AntzDirector: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson
DreamWorks and Pacific Data Images collaborated on this all computer-animated comedy-adventure about the ant angst of misfit worker ant, Z (voice of Woody Allen), who feels trapped by the conformist confines of his totalitarian ant civilization and eventually sets forth in search of Insectopia. After DreamWorks began animating Prince of Egypt June 1, 1995, the company launched Antz in Palo Alto a year later (5/20/96), the same month the DreamWorks/PDI partnership was announced. The screenplay by Chris and Paul Weitz and Todd Alcott has uncredited input by Woody Allen (who matched dialogue to fit his usual style of verbal delivery). The story suggests the possible influence of Yevgeny Zamatin's classic novel We (1923) and Ayn Rand's similar-themed Anthem (1936), filmed in the early '70s in a rarely seen unauthorized film adaptation (which Rand never allowed to be shown commercially). Following the 1995 Toy Story (1995), Antz is the second fully computer-animated feature, preceding the release of Disney's all-CGI A Bug's Life by seven weeks. Antz begins with worker ant Z discussing his feelings of insignificance with a shrink (voice of Paul Mazursky) before heading off to his tunnel-digging job, work supervised by General Mandible (Gene Hackman) and Colonel Cutter (Christopher Walken). Mandible has big dreams of conquest, and he convinces the Queen (Anne Bancroft) an attack is necessary to prevent a termite invasion. Her daughter is Princess Bala (Sharon Stone), who's not overly enchanted by her engagement to Mandible. The Princess goes slumming, visiting the bar where Z hangs out with his friend Weaver (Sylvester Stallone). To the tune of "Guantanamera," Bala dances with Z -- in a scene with allusions to the dance in Pulp Fiction (1994). Entranced by the encounter, Z convinces Weaver to swap places, so a military parade will allow him to see Bala in the reviewing stand. Befriended by soldier ant Barbatus (Danny Glover) during the parade, Z nervously realizes he's actually marching into battle. Attacked by termites, the troops experience horrors highly reminiscent of the Starship Troopers (1997) bug battles. The dying Barbatus tells Z, "Don't follow orders all your life." As the only survivor of the slaughter, Z returns home a war hero. Threatened by Mandible, Bala and Z are thrown together in a journey into the outside world, and they travel toward the legendary Insectopia. Major city newspaper critics were almost unanimous in their praise of Antz. Shown at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Dreamworks Video
Cast & Crew
|John Mahoney||Drunk Scout|
|John Bell||Production Designer|
|Ken Bielenberg||Special Effects Supervisor|
|Penney Finkelman Cox||Executive Producer|
|Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin||Art Director|
|Philippe Gluckman||Special Effects Supervisor|
|Harry Gregson-Williams||Score Composer|
|Gregg Landaker||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Steve Maslow||Sound/Sound Designer|
|John Powell||Score Composer|
|Sandra Rabins||Executive Producer|
|Carl Rosendahl||Executive Producer|
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I found this movie to be a superb example of the functionalist view of the social structure. Functionalist beleive that the structure is universal, rigid, and balanced when people stay in their roles or ''place''. Z provides the example for those people in our society who are ''free thinkers'' and want to live outside the box. These are the people who are not tolerated by wealthy, powerful, or prestigious. People like Z challenge the status quo - by daring to believe that people should be valued for who they are and not ''how much dirt thay can haul''. My students were asked to analyze this movie using the textbook and it opened their eyes to the reality of our American structure.
This grotesque example of a children¿s story is anything but appealing. I was horrified to see DreamWorks create a story so loosely based on human society as it is today. The ants, compared to Americans, become blown up, maimed for life by an acid spray, and dismembered by termites, who are compared terrorists. Small children, and others, are terrified to open their eyes and see this horrific massacre. But when it¿s over, the story line does NOT get better. The ant ¿hero¿ Z sets out to find a Utopia outside of his ant hill, but before he leaves, he kidnaps the ant princess, Bala. As the troops set out to find her, you see more slaughter and destruction. The best part was the happily ever after, only because it was over. But even the end has suggestion of adult behavior. This is not a movie for the kids, or even the adults to see. I hope to see DreamWorks produce better movies in the future.