Pixar’s next film, A Bug’s Life, has an interesting history that most people know about. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a battle between Dreamworks Animation and Pixar to release their bug-related film first.
Despite losing that race, I would argue that the superior and better film of the two is definitely Pixar’s A Bug’s Life.
Taking liberties with the Aesop fable of The Ants and the Grasshopper, the film is about a colony of ants who have to feed a group of bullying grasshoppers every year in return for “protection from other bugs/animals”.
But when an ant named Flik, voiced by Dave Foley, causes a catastrophe that leads to the grasshoppers demanding more food from the ants, he’s sent to the city to find other bugs to help them fight off the grasshoppers. And just his luck, he happens to accidentally hire circus performers.
And the rest of the film is about how all the bugs work together to fight off the grasshoppers, be it with deception or lack thereof. The film, like I said is great. It has a great moral in standing up to bullies, has a simple, yet intriguing story, and has a lot of memorable characters. So in terms of choosing a forgotten/minor character, I ended up picking the drummer spider.
If you’re like me, you’ve never noticed this character before despite watching this movie multiple times. He appears briefly in one scene near the end when the ants capture Hopper, the leader of the grasshoppers, voiced by Kevin Spacey, and are about to shoot him off in a bug cannon.
And the drummer spider is there providing a drum roll before they shoot Hopper off. Now, he never says anything or does anything else in the movie besides drum. And I want to know, why not?
When fighting off the grasshoppers, I feel that a spider would be an immense asset in battle! Granted, they already had a black widow spider, but the drummer spider is brownish-yellow, which I’m assuming means that he’s more poisonous/dangerous than other spiders, hence providing a more serious threat to the grasshoppers. And greater numbers are always welcome in a fight!
Or he could have even helped more in constructing the decoy bird because of his web-spinning abilities. Granted again, that they already had the black widow spider to do that, but having two sources of webs could increase the speed of production as well as the overall quality of the bird! Unless this is an example of too many cooks spoiling the proverbial broth and only one spider was necessary for this job!
I dunno, I just feel that this character could have been much more useful just like how the rhino executioner from Robin Hood could have been. Nevertheless, I’m glad I finally noticed this character and I’m glad to commemorate him with this title!
20 thoughts on “Pixar-Forgotten/Minor Characters #2: The Drummer Spider”
Bug’s life! That is in my top 10 favorite movies! 🙂 .
Glad to hear that! Thanks for commenting!
It is embracingourfemininity. 🙂 . I made a new blog now. 🙂 .
Good post, I haven’t this movie in a long time, but now I want to!
It’s always a delight every time I see it.
Great post. I actually feel bad for this movie. For some reason, people act like it is horrible, and it is the most forgotten and one of the most hates Pixar films, when honestly, is around on par with Toy Story. Yeah, I went there (finger snap). I liked that more than one character developed, and that actually a lot happens in the film. It is entertaining, and you can invest in the characters. Even after reading the post, I still do not recall ever seeing the character, and I watched this movie many times.
Yes, you’re right. This movie isn’t horrible and is quite underrated and forgotten nowadays sadly.
Yeah, I too never noticed this character before. But when I watch a movie looking for a forgotten/minor character, I pay very close attention.
It’s not horrible, just forgettable…I tend to call it the Aristocats of the Pixar canon. A nice little movie for children, certainly not bad, but not particular memorable either.
Hi! Yes, it’s been ages since I’ve stopped by. Glad to be back. And you brought up two films I saw. I agree that A Bug’s Life was much better than Antz. And, yes, I totally forgot about the drummer spider.
Glad to see you back! Did you ever notice the drummer spider before?
I was never into A Bug’s Life all that much, I actually preferred Antz at the time, not sure if my opinion on either would change now for either film, have to watch them again and see.
Never noticed the spider before, so it was nice to find out about him. To be fair I think I’ve only watched the film three or four times, so I not as familiar with it as other Pixar movies. On the subject of his head, he seems to be wearing the cupule of an acorn for a hat.
Cupule…new word for me.
Just noticed him after years of watching the movie! He also appears on the scene that the circus leader is being tied up
Nice, I probably missed him at that later scene!
The drummer spider appears in my daughter’s Pixar look-and-find book!
Oooh, that’s awesome, thanks for pointing that out!
I just noticed him when they’re closing PT up in the circus cookie box after tying him up. It’s just before the bugs return to save the ants with their ‘performance’. I’ve watched this movie a hundred times and can’t believe I have never seen him! I am even more surprised that I found something about him online! The story I kinda picked up on him is that he was more of a ‘behind the scenes’ circus helper, because he was not a performer. Kinda like the old drunk guy who bunks with the animals and shovels all their crap!
Thanks for commenting!
I recently rewatched the film and also noticed the spider then too. It’s amazing what we miss during our first viewings, lol!
This is an old article but I think that this bugs name is Chili. (a Chilean rose spider, sometimes called a Mexican red knee tarantula) In Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, there was a 3d attraction called “It’s Tough to Be a Bug”, which stars Flik, Hopper, and others, including Chili (voiced by Cheech Marin). It has been replaced since, but it was originally located in the Tree of Life Theater. Supposedly it is to be reopening this year but due to the covid pandemic, it may be later. There has also been talk of a sequel to be released, so I assume that the storyline for the attraction is to be updated to match A Bug’s Life 2.
Thanks for commenting! Oh you’re probably right about Chili! I went to Animal Kingdom in the summer and the attraction was open then. Oh, I haven’t heard anything about a sequel to this film.