Movie Review

Antz

MPAA Rating: PG for mild language and menacing action

Reviewed by: Dale McCorkle
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Computer Animation
Length:
83 min.
PG

Starring: Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Danny Glover, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Anne Bancroft, Jennifer Lopez, John Mahoney, Grant Shaud, Paul Mazursky / Director: Eric Darnell, Lawrence Guterman

Finally—an animated movie that is truly made for adults. Not for little tots, but rather teens and adults, “Antz” is both amuzing and amazing.

“Z” (voice of Woody Allen) is an ant who is unhappy with his life of conformity and struggling for the common good. Z wants to break out—be different—make some choices for himself, but he sees no real way of doing this. Meanwhile, Princess Bala (voice of Sharon Stone) is also dissatisfied with her lot in life and wants to experience life outside her usual confines. Bala decides to sneak into a dance for the workers and ends up dancing with Z who has no clue of her position in royalty until they part. Z is quite stricken with Bala but has no chance of ever seeing her again until his buddy, Weaver (voice of Sylvester Stallone in what I thought was his best role to date) agrees to switch places with Z on a day that he is to stand before the Queen. The switch turns bad, however, as Z ends up in battle. Eventually and through no fault of his own, Z ends up a hero to most of the other ants.

The computer animation was wonderful, though not worth the hype. The humor is excellent; on an adult level, but not unsuitable for children. There was quite a bit of humor that kids just will not understand. I viewed “Antz” with a group of middle school kids. The guys hated it (boring, slow and too much romance) but the girls liked it. I sat near several smaller children and heard very little laughter from them.

On a Christian level, this is at the top of Hollywood produced movies. The language was in line with a John Wayne western. There were just a few inappropriate words and it does contain 2 or 3 instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Other than a fleeting sexual reference, there were no sexual scenes. Just good, clean, intelligent humor.

If you do intend to take small children, there is a battle scene that is quite intense and involves many dismembered ants. Go see it, but leave the little ones with a friend.

Year of Release—1998

Viewer Comments
I was really pleased with Antz. The animation, while not perfect, was pretty good, the screenplay was clever and funny and I am really glad that someone is finally coming out with high-quality adult animation (i am not referring here to the mixture of graphic violence and nudity that many call “adult animation”). However, I find it very disturbing that Christians are blindly going to movies, and taking their kids to them without doing much research about the movie and its content. People complain about how the ratings system is slipping and how “I would never have expected THAT to be in a PG-rated movie, etc.” You should learn from this that you can’t trust the ratings system. If you see that the film is rated PG for “mild profanity” and you don’t want your 6 year old exposed to the word “damn” or some other such word, don’t take your 6 year old. Hopefully, on a Web site such as this, there should be some warning of this (with regard to Antz, the reviewer said “leave the little ones with a friend” and mentioned that there was bad language). Therefore, I don’t think anyone has any excuse for not knowing about objectionable content, and accidentally being exposed to or exposing children to unwanted language.
—Jason Murphy, age 19
This movie was great! I absolutely loved it! I’m sure many people are not as enthusiastic as I am, but I love computer animated movies!… This one may be a little boring for younger kids, but I really enjoyed it. There were only a few cases of profanity (the “D” word. Other than that, the movie was almost totaly clean. This is definitely a go see movie!
—anonymous, age 13
My husband and I took our 8-year old daughter to see “Antz.” She seemed to really enjoy it and began playing out the part of “Z” as soon as we got home. However, I must say that I was quite irritated with the numerous instances of crude language in a movie that will obviously be seen by large numbers of children. Among them were: damn, tight-ass, and crap, as well as Z’s referring to erotic dreams when talking to Princess Bala. They all seemed to go over my daughter’s head, but her father and I let her know that we were not happy with the language of the film. I would not recommend it for any very young children.
—Dana Chrysler, age 42
OK, so I am a bit of a cynic today. I took my wife to go see the movie expecting to spend a few non-stressed, funny, and clean hours away from the office. While the movie animation is very well done, I did find the use of “mild profanity (an oxymoron)” annoying. The main character is presented as a shallow, self-centered, antZi authority, and egotistical. While this movie is not true to life, it does depict some rather base aspects of our society: heroes are both all muscle and no brains, or intellectuals with no character—the best place to meet a member of the opposite sex is at your local bar—those in authority are crooks, or have no clue as to what is going on around them—and if you want to have a better life leave home, after all paradise can be found in a garbage dump. However, I do have to give Hollywood some credit. Our hero did save the day, he did put his life at risk for others, and I guess true love (if it could be called that) did win in the end (or at lest the last 15 minutes). Maybe it is just I keep looking for a movie that lifts the virtues of Christ up, or says there is more to life than finding pleasure in somebodies trash, but I can’t seem to find one.
—Floyd Kramer jr., age 41
language
I TOOK MY 11 year old to see this movie and left after 15 minutes. the bad language was unnecessary and christians need to be careful of this seemingly innocent movie.
—L. Morrell
kudos Dreamworks
I am currently a graphics design major at the Christian university that I attend. I was encouraged by my fellow art majors and faculty to see this movie. That, for which, I was glad for. Not that I’m an Anti-Disney activist, but it sure was nice to view a well-done animated movie without a predictible package of set characters, and a silly song every twenty minutes. I think Dreamworks is on its way to becoming BIG. Their not afraid of going down a different path. Although Antz wasn’t a tear-jerker of a comedy, I definitely had a smirk on my face the entire time. The subtlty of the plot’s commentary on socialism was fantastic. Along with being a Dreamworks fan, I am a Christian too. With that, I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing their “traditional-animated” motion picture “The Prince of Egypt,” which is based entirely on the Book of Exodus. I’m so glad there is a movie company out there that is doing things that Disney would never do in a million years. Rock-on Dreamworks!
—Brandon Hill, age 19
I went to Antz on opening night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had really liked Toy Story and heard that the computer animation was much better and I agree completely. It was also thought provoking—working together as a group vs. by and for ourselves. They never really gave a good solid answer either way, but it is some food for thought. It was also quite funny, but in a good, intelligent, clean way. There were a couple instances of language that stuck out like sore thumbs (I guess because it’s animated), but is a LOT cleaner than most PG rated movies these days. All in all, great movie, highly recommended for all ages.
—Adam Brooks, age 17
Antz was not as good as I thought it would be, however, it was funny. There was one to many curse words, and one corny line. But other than that, it wasn’t bad. Antz was unique, and Woody Allen added humor to it. I’ve always been a Stallone fan, and he contributed a very tough voice to the soldier ant, Weaver, Z’s (Allen) best friend. I liked Antz and I recommend it. Some people may not understant some of the jokes, though.
—Andrew Gibson, age 11
This is the most innovative animated movie since Toy Story. I was able to enjoy it along with my 8 and 17 year old kids… not a lot of movies meet that criteria. I agree that even ant battles are too violent for the very young, and while the humor would go over their heads it was quite entertaining for us grown-ups.
—Cheryl, age 39
language and violence / not for small kids
I am a father of three who was excited about taking my kids (ages 8, 5, 2) to the movie. They had seen it advertised on TV and were excited about going to see the movie. Needless to say that was short lived. It just amazes me that the film industry just continues to put unnecessary language, etc into a movie that is targeted at kids. The movie uses words like “bitching”, “damn” for which are totally inappropriate for kids. Please DO NOT take your kids if they are around these ages. There is also a gruesome battle scene (by kid standards) that scared my son (age 5).
—Gerrid Kendrix
sexual references and language, but creative
This movie was very creative, and very interesting visually. There were a lot of kids in the theaters, and I don’t think I heard any of them laugh, but there were three or four middle-aged women who didn’t stop laughing the whole movie. I found the humor a tad too intelligent, the main character was a whiny little guy, and the cultural references “You de ant” made me sigh more than laugh (But hey, I’m a guy; who needs intelligent humor?). I like to go to a cartoon movie to see some clean, fun adventure, and the sexual references and smattering of language were disturbing. I would wait for the dollar movie or video release if I were you.
—Brendan Johnson, age 22
enjoyable and neutral to Christianity
We took a group of teenagers and they weren’t their usual animated self afterwards, talking about all the wild and unusual scenes, mimicking things as they do when they see a movie they enjoyed. I enjoyed the movie overall and the good guy-bad guy schtick was nicely done. I thought for a moment that I was looking at a film speaking against the evils of socialism but that would be reading too much into perhaps, instead of just enjoying it for its story, which was different and interesting. I, for one, did not think that it spoke one way or another for or against Christianity in general, although it portrayed a worldly mentality throughout (love, materialism, war, peace, etc.). I guess you might just say that message-wise, I am kind of neutral about it but that I enjoyed watching it and can see myself seeing again in the future (a few months).
—Gene, age 37