Directed By: Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson
Written By: Tim Alcott and Chris Weitz
In passing I’ve noticed a pattern in movies that I have never looked into but garners some need for research. Frequently during the mid to later 90s two movies were released at the same time that were virtually the same thing. Off the top of my head I remember these examples: Volcano (1997) and Dante’s Peak (1997), The Sixth Sense (1999) and Stir of Echoes (1999), Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998), Tombstone (1993) and Wyatt Earp (1994), and of course this movie, Antz and A Bug’s Life both made in 1998. Those 10 movies are merely the ones I can remember specifically off the top of my head, I’m sure I could think of many more if I gave it more thought. I don’t think this is coincidental, but I’m sure there is a fascinating story that practically nobody will ever know about behind it all. It probably has to do with the big time movie studios and the rivalries that most of us will never know about. In this case I think Dreamworks was trying to prove a point to Disney, but I know nothing factual about it, just my own personal assumption. I don’t know why I have never researched this trend myself but it is weird. Typically I only saw one of these movies and didn’t care about the other. Just about every one of these movies had large and reputable cast. This one is no different sporting the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, Donald Glover, and Jennifer Lopez.
Far too often this movie feels like a typical Woody Allen movie but the strength of the story and cast make it worth wild. Most of the animated movies in our collection have been taken off our movie rack and moved to our daughter’s collection. This movie remains because it doesn’t seem even remotely like a kids movie to me. There isn’t anything childish or silly about it, yeah it’s about ants but they are ants with really adult problems. Z is questioning his purpose in life, the queen is nervous about her arranged wedding, the General is planning a hostile takeover, an entire ant army platoon is specifically sent to their death in battle. These don’t seem like problems young children would understand or care about, and in some cases I don’t know that they are even appropriate story lines for children. I imagine A Bug’s Life was more kid friendly. Early on, this was one of the movies that got me interested in animated films, and showed me that they were moving away from the stereotype of being only for kids. These days Amber and I find ourselves loving the movies we watch for Cadence as much as we love the ones we watch for ourselves. Up, How to Train Your Dragon, The Incredibles just to name a few are fantastic movies that I enjoy as much as I enjoy any of my favorite movies.
Antz is a cool movie and if you have a chance to see it you should check it out. It’s a funny and interesting film that is easily forgettable because it came out at the same time as A Bug’s Life. There have also been so many successful animated films released in the last 12 years that this movie is overshadowed. Never the less, take it from me, this movie is worth your time and you will probably like it.
There are two types of people in this world, optimistic and pessimistic. The main character in this film, Z is the worst case scenario pessimistic person. We all know them. This movie is really made for adults and contains many real life morals and lessons for humans, set into the life of ants. I thoroughly enjoy the real life questions this movie poses and answers. From the worker, to the fighter, to the queen and the free ant, they all relate to our own human life questions. This movie is worth watching.
NEXT MOVIE: Any Given Sunday (1999)