October 3, 1998 -- "Antz" is a very clever new computer-animated movie of the type pioneered by "Toy Story." It's got music, dancing, action and a love story. Most live action movies aren't this entertaining.
The star of the movie is an ant named "Z" who happens to look and act like Woody Allen. Of course he talks like Woody Allen because Allen provides his voice, and reportedly wrote some of his own dialogue, but it is more than that. Z really is Woody Allen for all practical purposes.
In keeping with the tradition of major animated movies in recent years, the voice-overs are done by an all-star cast including Danny Glover, (Barbatus), Sylvester Stallone (Weaver), Dan Aykroyd (Chip), Gene Hackman provides the voice for the evil General Mandible, Sharon Stone is Princess Bala, and Anne Bancroft provides the voice for the queen.
The story has to do with one ant, Z, trying to break away from the identity of the group to become an individual. Most of the ants, it turns out have number designations, sort of like our own number-dominated society. In this journey of self-definition, Z becomes a very reluctant hero.
While it isn't really a musical, there is a lot of good music in the movie, along with some dancing. There are some very funny bits in the film, including spoofs of "Star Wars" and "Pulp Fiction," and a very funny gag involving "The Ants Go Marching," song. There are also some very funny gags involving some themes common in Woody Allen movies such as the tension between individual liberty and socialist ideals.
I liked the way the movie developed different characters from these animated ants. I've seen a lot of live action movies where real actors were not able to develop such well-defined characters. This is a good, entertaining movie with a strong story line, interesting characters and some clever dialogue. It rates a B+.
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