Antz. Now Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, the companies behind 1995’s mega successful Toy Story, have teamed up once again to create the brilliant A Bug’s Life. Directed John Lasseter, who brilliantly helmed Toy Story, and Andrew Stanton, who also collaborated on that project, deliver state of the art and incredibly innovative ant animation.

A Bug's LifeFeaturing the voices of Kevin Spacey, Julie Louis Dreyfus, Dave Foley, Phyllis Diller and Dennis Leary, among others, the story revolves around Flik, an ant who desperately attempts to save Ant Island from invasion by a gang of nasty and very greedy grasshoppers. Helping him to achieve this goal is a troupe of bug performers from a local circus.

Principal bugs include Queen Princess Atta, an ant who governs over Ant Island with strength and determination; Hopper, the head grasshopper who attempts to manipulate the bugs into believing that their mission in life is to serve his kind; and PT Flea, the owner and operator of the aforementioned circus.

Besides the captivating characters and strong ambiance of originality, drama and humor, the film is also a wonderful story about the ongoing struggle for freedom from oppression, and tyranny, something that is brought across in a fun-filled adventure likely to please moviegoers of all ages.

Simon Bacal

5: A Good Day • Written by Steven L Sears
Directed by Rick Jacobson • Syndicated October 26 1998
5-star rating

Gabrielle in Classic modeThis is the episode where Xena is back! No more Biblical trials of Job. No more missing sidekicks. No more deep and soulful journeys. This is the episode where Xena starts kicking butt again. Gather the popcorn and take the phone off the hook because you are in for a wild ride.

Xena makes it her mission to see that the Romans wipe each other out in a civil war before they can kill everyone else in Greece. While she is busy, Gabrielle helps whip the local village into a fighting force to be reckoned with; a big change from the meek bard of early Xena episodes.

This episode stands on its own as the entire Xena universe in a microcosm. We see many of the themes from Xena’s first three seasons echoed here. Xena’s rivalry with Caesar is touched on along with Gabrielle’s loss of innocence. The most powerful performances come from the strong supporting cast that we see trampled under the Roman war machine. The direction in this episode is strong as well. Rick Jacobson has achieved a very cinematic feel. .

If you are looking for a first Xena episode to show someone, this is a good one.

Sandy Clark

This Winter, our STRANGE TRANSMISSIONS review section is covering the latest seasons of: Buffy the Vampire Slayer • Millennium • The Pretender • The X–Files • Seven Days • The Crow: Stairway to Heaven • Earth: Final Conflict • Xena: Warrior Princess • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys • Highlander: The Raven, and all the latest fantastic films...

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