Monday, October 8, 2007

Old Review: Antz (1998)

“I was not cut out to be a worker, I'll tell you right now. I feel physically inadequate. I, I... My whole life, I've never... I've NEVER been able to lift more than ten times my body weight.”

Due to the lack of updates, here's another review I digged up that was written in 2001. Seems like my writing hasn't improved that much at all.

When it comes to computer animated movies, Pixar is a tough cookie to compete against. Nevertheless, Antz which was created by a team from Dreamworks Studio is an absolute animated delight. What most impressed me was the way the team of animators was able to create such an infinitesimal world with striking detail. It’s truly a wonderful sight to behold. Each frame contains gorgeous animation that I would argue would be a worthy contender against Pixar’s A Bug’s Life and I personally find myself watching the former more often than the latter.

An all star cast of actors do an excellent job of providing the voices for their digital characters including Gene Hackman, Christopher Walker, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Danny Glover, Ann Hesche, Dan Akroyd and even Jennifer Lopez. However, the star voice actor is Woody Allen who voices Z, the main protagonist of the story. Allen basically plays himself here, that neurotic type of character we have come to know so well in his movies. The script is original, witty and sharp which I believe Woody Allen himself contributed to because it seems to contain his trademark writing style and nuances. It’s a perfect blend of comedy, romance, action and drama.

Can one ant out of billions really make a difference? Darnell and Johnson explore the possibilities of this question and they succeed The story in a nutshell resolves around an ant colony that is governed by a communist dictatorship where General Mandible (Hackman) makes the major decisions with or without the Queen’s (Anne Bancroft) consent. Z is a worker ant, the lowest class in the colony that is forced into back breaking labor and has to comply with the orders given to him by the higher authorities. He wants his own independence and to put it in his words, “to think for himself.” Democracy, free will and equality come into play rather nicely but not in a heavy handed way.

The strikingly beautiful animation coupled with a great script and talented voice actors, Antz proves to be more than just an animated movie. It all feels so real, full of imagination, adventure, and humor provided by one of the funniest comedians ever; Mr. Woody Allen. It’s seems to have been forgotten in comparison to the more popular Pixar films which is a damn shame. Not only is it an amazing accomplishment but one that every one of all ages can enjoy. I can only hope that it in years to come it will be remembered as a pivotal step towards animated feature films.


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