ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

A Bug's Life (1998), G
CAP Score: 84, CAP ID: 0.28

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

Executive Summary / Commentary
Findings / Scoring

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A Bug's Life was fantastic - but should be 'taken with a grain of salt.'(1) Realistic motion combined with human voices and human societal affairs could tend to reduce the fantasy element for the impressionable. Intimidation into servitude by threats and violence was a large part of the theme. There were threats to kill (once of a character's mother), beatings, a choking, and a death by being eaten alive.

A mural painted by "second graders" depicted arrows impaling story characters with one of them being eaten alive. Note that the injury site of the impaled grasshoppers in the mural were painted red -- grasshoppers do not have red blood. And the arrows in the mural? There were no hand weapons at all throughout the movie? A significantly inappropriate scene presented a story character igniting the stream out of a can of lighter fluid with a match.

Although the characters were animated figures, the imitative behaviors of some children could make the choreography of this movie a risk for wholesome behavior development for some.

(1) This animated feature was analyzed with the assumption that if the behavior of a character could be incorporated by a human, then an opportunity exists to influence the behavior decisions of the observer, especially the inexperienced and impressionable observer, and those in the same developmental stratum portrayed by the characters or next step or two higher.

FINDINGS / SCORING: Antz (1998) CAP Thermometers

Wanton Violence/Crime earned the loss of intermediate level points once due to a mural prepared by "second graders' showing arrows through characters and a character being eaten. Wanton Violence/Crime lost no points in the maximum level.

Impunity/Hate (I)(1), Sex/Homosexuality (S) , Drugs/Alcohol (D), Offense to God (O)(2), and Murder/Suicide (M)(3) lost no intermediate or maximum level points.

Additional examples of questionable programming, each warranting the loss of the minimum level points included:

  • intimidation into servitude by threat and violence
  • arguments with threats to kill, once of a character's mother
  • mystic incantations and calling upon the psychic twice
  • "Burn him again"
  • eating manure
  • a barroom scene
  • the use of God's name in vain once without the four letter expletive
  • "Go ahead and squish me" with an enemy's foot on the character's head
  • gambling
  • lies
  • "Got in touch with your feminine side" to a male character
  • "Turn off your b---"
  • muffled foul language
  • using a match to light the stream out of a can of lighter fluid
  • beatings and choking
  • death by being eaten BR>
    In accordance with the numeric comparative baseline database of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model, A Bug's Life (1998) presented programming equivalent to R-rated material in Wanton Violence/Crime but G-rated material in Impunity/Hate, Sex/Homosexuality, Drugs/Alcohol, Offense to God and Murder/Suicide. Thus, A Bug's Life is equivalent to 17% R-rated programming and 83% G-rated programming.

    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impunity/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name is incorporated into the Impunity/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the three/four letter word vocabulary is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain, whether literal or euphemistic.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Presentation of attempts to commit murder or suicide, deaths by police action, and deaths by war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

    Please remember we believe that if even one of the six Investigation Area scores for a movie is equivalent to the CAP comparative baseline database scoring range for R, PG-13, or PG material, the entire movie should be regarded as so rated.  For example, if only Wanton Violence/Crime earns a score equivalent to R but all other Investigation Areas earn a score equivalent to G, THERE IS R-RATED MATERIAL IN THE MOVIE AND YOUR KIDS WILL SEE IT AND HEAR IT IF THEY WATCH THE MOVIE!

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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