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|“||You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up. Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one, and if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life! It's not about food. It's about keeping those ants in line. THAT'S why we're going BACK! Does anybody else want to stay?||„|
|~ Hopper rallying his grasshoppers.|
Hopper is the main antagonist of Pixar's 2nd full-length animated feature film A Bug's Life. He is the cunning leader of a gang of grasshoppers, including his right-hand grasshopper and feral pet named Thumper, and his younger brother named Molt. He is Flik's arch-nemesis.
He was voiced by Kevin Spacey, who also played Micky Rosa in 21, John Doe in Se7en, Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects, Frank Underwood in House of Cards, Buddy Ackerman in Swimming with Sharks, Dave Harken in Horrible Bosses, Rufus Buckley in A Time To Kill, Clyde Northcutt in Fred Claus, Jonathan Irons in Call of Duty, Dr. Nerse in The Cleveland Show, and Lex Luthor in Superman Returns.
Hopper is a slender gold grasshopper who is very tall (at least, for an insect). He is also blind in his right eye, because of a scratch from a blue jay that almost ate him. He also towers over Flik and the ants in the film. His legs are long, good for long-ranged kick attacks.
Hopper is a ruthless, violent, cunning, manipulative and egotistical dictator who thinks nothing of killing ants, whom he considers lower than dirt. He dislikes being thought of as weak in any way.
His persuasive manner of speaking to Princess Atta is reminiscent of an abusive and argumentative boyfriend mocking his terrified and pusillanimous girlfriend. He also beats up his own henchmen and even kills three of them.
However, he can be somewhat compassionate and merciful, as seen when he gives the ants a second chance at providing food after they fail miserably. Otherwise, Hopper sees mercy and compassion as weaknesses and relies mostly on fear to maintain authority. Hopper was the only grasshopper who knew the ants outnumbered them from 100 to 1. He believes that the ants are like simple-minded sheep and cannot really think for themselves, therefore taking advantage of them.
Throughout the film, Hopper is concerned that Flik will stand up to him because one rebel ant is enough to cause a whole colony's mutiny. Deep down, Hopper knows that the ants are stronger than they appear, especially in large number; for this reason, he actually fears them, but he hides it with his cruel and dictatorial demeanor.
His only slightly redeeming quality is that he seemed to love his mother given that he refused to kill Molt due to a promise he made to her on her deathbed. Hopper was more knowledgeable than the other grasshoppers, and also, by his manipulative and serious personality, was more of a magisterial and oppressive leader.
|“||It seems to me that you ants are forgetting your place. So let's double the order of food. (Atta: No, but-but--) We'll be back at the end of the season...when the last leaf falls.You ants have a nice summer.||„|
|~ Hopper to the ants.|
At the beginning of the film, Flik accidentally destroys the offering of food that the ants prepared for the grasshoppers. When they arrive, Hopper is angry to find the food all gone but is willing enough to give the ants a second chance. Flik stands up to Hopper, and Hopper doubles the order of food that the ants must prepare.
After a while, Hopper is seen again at his hangout in the desert. Molt suggests to Hopper that they do not collect food from the ants due to them having enough food to get them through the winter as it is. As Hopper is about to punch him for suggesting this, Molt frantically tells him that it was not his idea, causing him to direct his attention towards the two grasshoppers, Axel and Loco, that had told him to tell him this. Realizing that his underlings unable to understand the situation, Hopper demonstrates to Axel and Loco the strength of an ant by throwing a single grant at them only for them to laugh it up due to how weak it is until he pours the entire grants reserve on them, burying them alive and kills them. He explains that it was never about food but "keeping the ants in line" as the ants can defeat them easily with overwhelming numbers. Immediately after, he and his goons fly out of the hangout towards Ant Island.
Rise to Power
When he is dissatisfied with the amount of offering the ants give him after a second chance, Hopper takes over Ant Island and plots to kill the Queen. After hearing from Dot about Hopper's plot, Flik and the circus troupe return to the island and rescue the Queen, with the help of the fake bird that they made earlier in the season. Hopper had a fear of birds, revealing that he had ornithophobia. However, he soon discovers that the bird is a fake after it is set on fire by P.T. Flea, and has Thumper beat up Flik upon realizing that it was his idea.
Flik's Bird Brained Idea
Flik makes his heartfelt and assertive speech about how his colony is strong in number. Hopper swats Flik to the ground and raises his foot to squish him, but Atta intervenes. Hopper then turns to see all of the ants and the circus bugs ready to fight and bombard him. After being ditched by his own minions, Hopper is trapped in the circus cannon.
Seeking revenge on Flik for embarrassing him, Hopper shoots himself toward Flik and flies away with him. The circus bugs give chase to save Flik, launching Tuck and Roll onto Hopper's back in an attempt to stop him. Hopper maneuvers himself through a small hole and manages to shake off the pill bugs, but they reveal that they have removed a piece of one of his antennae. This creates enough of a distraction for Atta to swipe Flik away from him, and he pursues the two across the river.
The End of Hopper
Flik tells Atta to stay hidden and goes out to find Hopper, only for the grasshopper to land right in front of him. He strangles Flik with the promise to return next season with more grasshoppers as he corners him against a bird's nest. Suddenly, the sparrow appears and notices the two bugs. Assuming that this is simply another trick, Hopper looks to Flik who confirms it and he teases the bird until she shrieks at him. As he realizes his mistake and tries to flee after dropping Flik, the bird blocks off his path, catches him, and feeds the screaming Hopper to her chicks, with a hidden Atta and Flik looking away in fear.
At the end of the movie, Tuck and Roll are shown jabbering on about their fight with Hopper while holding the piece of his antennae, which is all that is left of the villainous grasshopper.
It's Tough to Be a Bug!
Despite his death in the film, Hopper reappears as the main antagonist in the short film. He chastises Flik for inviting humans into the insect world, claiming that they are an enemy to bugs and displays an exterminator sign and footage from movies including Beginning of the End and Empire of the Ants as evidence. He then attacks the audience with a giant fly swatter, bug spray, hornets, and black widow spiders. As he threatens the audience with the fact that humans are far outnumbered by insects and that "nothing can stop [them]", a chameleon sneaks up behind him and he flees off-screen.
A Bug's Life (The Video Game)
Though Hopper is the main antagonist in the respective Nintendo 64 and Playstation versions of A Bug's Life, he does not officially appear until the game's final three levels (Anthill Part 2, Riverbed Flight, and Canyon Showdown). He makes an appearance in the game over screen (in the N64 version of the game). Though in the Playstation version, the scene where he furiously throws the leaf of food at the ants plays when it is game over.
- Hopper was voiced by Kevin Spacey in A Bug's Life, and by Andrew Stanton (the film's co-director) in It's Tough to be a Bug and the video game. John Lasseter had offered the role twice to Robert De Niro, who declined both times.
- Hopper is the first main Pixar movie villain to be physically fought.
- He is also the first main Pixar movie villain to die in his movie.
- The creators of A Bug’s Life originally wanted Robert De Niro to voice Hopper, but he refused twice.