The first of Hollywood's computer animated bug movies has arrived in
theaters. Dreamworks' Antz proceeds A Bug's Life, from Disney, by almost
two months. One shouldn't confuse the two. Antz is aimed squarely at adults,
while A Bug's Life is targeted directly at children, with a little humor
to keep things interesting for the parents of those members of the all-important
Starring: The voices of Woody Allen, Sylvester
Stallone, and Gene Hackman
Antz tells the story of a young,
neurotic ant named Z-4165 (voiced by Woody Allen). It seems he is a
little insecure with his place in the colony
and wants to distinguish himself somehow. One night in a bar for the workers
of the colony, Z overhears an old, grizzled ant speak of Insectopia, a
land where food is plentiful and the "sacrifice-for-the- good-of-the-colony" mentality
doesn't exist. Z desperately wants to find Insectopia, but is discouraged
by his friend, Weaver (Sylvester Stallone), a soldier ant.
As Z ponders the idea of leaving the colony, Princess Bala (Sharon Stone)
enters the bar for a little excitement. She feels a little suffocated
by the responsibilities of being engaged to the colony's military commander,
General Mandible (Gene Hackman), and feels a need to see how the workers
have fun. Noticing Z sitting at the bar, she asks him to dance. After
she leaves, Z is smitten to the extreme.
He strikes a deal with Weaver to switch places for a day, so that he
can take part in a parade that passes by the palace. Z feels it is his
only hope for seeing Bala again. Unfortunately, the parade is to celebrate
the beginning of a war with a local termite colony, and Z has unwittingly
enlisted himself to take part in battle. Eventually, as a result of his
switch with Weaver and his pursuit of Princess Bala, he becomes a threat
to General Mandible's evil plot for the colony's future.
Antz is a genuinely sweet and funny film. The list of voice talent is
impressive and is a good indicator of the quality of the overall movie.
With names like Dan Aykroyd, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Jane
Curtin, Danny Glover and Anne Bancroft in supporting roles, you'll have
as much fun picking out who does what voice as you will enjoying the story.
Granted, the plot isn't exactly original, but the film moves along at
a good clip and remains consistently watchable from beginning to end.
Clearly, this is light entertainment, but it's refreshing to be able
to immerse one's self in a world so detailed and enjoyable as the computer
generated ant colony found in this film. Antz' animation is so well-done
that you almost forget you're watching what amounts to a fancy, high-tech
cartoon. Some of the scenes involving heights are so realistic that they
actually made me a little dizzy.
Anyone dismissing Antz as a kid's flick solely on the basis of it being
an animated film is missing a treat of a movie. If you're guilty of doing
so, redeem yourself by going to see it.
Allen was offered accompaniment to sing "Almost Like Being In Love",
but he refused, preferring to sing it a capella, and did so. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)