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Overall Rating

Awesome: 32.53%
Worth A Look47.59%
Average: 7.83%
Pretty Bad: 9.04%
Total Crap: 3.01%

12 reviews, 94 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"Solid early fun from DreamWorks."
4 stars

'Antz' isn't anything great, or even especially memorable, but it's a reasonable afternoon diversion -- which is its chief charm.

The fledgling studio DreamWorks has dabbled in kiddie fare before (MouseHunt, Small Soldiers), but this is its first feature-length foray into animation. Not only that, it's the first fully computer-animated 'toon since Disney/Pixar's Toy Story. All things considered, I prefer Antz. It has no sappy show tunes (the closest it comes is a montage set to "I Can See Clearly Now"), a minimum of gush, and a surplus of anti-establishment wit. And it doesn't overwhelm you or try too hard; it's as light and brisk as a spring breeze.

Disney is big on "Be yourself" as a theme, but Antz advances a more relevant message: "Think for yourself." The movie unfolds within a teeming ant colony, divided into soldiers and workers -- it's a vision of a society as a military-industrial complex that would keep Oliver Stone ranting for years. We meet one worker ant, Z (voice by Woody Allen), who's tired of his predetermined role in life. He's sure there has to be something more, and he hears intriguing things about a far-off idyll called Insectopia. He finds his soulmate in the Queen Ant's daughter Princess Bala (Sharon Stone), who's sick of her life -- she's to be married to the brutish General Mandible (Gene Hackman), a warmonger with vaguely genocidal plans.

To adults, there's nothing terribly original in the plot (which follows Z and Bala to Insectopia and their struggle against Mandible), though it's fair to say that it's new to newcomers -- i.e., kids. Will children be mystified by the often-sophisticated dialogue (by Todd Alcott, Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz)? Possibly, but there's more than enough else to hold their interest, including a couple of set pieces (one involving a pair of giant sneakered feet, another concerning a drop of water) that define "ingenuity." At its best, Antz appeals to your daydreams when you were a kid and you wondered about the daily physical hassles of an ant. (Well, I did, anyway.)

Antz takes place in an enclosed computer-generated world, like Toy Story, yet I didn't feel cramped and confined in this ant world, as I did in the hermetic, almost-real-but-not-quite universe of Buzz and Woody. Antz is actually closer to James and the Giant Peach, and the visuals, ironically enough, feel large-scale. When we pull back, what seems like miles of ant tunnels is really only inches in diameter. I would've liked to see a little more interaction between ants and humans -- maybe a scene with millions of frenzied soldiers waging war on a candy bar on the sidewalk, or a decree from General Mandible that all deserters will be sent to the ant farm.

Adults will get a kick out of the voices, too. Woody successfully reinvents himself in the sort of uncomplicated revenge-of-the-nerd role he hasn't enjoyed in a while; Sharon Stone displays the humor you always find in her interviews but rarely in her movies; Jennifer Lopez's fans will find further proof that she sounds as alluring as she looks; Sylvester Stallone and (briefly) Danny Glover are amusing as soldier ants; Gene Hackman reworks several of his rabid military bad-guys.

Then there's Christopher Walken, whose character -- Mandible's second-in-command Cutter -- even looks like him. This is Walken's second go-round in a DreamWorks kiddie movie (he also brightened MouseHunt), and he's even funnier in these movies than he is in his usual black-clad, vampire-from-the-planet-of-bad-hair roles. Everywhere else, he's typecast, hired for his voice and somber visage; DreamWorks may have found the perfect home for this often-imitated, never-duplicated actor, who clearly has a ball playing wacky roles no one else will let him do.

And so far, the studio is batting three for three with their kiddie division, hiring hipster actors like Walken and Tommy Lee Jones and letting them play. Whereas 'Toy Story' employed who? Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. I rest my case.

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originally posted: 12/30/06 12:38:17
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User Comments

1/01/10 Dane Youssef Not just for the kids. It works on every possible level. Film takes a quantum leap forword. 5 stars
1/17/09 Samantha Pruitt Woody Allen as an, what could be better? not sarcasm, really funny movie. 5 stars
11/08/08 Tiffany Losco Cute, my daughter loved it 4 stars
8/08/08 David Cohen Woody Allen does his same, tired old schtick, only as an ant 3 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner Great Kids Film! 5 stars
4/15/08 Andrew Excellent movie with some great humor packed in it, too. 5 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White humorous what a brave ant 4 stars
6/04/07 fools♫gold Yeah, I have to rate so as to cancel out this saying that kids shouldn't watch it. 4/5 or.. 5 stars
3/09/07 johnnyfog A fun romp, though there's swearing so no kid viewers. WTF? 4 stars
2/17/07 Vip Ebriega Small world, unique movie. 4 stars
10/01/06 gambling bonus 5 stars
8/16/06 drydock54321 fun for everyone 4 stars
7/19/06 Sandy + Stephanie (twins) that little ant 5 stars
5/16/06 Fruit-Loop Hey who's the bigger Idiot? The Idiot or the Idiot that says this movie is for idiots? 4 stars
2/13/06 Anthony Hilarious 4 stars
11/16/05 Adrian An entertaining look at the world and life of ants. 4 stars
11/10/05 Quigley awesome visuals, awesome one-liners, awesome Woody Allen. the whole movie is awesome! 5 stars
8/27/05 Aliyah It suck shark tale is better. 1 stars
7/29/05 tony HILARIOUS. A KEEPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/25/05 Valerie For some reason I really like this one, LOL. 4 stars
1/01/05 Landshark Cavalcade of stars as excuse for slavish caricature, no diff from Shark Tale crap. 2 stars
11/15/04 Ange makes u think of steping on ants.. with chewy! 5 stars
8/30/04 Carmen it was boring 1 stars
7/14/04 tatum "A Bug's Life" for Mom and Dad, and funny to boot 5 stars
6/04/04 Daveman Brilliant animation for its time and an interesting idea, but damn it's no Bug's Life. 4 stars
5/17/04 DM Interesting that the ripoff ("A Bug's Life") was somewhat better 4 stars
2/28/04 Kyle Stunning cast brings the movie up a notch. 3 stars
2/10/04 Whatevr Makes you think twice about burning ants with a magnifying glass. 5 stars
8/31/03 Kitty Kelso Even if hes got only a few lines, aykroyd was the best one 3 stars
9/11/02 Zefram Mann Decent animation, excellent script, and top notch voice talent. 5 stars
7/11/02 KMG Just okay 3 stars
2/08/02 Error One of the best movie ever! 5 stars
12/16/01 Yul Spinner Good, but a lot less than "Bug's Life". This one has no heart. The characters are annoying 3 stars
10/15/01 Andrew Carden The First Adult Cartoon With Woody Allen Hits Rock Bottom. 2 stars
10/03/01 Butterbean Hmmm..I'll go back to watching "Toy Story" 3 stars
8/31/01 Henry Ginsberg Very witty and well animated. 5 stars
8/29/01 Gary Loved it. Witty, great voiceovers. Muddy, dull colours but the great script shines through. 5 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat W/a good voice-overcast,itcan'tlose.1 WoodyAllen pic U where won't fall asleep. 5 stars
7/03/01 jacqui great fun for adults disgruntled with their lot in life; allen and Walken are fantastic 5 stars
4/16/01 LiL Wow, this movie is funny, original and all around fantastic! 5 stars
4/10/01 Gary This is a better film than "A Bug's Life" and it gets less credit. You should see it! 4 stars
2/16/01 lisa there was only one bloody color in the movie!! it was boring. 2 stars
2/07/01 Turtle Much better than the semi-dissappointing "A Bug's Life". 4 stars
1/19/01 Jed Good movie indeed Woody Allen was funny among others. 4 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin see the right side 4 stars
11/08/00 dan extremely entertaining and funny! much better than "Bugs" 5 stars
8/26/00 Matthew Bartley 'Hey this tastes like crap' 'It is crap! Good crap!' 5 stars
7/04/00 Stephen Anderson A good movie for both adults and children 4 stars
2/13/00 Richard Wright Not as funny the second time I saw it. Still a good "adult" style animation though. 4 stars
12/13/99 owins c-ta that funny and enjoy 5 stars
11/02/99 hum yawn 2 stars
10/25/99 Bueller Woody Allen has never been so viusally appealing. I liked it better than Blair Witch... 3 stars
7/01/99 Elizaveta Working men of all countries, Unite! 4 stars
1/18/99 Yo Momma A+ for humor and fun, D for storyline. Excellent 4 a kiddy movie. 4 stars
1/17/99 Redial Awesome 4 a kiddie movie. 4 stars
1/15/99 ACME-TNT Fivestar cast,excellent story,mezmorizing animation,hilarious humor,fun fun,cool action,etc 5 stars
1/15/99 Charles Dubé The return of the Woodman insect. Allen makes a welcome comeback! 5 stars
1/03/99 Dasha great, great, great movie! Sharp, witty and funny too. 5 stars
12/29/98 pieter post Wonderful computer animation film 5 stars
12/23/98 Puppy Well. As expected Woody Allen annoyed me beyond belief. *sigh* 2 stars
12/19/98 John Kinsella Loved it! Amazing animation. Funny story. PDI is a comer! 5 stars
12/16/98 ken A+ for technology, D for storyline 3 stars
12/13/98 Binky Works better fi you haven't just seen the far superior A Bug's Life. Not bad, but not great 4 stars
12/07/98 Shadow Raider Good movie... Funny as hell... Leave the kiddies at home. 4 stars
11/24/98 Evil Al I always thought Woody Allen was an insect! 4 stars
11/24/98 buddy Just okay, the darkness of it gave me a headache. 3 stars
11/22/98 Baked Spam It sucks...Really sucks! 1 stars
11/15/98 Hal 9000 Characters were grotesque in appearance. Thin and unengaging story. Too much brown. 3 stars
11/13/98 Lord Of The Dunce I'm anti (pun intended) celebrity voices. Share the work with unknown actors, assholes! 3 stars
11/09/98 MissDelicateFlower I wish the sound had been broken when I saw it. 2 stars
11/06/98 David Torpey Great movie but leave the young ones at home. Like 7 unless you like to hear cuss words. 4 stars
11/06/98 bvw funny as hell. not really a kid's movie, per se 5 stars
11/04/98 The Dude I really expected it to be more of a little childs movie, But I enjoyed it 4 stars
11/04/98 The Graduate Intelligent and hilarious! How many animated flicks can get a laugh from quoting Marx? 5 stars
10/30/98 Katsat Splashy animation but hollow inside. Woody annonying, Stone bland. No magic, no passion. 2 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob Themes and images that sail right over the intended audiences head. Kid film? NOT!!! 4 stars
10/24/98 Ash Toy Story is better than this, and the voices totally bite!! A Bugs Life will be better!!!! 1 stars
10/24/98 Vick Di Brecci A fine remake of Everything You... Sex's last segment with added romance and social comment 4 stars
10/23/98 stf Nice to look at, actors are great! storyline so so but worth it for the social class issue 4 stars
10/22/98 Negative Creep Stallone is Great in this. Finally Proves he CAN be Funny, lighthearted. 3 stars
10/19/98 Aint-It-Cool intellectually stimulating as well as beautiful and fun. No stupid sidekicks or songs! 5 stars
10/18/98 Kwyjibo Just not as impressed as the media says I should be. Sucked. 3 stars
10/17/98 Mr Showbiz cunning new animated adventure about a worker ant who longs to escape his fascist colony 5 stars
10/17/98 Sailor Moon Ate My Balls Better than Disney's Toy Story, this movie rocks! 5 stars
10/15/98 Airlu I LOVED IT!!!! A great movie with a great cast. Definitely worth the 8 bucks. 5 stars
10/14/98 Gamma Best CG Water ever. Walken kicks all ass, no matter the role. Decent Story 4 stars
10/13/98 grunter Stunningly unfunny; If U caught even 1 of the ET TV profiles, U saw the whole damn film. 2 stars
10/08/98 Armageddon The celeb voices made this film extremely fun to watch. Wonderful animation. 4 stars
10/07/98 Korny Island This was pretty good effects but it was a kind of crappy story. One for kids only. 2 stars
10/04/98 Shmoo Sux 1 stars
10/01/98 katherine I think this movie's pretty good 4 kids. It was funny, and it taught a lesson. 5 stars
9/29/98 brian Really enjoyed the film! I saw it at the Toronoto Film Festival! 5 stars
9/26/98 dov Sly is a hoot. 4 stars
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  02-Oct-1998 (PG)
  DVD: 31-May-2005


  29-Oct-1998 (PG)

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