Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dreamworks Animation Project: Antz- Not A Bug's Life

 Here we are with our first installment of: Dreamworks Animation Project!

 This week we're doing 1998's Antz. 

No wait. That's not right. Oh, okay. Here it is...

Alright, all joking aside, I want to make it very clear that I am reviewing Antz, not A Bug's Life. People sometimes get them confused. And understandably so; they were released the same year and they both star ants. There are many stories explaining why this is. Whether Katzenburg stole it from Pixar or not, they are very very different movies. I'll just say, there is a reason everyone loves A Bug's Life and no one has never seen nor heard of Antz.

Z, your ordinary one out of a million ant, is unhappy with his life as a worker. He dreams of something "more" than life in the colony. He wants to change his destiny. Why can't he do this? Because, where he lives, everyone is either a worker or a soldier. You can't change you position. On the other side of the spectrum, there is Princess Bala, who is not content with her life as future queen.
I don't think I would be either
This includes marrying General Mandible. One night, at a bar, Z has a drink and wishes there was something else in this big world other than this ant hill, when a man sitting next to him suggest that there is a such a place. This place is called "Insectopia" where an ant can live the way he pleases. Just after, Bala--who is forbidden to go to such common places as bars--comes in and ask Z to dance.
After dancing, Bala gets exposed for who she really is, and has to leave. Z vows that he will one day meet Bala again. He sees his chance when the soldiers are supposed to be commended by the royals. Z switches places with his best friend Weaver, who is a soldier. He sees the princess, but she doesn't see him. Unknown to Z, the soldiers are going into battle against the termites. The ant soldiers are demolished. Everyone dies, except for Z who was trapped under a termite. He is brought back as a hero. General Mandible, who seems to have evil plans that we don't know about yet,
Yes...I'm very evil. Can't you tell? I've go the long chin, sour expression, and everything
brings Z to the royals who want to congratulate him on not being dead. There, Bala remembers him, and says that he was just a worker ant. Z improvises by pretending to kidnap Bala. They fall down the garbage shoot, out unto the real world. The soldiers swiftly come after them, until a mysterious magnifying glass appears.
The sun shines through it and burns up the soldiers, letting Z and Bala get away. Z sees something that the ant in the bar said would lead him to Insectopia. Z and reluctant Bala travels the long way to Insectopia.
They soon make it there, and find it is as glorious as they thought. Of course, through this journey, they fall in love. Until, one of General Mandible's henchmen bring back Bala. Z follows after them. We then learn that Mandible wants to kill every last ant in the colony and start anew; to make a better colony. Z foils his plans and he and Bala live happily ever after.    

From what I just told you, this seems like a very overused storyline. Does Antz shine a whole new light on this story? Or does it not? Let's see...

 "Featuring a stellar voice cast, technically dazzling animation, and loads of good humor, Antz should delight both children and adults." -Rotten Tomatoes

This is what one of the most popular review sites in all of the internet has to say about Antz.

I'd say I agree with about half of it. This movie does have an amazing voice cast. There's people like Woody Allen, Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, and Christopher Walken.
I'd also agree some families would indeed like this movie. 
I can also say that some of the animation was really good. Just not all of it.
I also like some of the characters. 
And there really isn't much more that is terrific about this film.

Let's start with animation. From the looks of the pictures above, you can guess what I'm going to say. Most of the backgrounds are very well done, even in today's standers. But the animation in the characters are just...bad. The way they're colored and shaped is very distracting.
The story is very predictable and not at all charming. It's entertaining, while some parts can drag on a bit, such as the first half hour. The good thing was that it wasn't a long movie.
And lastly, it wasn't funny at all. It seemed like it was trying to be funny, but landed flat. A lot of the humor was for adults. It's my belief that this was the way all of Dreamworks movies were to be. Thank goodness, this trend didn't last long.
They threw too many pop culture reference in there (as many Dreamworks films do), but this one felt too forced.

I am a Dreamworks fan. And let me tell you, most of these reviews will be very positive because I love these movies. Just not this one. If you're looking for a 90s' animated film about ants, go get A Bug's Life.

Story-  5/10

Some of the story was fun, but most of it was too predictable to enjoy.

Main Characters- 6/10

I did like Z and Bala, as well as some of the other main character they had here. They basically kept me from really disliking this movie.

Side Characters- 3/10 

Most of the side characters really didn't do much to make the story better.

Villain- 2/10 

Mandible did nothing for me. He had no back story or reason why he wanted to destroy the colony.

Effects and Animation- 5/10

Most of the animation wasn't as good as it would have been back then; it just doesn't hold up.
I do have to say, the very last scene right before the credits, is near perfect. The way they zoom out over the ant hill, park, and then on to the city, was amazing.

Entertainment Factor- 4/10

Some parts I enjoyed, but most was just dead for me. 

Total Score- 42%

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