Antz Movie Review
Antz beat A Bug's Life to movie theaters in 1998, but the best does not always come last. Going up against the monstrous Disney/Pixar giant, Dreamworks Pictures managed to slip in a great piece of work, one that has just a little more depth than A Bug's Life.
A Bug's Life is about a bunch of weak ants who decide to revolt against a group of menacing grasshoppers, the revolution led by a geek named Flik and a bunch of misfit circus performers. Antz, on the other hand, is a political satire of sorts, where the enemy does not come from outside but from within. The villain in the title movie is the General of the ants, who, seeking a "purer" empire, is planning to kill the queen, murder the thousands of worker ants, and impose a militaristic government. Now, that does not sound like a children's movie, and in some ways it is not.
The major theme of Antz is definitely something that might be a little mature for the target audience, but at the same time, they probably won't notice when watching it. The parents and older children will, however, and be impressed by its depth and genius. There is a war scene where ants and termites are shown desecrating each other, and several militaristic themes, but the creators manage to still make Antz enjoyable for the entire family.
That's because despite the more adult theme, there's still plenty of funny scenes and entertaining graphics. The main character, voiced by Woody Allen, is a thinker, but is also portrayed as a dork (pretty much identical to Flik in A Bug's Life, only Z in Antz acts more like a slave who is beginning to realize that a life of servitude is not the perfect life). As a dork, kids will find him entertaining, and parents will want to shoot him. But in a good, nice way.
The graphics are amazing. The close-up (foreground) graphics, especially of the ants and the nearby textures, are stunningly realistic, even more so than those of A Bug's Life. The downside, however, is that the background suffers. While the world in A Bug's Life, from the nearest leaf to the farthest, is always moving, the backgrounds in Antz seem more faded and more like a painting then computer graphics. It seems as though the artists spent so much time on the close ups that they rushed on the backgrounds. Nevertheless, the ants, the water, and several other things look like they really exist.
As a children's movie, it should be pointed out that there are a few things that some parents might find disturbing. In a few rare circumstances (hardly worth talking about), the word "damn" is used, but it seems to fit with the dialogue well. The only line that really seems out of place and unnecessary is where Z refers to "erotic dreams and fantasies" about Princess Bala (Sharon Stone). That is a little too adult in nature.
Antz is a masterpiece, both on graphic and story level. A Bug's Life is an extremely entertaining and visually stimulating film, but Antz may be just a little better.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.