Sunday, June 7, 2009


Antz; CGI animated fantasy comedy, USA, 1998; D: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson, S: Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Gene Hackman, Dan Aykroyd, Danny Glover, Anne Bancroft

The humans are rulers on the surface, but the ants are rulers under the ground. Z is a neurotic ant worker who is fed up with work and tunnel digging, and when he meets princess Bala on a dance in a bar he falls in love with her. In order to see her again, Z takes the position of soldier Weaver, but then gets sent to war to fight against the termites. As the only survivor, he becomes a hero and poses the question why the ant society couldn't be more free. He escapes with Bala in order to find the mystical Insectopia. They get rid of the evil general Mandible, get married and change to ant colony to a better place.

The 2nd entirely CGI animated film in cinema, "Antz" is a neat and sympathetic film that also manages to function on many different layers, juggling even with such subtext as class difference and revolution in (ant) society. It also ironically became the most commercial film in which Woody Allen "stared" in, since he lent his voice to a character intrinsic to his persona: Z is a neurotic, multi-phobic ant who stands out, doesn't want to conform to society, questions numerous dogmas, has an open mind - and even the story is set in New York! If it weren't for the action finale, it would seem as if Allen directed the film himself. The story is both funny and touching, managing to entertain on a more demanding level that tends to include more brain activity from the viewers, with a tight rhythm and great animation that makes the actors who play the characters seem very recognizable, like the muscle-bound Weaver who really looks like an ant version of Sylvester Stallone. Some jokes do come across as infantile, yet some of the more mature lines Z speaks, like "What a bunch of losers. Mindless zombies capitulating to an oppressive system", symbolically show the clash of two regimes, the Totalitarian society and individualism sparked by humanism, revolution and mind, going so far to make some critics even compare Z's final classless ant society as Communism, but even better are the excellent "action" sequences, like the virtuoso point-of-view of an ant stuck under a sneaker that walks, stops and then walks again.


No comments: