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New Year's Eve Movie: Antz

New Year's Eve at 5.25pm


Cast: Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft

Directors: Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson

The studio behind Shrek and Madagascar enjoyed its first success with this computer animated comedy about a nebbish ant and his adventures featuring the voices of Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone and Woody Allen.

Z (voiced by an unmistakeable Allen) is a neurotic worker ant who dreams of breaking free from his genetically predetermined humdrum existence. Hoping to catch the attention of flighty Princess Bala (Stone), he switches places with his friend Weaver (Stallone), a soldier ant.

But Z is not prepared when he is shipped off to an epic battle that plays out like a cut scene from Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers.

Z is even less prepared when he is somehow the sole survivor of the battle, and is hailed as a war hero. Further contrivances follow.

Although overshadowed at the time of its release by rival Pixar's similarly-themed A Bug's Life, Antz is a consistently funny, technically impressive film that is genuinely for all ages.
It established the Dreamworks animation trend for casting big name actors and inserting numerous jokes aim squarely at the adults in the audience. A trend that appears to have very much run it's course with recent stinkers such as A Shark's Tale.

While there is much for adults to enjoye, the kids will be held captive by the visual splendour and plentiful lowbrow gags. And the message (one person can make a difference), while not exactly original, is spelled out with sufficient inspiration.

A lot of the fun of the film is seeing the typical Woody Allen character in the form of a computer generated ant. Many of the lines Z spouts could just as easily have come from Alvy Singer or Harry Block.

Continuing with this trend of lending the animated characters the traits of the actors voicing them, Stallone's character is a muscle head lug and Jennifer Lopez's has a big butt. Cool.

Other notables among the talented voice cast include Gene Hackman; John Mahoney (Frasier); Danny Glover and Christopher Walken.