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The trouble with making a children's film has always been to keep the kids
happy but avoid making Mum and Dad fall asleep. Disney have always stuck to
a solid "one cute song for every acidic aside" ratio which meant that the
over-15's got Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy doing a stripped down routine
whilst the 10 year olds got pretty pictures, cute animals and plenty of
slapstick. This is what has made the House of Mouse the dominant toon makers
but their mastery is under attack from Dreamworks SKG. While Walt & Co.
delivered Mulan, Mr. Spielberg gave us Prince of Egypt and though Disney
won, narrowly, the next round isn't going to be so easy.
Antz is brilliant. Don't let anybody tell you differently. We've got stunning visuals, great jokes, some brilliant scenes and some very likeable characters. What we have is a very smart film. Maybe
too smart. The jokes are funny if you're old enough to get them. The sight of a neurotic ant lying on a therapist's leaf complaining about his anxious childhood is hilarious. Especially when the
biggest neurotic in the world, Woody Allen, is delivering the lines. His timing, throughout the entire film, is exquisite and the script takes advantage of this at every opportunity i.e.:
Mandible: I like an ant that laughs in the face of death.
Z: Actually I stand behind Death and make belittling comments at its
It reads like one of Woody's early, funny films (sorry, but I couldn't resist it) and the rest of the cast are good too but that's because the script takes advantage of their history. Weaver acts
like Stallone, Cutter acts like Walken and Barbatus acts like Glover. Anybody that's seen one of their films instantly recognises the voice behind the ant because of how they speak and act. They
also bypass the sing-along route and insert a grisly battle sequence similar to Starship Troopers. The adults in the audience will love it. Children may be a little underwhelmed.
How many kids have seen an Allen, Stallone or Walken film? Not many I
expect. How many kids have seen Troopers or Metropolis, (which is a big
inspiration for the visuals)? Very few. There are a lot of jokes they just
won't get. They may enjoy the pretty pictures but there's a distinct lack of
cuddly animals, obvious slapstick or happy tunes. Boredom may set in and
there may be a few cries during the battle sequence so be ready. Another
downside is a slightly weak villain. Hackman does well with what he has but
it's not much and truly cool bad guys like James Woods' Hades run circles
Despite that Antz is a blast. As funny and enjoyable for adults as a
child-orientated flick could be. It's not the best toon but it's a definite step forward. Maybe Disney have finally met their match.
Tags for Antz Full Movie
, Dan Aykroyd
, Jane Curtin
, Woody Allen
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