It is hard to find a film that is supposedly made for children and starts to tackle subjects such as depression, feelings of inadequacy, and societal pressures. This isn’t the case with most animated films, they don’t really tackle mature subjects and their themes are mainly lighthearted. However, back in the 90s when the rules weren’t set yet, there were films that tried to do different things and were great at them.
The Prince of Egypt is one of the examples that springs to mind, it brought a popular story from the Bible and put an animated spin on it. However, a little-known film from that era called Antz did something drastically different.
How to Stream or Download Antz (1998)
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. if you like this film, check out also more recent DreamWorks Animations productions – The Bad Guys, The Boss Baby: Family Business, and Spirit Untamed. Check out also a similar animated film from Pixar A Bug’s Life, which was released just one month after Antz.
The Movie Review
The story follows Z, an ant who feels he is insignificant. Z is constantly depressed throughout the entirety of the film, he doesn’t understand the superorganism lifestyle of the Ant colony and thinks more about himself as an individual. He feels that he is inadequate as an Ant, he cannot carry enough weight and he doesn’t like shoveling dirt as a career.
He feels insignificant knowing that his life is going to be like that forever, that is until he meets Princess Bala, and his life changes forever as he finds a connection unlike any other.
I found it confusing that the directors chose to cast Woody Allen in a kids’ movie, yet when you watch the film, it starts making perfect sense. Antz Is an animated recreation of Annie Hall in a few weird ways, the main character feels useless, he feels that everyone else is better than him and he feels lonely.
The film really chooses to emphasize the main character’s loneliness, and pushes that beyond the scope of a children’s film consistently throughout its runtime. Directors Eric Darnell, and Tim Johnson chose to focus on an ant colony specifically because of how workaholic their lifestyles are.
To a modern viewer, Antz is the perfect recreation of modern society. It showcases a society addicted to working, not really knowing creativity or what their purpose is, just doing what they are told to do and doing it effectively.
This is why Z feels like such an odd one out because he doesn’t understand the restrictions that are put upon his life by the colony. When he meets Bala, he realizes that he’s not the only person who feels that way, that there are more misfits around who also despise their life simply because they can’t live it the way they wish to.
A lot of the overall nuances of this film come from its voice acting, starring some of the most prominent names in the film industry in the cast was a creative choice.
The film features Woody Allen as the depressed main character Z, whereas it also features some prominent industry actors such as Sylvester Stallone, Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Jennifer Lopez, and Sharon Stone! The cast itself is fantastic, and each one of them portrays their roles to absolute perfection.
The thing that made this film stand out the most was its art style though, being one of The Pioneers in 3D animation, Antz was it absolute spectacle. The film featured some amazing lighting techniques in the animation, whereas the smooth movement and choreography of the characters felt almost humanoid to a point. It is definitely a film that has some fantastic texture filtering and visual rendering upkeep, making it seem impressive even by today’s standards!
The music is also one of the key features of Antz, and it is definitely one of the few things that makes sure that it remains a children’s film. The soundtrack was done by none other than Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell who have cemented themselves as some of the best musicians when it comes to children’s films working on films such as Chicken Run and Shrek! Although their work in this film is particularly not the best, it still stands out as one of the more decent factors.
The Bottom Line
Antz is a film by a studio that wanted to make themselves stand out. Dreamworks was a different beast compared to Disney, they weren’t afraid of showcasing mature themes in their films and retaining animation quality that could rival the very best in the industry. Antz was not just a regular film, but it was an actual statement.
- Fantastic voice acting.
- Amazing animation that still holds up.
- Themes stand out, making it a prominent film unlike any other.
- The soundtrack is light-hearted and fun!
- Might be a bit boring for children themselves, definitely more of a nuanced experience.
- The visuals can get creepy for people who have phobias to bugs.