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Antz is a   CGI film produced by DreamWorksmarker. It is the first animated film, as well as the first CGI-animated film, by DreamWorks Animation and the second American computer-animated film after Toy Story. It features the voices of well-known actors such as Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, and Danny Glover as various members of an ant society. Some of the main characters share facial similarities with the actors who voice them. The film was originally released to theaters on October 2, 1998, and was released on home video on March 23, 1999.
It became the first computer-animated movie to show digital water.

Plot

The setting for the story is an ant colony in Central Parkmarker in New York Citymarker, under the chronological timespan of 4 days. The protagonist (Woody Allen) is an ant named Z-4195, or "Z" for short. Z is a neurotic and individualistic soul living in a wholly conformist society and therefore longs for the opportunity to truly express himself, a dream his friend Azteca (Jennifer Lopez) dismisses as a silly fantasy. When his depression leads him to a bar, he meets a drunk who tells of a paradise called "Insectopia", piquing Z's interest. The very same night, Princess Bala (Sharon Stone) goes to the bar with two of her attendants to escape from the suffocating life of royalty, throwing her crown aside to disguise herself as a worker. Earlier, however, she meets with General Mandible, to whom she is engaged to marry and take her rightful place as Queen. She spots Z at the bar and asks him to dance, during which he falls madly in love with her. When a fight breaks out, Z learns Bala's true identity.

Later that night, Z concocts a plan to see the Princess again, suggesting that he and his best friend Weaver (Sylvester Stallone), a soldier ant, exchange places for one day. Weaver reluctantly agrees, unaware of what Z would be forced to confront. Thinking he is simply to undergo a routine inspection, Z marches with the ranks and is befriended by Barbatus (Danny Glover), another soldier. However, Z learns to his horror that General Mandible (Gene Hackman) is sending the troops to war against a colony of acid-shooting termites that he explains are planning to destroy the ants and use their territory for foraging.

The soldiers, along with Z, then march into battle and arrive at the termite colony, intending to defeat the much larger termite soldiers by being the survivors of a battle to the death wherein the victors are simply the last soldiers alive. They are lured into a trap by the termites, who attack savagely and without restriction. While escaping from a termite, Z falls into a hole and remains there with no knowledge of what is happening outside. Eventually, Z emerges from the hole to find that he is the sole survivor. He finds a fatally wounded beheaded Barbatus, who with his last breath tells him not to make his mistake - to think for himself rather than obey orders all his life.

Z returns home and is hailed as a war hero, congratulated personally by General Mandible, and is brought before the Queen. There he meets Princess Bala, who eventually recognizes him as a worker. When Z finds that he has been cornered in a lie, he takes Princess Bala hostage and falls into a garbage chute. The soldiers come to rescue Bala and kill Z. Just then a magnifying glass arrives and kills some soldiers. Z and Bala run, escaping and hiding. When he realizes that he has escaped the colony, Z decides to search for Insectopia. Bala reluctantly decides to go with him.

Word of the incident quickly spreads through the colony, whereupon Z's act of individuality sparks a revolution in the workers. As a result, productivity grinds to a halt. Infuriated, General Mandible begins to publicly portray Z as a villain who cares only about himself. Mandible then promotes the glory of conformity and promises them a better life, which he claims to be the reward of completing a "Mega Tunnel" planned by himself. As the colony resumes digging this tunnel, Mandible notices Weaver in the crowd of workers and orders Colonel Cutter (Christopher Walken) to bring him for interrogation.

Weaver is beaten mercilessly while being questioned of Z's whereabouts. When he refuses to confess, Mandible orders that Azteca be captured, so that Weaver, who has developed romantic feelings for her, will confess to prevent her death. When Mandible begins to torture Azteca, Weaver reveals that Z may be searching for Insectopia. Knowing full well of the place's existence, Mandible sends Cutter to its location to retrieve the Princess and kill Z.

Z and Bala, after a misdirection and a brief separation, finally find Insectopia, which consists of a human-sized wastebin overfilled with decaying food (a treat for insects of all kinds). Here, Bala begins to return Z's feelings. Having spent some time enjoying themselves in its luxury they settle down around a campfire with a group of other insects. When Z momentarily leaves to find wood for the dying fire, Cutter arrives and politely asks Bala to come with him; to protect Z, Bala tells Cutter that he had died. Z finds them gone and makes his way back to the colony to rescue Bala, aided by a wasp/WASP named Chip (Dan Aykroyd), whom he met earlier and has made himself drunk grieving over the loss of his swatted wife (Jane Curtin).

Z arrives at the colony, where he finds that Bala has been held captive in General Mandible's office. After rescuing her, he learns that General Mandible's "Mega Tunnel" leads straight to a body of water (a puddle in human view but a lake to the ants), which Mandible will use to drown the workers who have gathered at the opening ceremony. Bala goes to warn the workers and her mother at the ceremony, while Z goes to the tunnel exit to stop the workers from digging any further. He fails to convince the foreman ordering them to dig, however, until a final strike by the foreman opens a leak, which breaks the exit open and allows the water to enter. Z and Bala unify the workers into a single working unit and build a towering ladder of ants towards the surface as the water continues to rise.

Meanwhile, General Mandible and his soldiers are gathered at the surface, where he explains to them his vision of a new colony with none of the "worker filth". He is interrupted, however, when the workers successfully claw their way to the surface and break through. Mandible is furious and grabs a spear to kill Z while he is defenseless. Cutter, however, has grown tired of Mandible's cruelty and strikes him down. Cutter then helps Z out of the hole, signifying that his action is "for the good of the colony."

Now insane with rage, Mandible yells "I AM THE COLONY!" and charges toward Cutter, but Z pushes Cutter out of the way, causing Mandible to ram into Z instead. The impact causes both of them to fall into the flooding chamber below. Mandible falls onto a tree root that is sticking out and is killed instantly while Z falls into the water. Cutter orders the other soldiers to help the workers, the Queen, and the Princess up to the surface before diving into the water to rescue Z. At the surface, Bala resuscitates Z and the ants celebrate their victory. Z is lauded for his heroism and marries Bala. Together they rebuild the colony with Cutter as their General, transforming the colony from a conformist military state into a community that values each and every one of its members.

Cast

Main

  • Woody Allen as Z, a meek but individualistic worker ant and the protagonist of the film. He switches places with Weaver and falls in love with Princess Bala.
  • Sharon Stone as Princess Bala, the daughter of the Queen Ant. She is initially engaged to General Mandible, but falls in love with Z.
  • Gene Hackman as General Mandible, the villain of the film. Mandible envisions a colony as being inhabited by the "strong elements", and seeks to fulfill the vision by sending the soldiers on a suicide mission and having the workers dig a tunnel to their own doom.
  • Sylvester Stallone as Weaver, a soldier ant and Z's best friend.
  • Jennifer Lopez as Azteca, a worker ant who eventually becomes Weaver's girlfriend.
  • Christopher Walken as Colonel Cutter, Mandible's deputy. He obeys Mandible's every command, but ultimately turns against him when Mandible tries to kill the worker ants.


Supporting cast

  • Anne Bancroft as The Queen Ant, Princess Bala's mother
  • Dan Aykroyd as Chip The Wasp: Chip and his wife, Muffy, befriend Z and Bala when they wind up in Insectopia. His wife is later killed by a fly swat.
  • John Mahoney as Head of the Workers
  • Grant Shaud as The Foreman
  • Danny Glover as Barbatus, a soldier ant who befriends Z when Z "joins" the army. He is later killed in the termite war.


The cast features several actors from movies Allen wrote, starred in and directed, including Stone (Stardust Memories), Stallone (Bananas), Hackman (Another Woman), and Walken (Annie Hall). Aykroyd later co-starred in Allen's The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.

Cameos

Credited


Uncredited


Reception

Critics praised Antz with positive reviews. The variety of themes, interesting visuals, and voice acting were each aspects of the film that were praised. The film holds a 95% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Awards and nominations

Award Category Name Outcome
1999 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Box Office Films Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell Won
16th Annie Awards Individual Achievement in Directing Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson Nominated
Individual Achievement in Music Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell Nominated
Individual Achievement in Production Design John Bell Nominated
Individual Achievement in Writing Todd Alcott, Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz Nominated
52nd British Academy Film Awards Best Special Visual Effects Philippe Gluckman, John Bell, Kendal Cronkhite, Ken Bielenberg Nominated
1999 Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing of Music in an Animated Feature Adam Milo Smalley, Brian Richards won
Best Sound Editing of an Animated Feature Nominated
Golden Satellite Awards 1998 Satellite Award for Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature Brad Lewis, Aron Warner, Patty Wooton Nominated


Themes

The film explores aspects of individualism and collectivism and shows the transition of the colony from a dictatorship to a democracy.

References

  1. Guinness World Records 2010


External links




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