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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Antz (Released in 1998) - An animation movie with the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Gene Hackman

This is a story about Z-1495 (voice of Woody Allen), an ant who displays neurotic traits in his behavior and lives in a colony in Central Park NYC. Z is a workaholic who is typically individualistic and has few friends, the two closest to him are Azteca (Jennifer Lopez) and Weaver (Sylvester Stallone). Z is surprised that he has survived in NYC, given his apprehensions regarding crowds, claustrophobia - he owes it all to the fact that he had a ‘very anxious childhood’, he lies on a leafy couch pouring his heart out to an ant shrink, cribbing that handling dirt is not his idea of a career. He feels insignificant - to which the shrink says he’s finally made a breakthrough for he has hit the nail on the head - he is indeed insignificant!
So Z goes back to join the five million socially adept formicidae, a larvae recruitment drive is on - each ant larva is equipped with either a shovel or soldier’s helmet. In the workshop, all that the little ants do is work, work and more work - they are almost indefatigable!
In the mega tunnel, as the rest of his clan toils tirelessly, Z is giving himself a pep talk about keeping a good attitude, ‘insignificant but with attitude.’ His friend Azteca tells him he’s finally getting it, because ants are all about team work, she tells him he thinks too much. He should be happy and just enjoy building them a better colony.

On the other hand, General Mandible (Gene Hackman) is hatching a sinister plan to use the ants to build a tunnel, after which the poor ants and their queen shall perish, and the colony will be inhabited by more powerful ants. However, before his dream is realized, he must send his troops to fight against an army of termites; Colonel Cutter (Christopher Walken) tells him that the mission is doomed from the start - ants cannot hold up against termites, it would be suicide! Mandible has just the plan to deal with this niggling problem - he decides to send the units loyal to the Queen, into the termite colony.
The Queen (Anne Bancroft) is surprised that things have reached this extent - after all, they’ve been friends with that colony for years! Mandible convinces her that the termites are greedy and want to expand their foraging territory. The Queen wants to deal with the problem through diplomatic channels, she suggests sending and ambassador to negotiate on their behalf - Mandible however tells the Queen that it is imperative they strike first to have an advantage. The Queen agrees grudgingly and the General praises her for her decision.
On his way out, Princess Bala (Sharon Stone) who is betrothed to General Mandible, requests that they spend some time getting to know each other before they marry. Mandible agrees quickly, although their conversation is cut short because time has run out and he has more important business to attend to. Bala complains to her mother the Queen, who says she knows that the General is high handed and overbearing, however, she thinks he loves her. She intones to her daughter that things aren’t all that bad - after all, she is a princess, and not a worker. Bala however, envies the workers for having a life!
Weaver and Z are at a bar, and the soldier is telling his friend how lucky he is because the worker girls are all around him, Z tells him that there focus is different - they’re persistent diggers! Z thinks his prospects with regard to meeting the love of his life are really bleak and this when he meets Princess Bala. Antz is based on the video game by the same name, directed by Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson, the film received critical acclaim, opening the door to a fresh genre of animated computer films. Worth a watch for the message as well as the evolving technology!

Antz (Released in 1998) - An animation movie with the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Gene Hackman

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