Adorkable: Z is very quirky and neurotic, but still lovable nonetheless.
Alas, Poor Scrappy: Muffy. She's condescending and nauseating, but she doesn't deserve to get crushed by a flyswatter — complete with a shot of her dead body (if anything, she's killed because she wanted to give Z and Bala some food, but is briefly distracted by some snuggly time with her husband Chip). Even Z and Bala, who were uncomfortable around the two wasps, are shocked and dismayed after witnessing her death, with the latter breathing, "Oh, no!"
Animation Age Ghetto: The film was highly successful both financially and critically despite being rated PG. But nowadays, bowdlerized versions of it get aired on TV channels geared toward children.
It's rather odd to see Woody Allen and Sharon Stone play love interests when, only two years later, they would star in Picking Up The Pieces playing Husband and Wife where the Wife gets murdered by the Husband in the beginning of the film. It's also ironic considering Stone's feature film debut was in Stardust Memories as an actress on a train flirting with Allen.
Cutter: "Strong. Colony. Sir. Colony... we can be proud of."
Overshadowed by Controversy: Despite being the second American All-CGI Cartoon feature ever as well as Dreamworks first feature release, the heated tensions the movie caused between Dreamworks and Pixar is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why it is still remembered today.
John Lasseter felt double-crossed when he heard about this film being produced, considering he discussed the general idea of A Bug's Life with Jeffrey Katzenberg before he left under bad circumstances to form DreamWorks. The fact that Katzenberg then offered to stop production if Disney rescheduled the Pixar film away from his major film, The Prince of Egypt, ticked him off more as blackmail. The experience didn't help Lasseter's relationship with Disney boss Michael Eisner either: Eisner had ordered A Bug's Life to open the same day as The Prince of Egypt a la Don Bluth's old strategy and withheld a $90 million bonus in an attempt to bankrupt DreamWorks out of the gate, which was one of the reasons for Antz's creation. A federal judge ordered Disney to pay up the bonus and tripled it, foiling that plan.
It should be said though that apart from having talking insects and having ants as main characters, the two films are overall incredibly different movies. They have almost nothing in common. Even their Aesops are different; one is about finding individuality, and the other is about working together as a team.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The worker revolution that starts up once word begins to spread that Z went against the ant colony's system pretty much disappears completely after General Mandible's speech wins back the workers.
Too Cool to Live: Barbatus, one of the few soldiers loyal to the Queen and bites the dust after finally being reduced to a head.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Many people, including DreamWorks, considered it a family film and it is marketed as such. While the film has a few bouts of slapstick and action, dialogue-wise, this is a Woody Allen flick, with mild swearing and very dark themes such as genocide and a dictator villain who is one of the most despicable in all of animation.
Despite the uncredited rewrites he did to suit his style, it can still feel weird to hear Woody Allen's voice coming out of an animated character. And while the film isn't for children, necessarily, the action-adventure plot is clearly meant more for audiences younger than the typical jaded adults who are used to the kind of banal, Slice of Life stories he's often associated with.