(US); 1998; Rated PG; 82 Minutes
Woody Allen: Z-4195
Sharon Stone: Bala
Gene Hackman: General Mandible
Sylvester Stallone: Weaver
Christopher Walken: Colonel Cutter
Danny Glover: Barbados
Dan Akroyd: Chip
Jane Curtin: Muffy
Anne Bancroft: Queen
Jennifer Lopez: Azteca
Produced by Penney Finkelman
Cox, Brad Lewis, Sandra Rabins, Carl Rosendahl, Aron Warner
and Patty Wooton; Directed by Eric Darnell, Lawrence Guterman
and Tim Johnson; Screenwritten by Todd Alcott, Chris Weitz
and Paul Weitz
by DAVID KEYES
best way to describe the overall conception of Antz
is to compare it to a piece of bubble gum. At first appearance,
itís bright, tasty and saturated with intense flavor. However,
it eventually develops into a flavorless mass of gruel that
youíd like to spit out onto the ground so that it will stick
on someoneís shoe.
perhaps that wasnít the right example. Letís just be blunt
about it; Antz is a visual and beautiful piece of
film, dulled by all the boring aspects that the average
CGI animated story seems to develop nowadays. There havenít
been many Computer generated movies on the market, but the
ones that do exist (mainly Antz and Toy Story,)
do not break ground story-wise. Yes, the visuals are pleasing,
but such plots do not deserve to be matched up against these
impressive animation techniques. Meaning, Antz is
beautiful and visually appealing, but uninspired in the
this, I suppose, is a big surprise coming from such calibrated
talents like Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Spielberg
is one of the 7 wonders of the cinema, while Katzenberg
is considered the divine and supreme ruler of animation.
After all, he did produce the biggest Disney animated successes
during his term as Chairman there.
itís the whole idea of computer animation. It appears that
directors and animators have no real creative ideas when
it comes to making one of these things. Okay, Iím wrong
again. These are creative ideas, but they donít put passion
and artistic enthusiasm in them. In evidence of this observation,
Toy Story is the key exhibit. Making a movie about
toys who come to life seems great, even for CGI animated
tales. But did the movie really go anywhere? Did it display
anything appealing in the landscape other than the actual
toys? Did the plot take any exciting turns? Maybe to you,
but not to me.
moment Antz is on the screen, the story is predictable
and has no pizzazz, although the visuals are apparently
the best ever. Itís about an ant named Z-4195, voiced by
Woody Allen, who obviously has to be in a Steven Spielberg
film, because he has the eyes of E.T. He meets an attractive
woman in a bar one day (yes, these things apparently have
bars in their underground habitat), and they become attracted
to each other.
female ant I speak of is, of course, Bala (voiced by Sharon
Stone) who I feel is the most intelligent creature ever
to walk into one of these CGI movies. They carry a chemistry
together that feels like one youíd find in an early Spencer
Tracy flick. That, of course is the strong point to this
whole movie then generates into a typical action-adventure
with romance on the side. "Z," you see, being only a worker
ant, asks a friend of his, named Weaver (Sylvester Stallone),
to trade places with him in the army. This is so he can
impress his new love Bala, who, as we learn later on, is
a member of the colonyís royal family.
Iím afraid, is the problem. In his desperation to impress
his Ďbeloved,í they encounter several problems on the surface
world that are, yes, visually ambitious, but no more creative
ideas than the ones displayed in a typical animated film.
story is no more interesting than Toy Story. Yes,
it has some better visual style, but in truth, Toy Story
was a somewhat better movie, because the story wasnít as
predictable or as obvious and plastic as the one in Antz.
If this genre is ever to get off the floor and start producing
results worth mentioning, then it needs a script that doesnít
movie, of course, has its broad energy through the animation,
but a story like this has been seen before; mainly in the
average live-action movie. If you manage to take your eyes
of the visuals just for a second, Antz is simply
Romancing The Stone with heavy eye makeup. Or a piece
of bubble gum, as I said earlier.
I doubt youíd want to get it on your shoe.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.