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Festivale online magazine, October issue
Antz movie review

Life's hard when you're the middle child in a family of millions. Poor Z (pronounced Zee not Zed), a worker ant with delusions of individuality. He lies on his ant analyst's couch wracked with ant angst. Of course his voice is that of Woody Allen, who else could so portray the agonies of the under-tall?

And so begins our tale. It's a feature-length 3D animated story of the little-ant-who-could. It's about love from afar and below and the trials and tribulations of life when you step out of your 'place' and try something a little different.

The story is filled with little puns to appeal to adults, perhaps more than children, like the ant angst and the worker ants 'being the (demolition) ball'. The Queen's (Anne Bancroft) production line mothering would probably touch a cord with many a working mother, for example.

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Movie photographs, actors whose voices appear in Antz, Festivale film reviews section; antz02.jpg - 31737 Bytes
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The cast is a who's who of contemporary Hollywood, with Sylvester Stallone as the soldier ant who is Z's best friend, Jennifer Lopez as, I guess, his second-best friend, Gene Hackman as the war-mongering soldier ant plotting the usual military coup, and Sharon Stone as the disaffected Princess who Z accidentally precipitates into the world outside their nest.

As a family movie, Antz works well, it has a message, humour for adults and children, a wonderful setting, and enough of an adventure story to keep the audience interested.

But, sigh, I am a big fan of 3D animation, I've even tried it myself, and while I can watch the award-winning short-short of Luxo Jnr for hours, I didn't like the look of Antz. It's a personal thing, I admire the work of the animators in creating realistic movement and facial expressions, but I really, really, didn't like the way the characters looked. Maybe it's the texture they used as the ant skin, maybe I've seen too much Disney, but I was disappointed that I wasn't more thrilled. We're at a strange place in the computer technology, and the animators are in that middle ground where the effects are not so new that anything is exciting, but they are not photo-realistic. (Though I saw this film at Village Crown, and it could have been a reflection of the theatre, not the artwork).

As usual, I expect to hear for you, the audience. Go see it and let me know: what did you think of the animation?

Worth a look, not an Oscar.

Click here to buy films from one of the online stores in Festivale's on-line shopping mall by Ali Kayn

See also: Bucky's review

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Just the facts:

Title: Antz (1998)
Written by: Todd Alcott, Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz
Directed by: Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson

The Players: Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez, Gene Hackman
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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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