Yesterday, this column reviewed “A Bug’s Life.” This movie was the second computer-animated film about ants released in the fall of 1998. The first was “Antz.” So why was 1998 a good year for ants? A feud between DreamWorks and Pixar Studios resulted in both production companies thinking they had dibs on an animated ant film. Since neither studio backed down, the result was two films, two very good films.
“Antz,” the DreamWorks Animation offering, centers on Z (voiced by Woody Allen), a neurotic worker ant who lives in an ant large colony in Central Park. Among his friends are Weaver (voiced by Sylvester Stallone), a soldier ant, and Azteca (voiced by Jennifer Lopez), another worker. One day, Z meets Princess Bala (voiced by Sharon Stone) and becomes smitten with her. Bala is the daughter of the colony’s queen (voiced by Ann Bancroft). In order to see her again, Z switches places with Weaver and ends up fighting in combat against termites. This attack was ordered by the dangerous General Mandible (voiced by Gene Hackman). Z becomes the only survivor. The colony considers him a hero. Shortly after this, Z and Bala leave the colony to find Insectopia, which is supposedly a paradise for bugs.
Woody Allen is excellent as Z. This character is similar to ones he has played in various live action films. He is quite cynical. Sharon Stone is equally good as Bala, who is often annoyed by him. Another great performance is by Gene Hackman. He makes a memorable villain.
The animation is impressive. It is very well done in the action scenes. One scene shows Z and Bala stuck on the shoes of a human. This scene has a lot of suspense.
“Antz” is a must-see for fans of “A Bug’s Life,” it is fortuitous that the two companies proceeded with their projects.