Starring: Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Anne Bancroft, Jane Curtin, Danny Glover, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson
Written By: Todd Alcott, Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 23 min
See what they did there? Ant … Z, Ant..z, Antz, Ants! Ha! Sorry.
Moving on! No that’s not a mistake in the cast list above, Woody Allen really is the star voice in this early computer generated offering from Dreamworks animation. He also has scenes with Sylvester Stallone if you can picture that. Though I do believe they record the voices separately. Heck, Christopher Walken, as an ANT? Do you need another reason to see this film?!
You would also be forgiven for thinking Woody Allen wrote Antz too when you hear the dialog he was given to say. Writers Todd Alcott, Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz did a great job writing this film! Each main character is well developed, has motivation and a story arc. The plot is decent, and the story has something to say about breaking convention and exploring ones individuality, while also demonstrating the power of community. The dialog is very sharp, and at times incredibly funny. I mean come on, the film opens with Z as he meets with his therapist!
Content wise, I would say this film doesn’t really include a lot for children to enjoy. With a central plot about anti-conformity, a kidnapping and mass ‘antoside’ (?) Antz actually takes a few darker turns now and then. The darkest moment arguably a brutal ant on termite battle and the aftermath that follows. Which may explain how its main competition at the time, the much kid friendlier Bugs Life from Pixar, did better at the US box office.
I think adults are going to respond to this more than children will. The humor and content are darker than what you get from the usual animated feature.
The animation does look a little dated, but it’s holding up pretty well. This film will be served well enough from a HD or DVD/Streaming show on your TV, tablet or smart phone.
I absolutely love the scene at the picnic. Princess Bala (Sharon Stone) is caught on some gum on the underside of a kids sneaker, and Z is on the other kids foot trying to save her by swinging across on a shoe string. It’s a really awesome scene, set to a fantastically rousing score by Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell.