This frolicsome and funny family film directed by John Lasseter (Toy Story) registers strongly on the senses and punches home its messages about the virtues of individuality and imagination. In a very routinized ant colony, Flik, an inventor, is trying to impress Princess Atta. His efforts put the community in jeopardy when he accidentally destroys a food offering meant for a group of grasshoppers who lord it over them. The ants cringe in terror when the bigger bugs' menacing leader, Hopper, orders them to double their food supply before the last leaf falls from their tree. It's a huge task and also means the colony may not have enough to eat in the winter.

Flik comes up with the bold idea of hiring some warrior insects to protect the colony. He ventures off to the city and convinces a band of unemployed members of a flea circus to return with him. He is convinced they are ferocious; they think he's a talent scout. Among this merry band of misfits are a male ladybug always trying to prove his manhood, a philosophical praying mantis, a rhino beetle, a walking stick, a black widow spider, a German caterpillar, and twin Hungarian pillbugs.

This computer-animated feature makes all these creatures appealing. As in the documentary film Microcosmos, the biggest terror for both the ants and the grasshoppers are birds. Flik finds a way to capitalize on this and thus fulfill his dream of making a difference in his very small world. Among the vocal performers Kevin Spacey stands out as Hopper, a tough customer who meets his match in a creative ant, voiced by Dave Foley, who works wonders by speaking the truth.