Is it even possible to talk about DreamWorks’ first animated film without also talking about A Bug’s Life which was released that same year?
Some part of me wants to say Antz is overrated, considering it got a fresh 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience reviews were not nearly as favorable, though, giving Antz a rotten 51%. My personal grade is somewhere between fresh and rotten.
On one hand, it uses the concept of ants well, constructing an ant-like society in order to provide social commentary on human society. Woody Allen voices the main lead, Z, a somewhat charismatic and yet occasionally annoying ant who doesn’t quite fit in with his colony. The modest success of Antz probably set the template for DreamWorks’ future line-up of outcast protagonists.
With this said, the movie does manage to ostracize the adult audience, providing social commentary that promises complexion and ends in a relatively straight forward battle between good versus evil. Where the movie really loses me is in its brown, dull color scheme and the ant colony’s sudden admiration for Z after kidnapping their princess.
Still, these are relatively minor offenses, especially for a children’s film. It’s just not quite the adult film critics claimed it to be. Oh, and A Bug’s Life is better.
Verdict: Properly Rated
Favorite moment: Z tries to rescue princess Bala from the wrath of bubble gum.
Antz is okay, I guess. I don’t have any strong feelings about it.
I liked it when I was a kid. Then I saw A Bug’s Life, which I liked more. Both are good movies — inevitably compared and contrasted with each other — and Antz is the one I like slightly less. That’s about it.
Allen is funny but not particularly exceptional as a voice actor. At least he brought on a lot of his high-profile friends (which is the most interesting piece of the movie in rewatches). The story, I remember, is decent, though I couldn’t be provoked to care too much about the fate of the colony.
Ultimately the reason that the movie is fine, never great, is that it never dares to go anywhere too interesting. It fancies itself a more grown up movie than A Bug’s Life, but fails to really do anything to make it feel like it was designed for people with high school diplomas. Where’s the sass? Where’s the “therapeutic” feeling that often accompanies Allen? Where’s the sexual tension? Answer: It’s nowhere.
Instead, we’ve got a story that’s both by-the-numbers and oddly fractured between the stilted colony drama and the laid-back Bala and Z. It’s decent but entirely unremarkable.
In retrospect, the sole significance of this movie will be as the film that launched DreamWorks’ CGI empire. It’d be a definite “properly rated” if its Rotten Tomatoes score wasn’t so bizarrely high. (95%?)
Favorite moment: I do quite like the stuff outside of the ant colony. There should’ve been more of that, less of the colony drama.
Final Grade: C- (70%)—Overshadowed by the brighter and more kid-friendly A Bug’s Life.
For the full article: http://earnthis.net/animation-evaluation-dreamworks-1998-2006/