Pixar-Forgotten/Minor Characters #2: The Drummer Spider

abugslife drummer spider

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.

Sadly, Dreamworks Animation's Antz emerged victorious. Just look at the victory pose on the poster.
Sadly, Dreamworks Animation’s Antz emerged victorious. Just look at the victory pose on the poster.

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”.

And when I say "feed", I mean "FEED"! There are only like 12 grasshoppers total and I don't think they could finish all this food if they tried!
And when I say “feed”, I mean “FEED”! There are only like 12 grasshoppers total and I don’t think they could finish all this food if they tried!

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.

Francis has pulled the sword stick from the stone. All hail Queen King Francis!
Francis has pulled the sword stick from the stone. All hail King Queen King Francis!

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.

"It's about time I had someone drumming up awareness of me. Ba-dum-tsshh!"
“It’s about time I had someone drumming up awareness of me. Ba-dum-tsshh!”

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.

Hopper is as shocked as the audience is that such a thing exists.
Hopper is as shocked as the audience is that such a thing exists.

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!

"Well, I just didn't want to make an asset of myself. Ba-dum-tsshh!"
“Well, I just didn’t want to make an asset of myself. Ba-dum-tsshh!”

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 don't spoil broths. I prefer laying waste with my drumsticks. Ba-dum-tsshh!"
“I don’t spoil broths. I prefer laying waste with my drumsticks. Ba-dum-tsshh!”

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!

Is he wearing a hat or is that his hair? It bothers me, for some reason.
Is he wearing a hat or is that his hair? It bothers me, for some reason.
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18 thoughts on “Pixar-Forgotten/Minor Characters #2: The Drummer Spider”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

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