#29 – ANTZ
Director: Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson
“Call me crazy, but I have a thing about drinking from the anus of another creature.”
In a very sophisticated way, DreamWorks managed to make an amazingly funny and political give-peace-a-chance movie with Romeo and Juliet aspects kind of movie… about animated Ants… For kids… But, no way this film is for kids - Yet I am very sure kids can see it, and love it (in the same way kids can see and love Animal Farm), AND I am pretty sure the film makers intended to make a kids flick, I am also pretty sure they knew the kids parents were going to see it as well. First of all I would like to point out, if I may, the absolutely breathtaking cast of voice actors they have gotten hold of for ANTZ. Woody Allen stars as the leading ant, and pretty much plays himself – that’s a questioning, lovesick New Yorker with self-esteem problems. Apart from Allen, there are such names as Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover, Jane Curtin, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Christopher Walken and Jenny from the block! – I can’t think of a better assembly of voice actors in any other movie. The lead role of Woody Allen’s character fits superbly into an anthill, as the colony pretty much is supposed to be some communist version of the community. I don’t think the ants are aware they are being oppressed and exploited by the generals of the colony, before Woody Allens character, starts to ponder about the class separation going on between the elite and the people (read “ants”). Allens role of the ant named “Z” is an abnormal kind of hero in an animated “kids” film, he is in many ways a coward turned hero kind, but his heroism is pretty much derived by luck, more than know-how (maybe apart from the very end, when his heart shows him the way – Yet it still isn’t primarily Z that saves the day alone). Another thing that makes this “kids” movie special is, that there is pretty much swearing going on, and there are very visual shoots of characters dying in war (against those damn termites!) – There is even a dying-in-my-arms sequence. This was a bold move from DreamWorks, and I enjoy anything getting by the censors, that isn’t broad public pleasing. Needles to say, this was a big issue in the states, in the year it was released. The kids won’t understand the political aspects and class-war referenced, nor will they understand the sexual suggestion in the dialog. ANTZ was also a breakthrough in the animated movie department, and DreamWorks Animation showed its face with this movie as their first full length, as a challenger to the mighty Pixar, by being the first computer animated movie, depicting water. If you liked ANTZ as a kid, you will love it now, if you didn’t like it as a kid, I think you should give is a second chance, and enjoy all the points you missed in your childhood.