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Plot, Details & Awards

Antz

Rated PG for mild language and menacing action.

PG In Theaters 10/2/1998 , 83min.
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Plot & Details

DreamWorks and Pacific Data Images collaborated on this all computer-animated comedy-adventure about the ant angst of misfit worker ant, Z (voice of Woody Allen), who feels trapped by the conformist confines of his totalitarian ant civilization and eventually sets forth in search of Insectopia. After DreamWorks began animating Prince of Egypt June 1, 1995, the company launched Antz in Palo Alto a year later (5/20/96), the same month the DreamWorks/PDI partnership was announced. The screenplay by Chris and Paul Weitz and Todd Alcott has uncredited input by Woody Allen (who matched dialogue to fit his usual style of verbal delivery). The story suggests the possible influence of Yevgeny Zamatin's classic novel We (1923) and Ayn Rand's similar-themed Anthem (1936), filmed in the early '70s in a rarely seen unauthorized film adaptation (which Rand never allowed to be shown commercially). Following the 1995 Toy Story (1995), Antz is the second fully computer-animated feature, preceding the release of Disney's all-CGI A Bug's Life by seven weeks. Antz begins with worker ant Z discussing his feelings of insignificance with a shrink (voice of Paul Mazursky) before heading off to his tunnel-digging job, work supervised by General Mandible (Gene Hackman) and Colonel Cutter (Christopher Walken). Mandible has big dreams of conquest, and he convinces the Queen (Anne Bancroft) an attack is necessary to prevent a termite invasion. Her daughter is Princess Bala (Sharon Stone), who's not overly enchanted by her engagement to Mandible. The Princess goes slumming, visiting the bar where Z hangs out with his friend Weaver (Sylvester Stallone). To the tune of "Guantanamera," Bala dances with Z -- in a scene with allusions to the dance in Pulp Fiction (1994). Entranced by the encounter, Z convinces Weaver to swap places, so a military parade will allow him to see Bala in the reviewing stand. Befriended by soldier ant Barbatus (Danny Glover) during the parade, Z nervously realizes he's actually marching into battle. Attacked by termites, the troops experience horrors highly reminiscent of the Starship Troopers (1997) bug battles. The dying Barbatus tells Z, "Don't follow orders all your life." As the only survivor of the slaughter, Z returns home a war hero. Threatened by Mandible, Bala and Z are thrown together in a journey into the outside world, and they travel toward the legendary Insectopia. Major city newspaper critics were almost unanimous in their praise of Antz. Shown at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival.

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