Antz

Antz

3.4 5
Director: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson

Cast: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone

     
 

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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, theSee more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
What a masterstroke to graft Woody Allen's neurotic schtick onto a creature with great allegorical cause for feeling insignificant: an ant born into a colony of millions, indistinguishable from his neighbors. The opening scene of Antz, in which Allen's Z reports his psychological malaise to a therapist, sets audiences up for the way the film will work on multiple levels. Only the second film to be entirely digital, after Toy Story (1995), the film is not content to be merely an odyssey of visual stimuli -- it also has the wry intelligence to exist as a loving lampoon of Allen's work. Allen is just one of many who do assured vocal work on the project, with Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone also offering mild riffs on their familiar personas. Inevitably compared and contrasted with its CGI insect competition, A Bug's Life, released by Disney and Pixar later that year, A Bug's Life may be the more cuddly and kid-friendly movie (the battle scene in Antz is not really appropriate for younger viewers), but Antz boasts a superior script. Plus, it earns points for the risky artistic decision to make the ants look realistic -- in other words, brown, rather than their plastic blue color in Pixar's film. Pacific Data Images knew it had a dynamic story and slick visuals, and it didn't need to enhance this essentially earth-toned world with pastels. Viewers aching for color will get a good enough dose when the ants go in search of Insectopia -- at which point it assumes thematic resonance, a symbol of the quest for a better world.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/09/1999
UPC:
0667068366839
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
PG
Source:
Dreamworks Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Woody Allen Z
Sharon Stone Bala
Sylvester Stallone Weaver
Gene Hackman Mandible
Christopher Walken Cutter
Danny Glover Barbatus
Dan Aykroyd Chip
Jennifer Lopez Azteca
Jane Curtin Muffy
John Mahoney Drunk Scout
Anne Bancroft Queen
Paul Mazursky Psychologist

Technical Credits
Eric Darnell Director
Tim Johnson Director
Todd Alcott Screenwriter
John Bell Production Designer
Ken Bielenberg Special Effects Supervisor
Penney Finkelman Cox Executive Producer
Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin Art Director
Ted Elliott Consultant/advisor
Leslee Feldman Casting
Philippe Gluckman Special Effects Supervisor
Harry Gregson-Williams Score Composer
Gregg Landaker Sound/Sound Designer
Brad Lewis Producer
Steve Maslow Sound/Sound Designer
Zak Penn Consultant/advisor
John Powell Score Composer
Sandra Rabins Executive Producer
Carl Rosendahl Executive Producer
Terry Rossio Consultant/advisor
Aron Warner Producer
Stan Webb Editor
Chris Weitz Screenwriter
Paul Weitz Screenwriter
Patty Wooton Producer

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