Memphis Flyer

DIRECTED BY: Eric Darnell

REVIEWED: 10-12-98

Antz, from DreamWorks pictures (a.k.a. Spielberg, Katzenburg, and Geffen, Inc.) is a benignly entertaining, computer-animated cartoon. Its paean to individualism over conformity may be just a bit too juvenile for adults and a bit too droll for children; a project like Antz at least makes a good-faith effort to target some middle ground.

Younger viewers – ages 6 through 10 might be the most likely audiences – will enjoy the story of Z, a hapless worker ant (voiced by Woody Allen) who achieves heroic insect proportions through his determination to be true to himself rather than a conforming, complacent participant in herd (or, rather, in this case, colony) mentality. His picaresque adventures include a traditional array of folkloric elements – going to war (against an army of termites); proving his friendship for a good-hearted, slow-witted co-worker (the voice of Sylvester Stallone, which seems surprisingly gentle in this disembodied state); running away with a princess (a vocally typecast Sharon Stone, curt and smart-alecky); and embarking on a quest for a legendary paradise (which, in this world would, of course, be Insectopia). The other all-star voices in Antz are Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, Danny Glover, and Dan Aykroyd.

More mature members of the audience can amuse themselves with some of the more sophisticated animation sequences and with watching how the film’s creators have cannily utilized these well-known actors’ voices to inform the ants’ characterizations and to produce some sly double-entendres of both voice and persona.

--Hadley Hury

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