Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Eric Darnell
|Produced by||Brad Lewis
|Written by||Paul Weitz
|Music by||John Powell
|Cinematography||Simon J. Smith|
|Editing by||Stan Webb|
|Studio||Pacific Data Images|
|Release date(s)||October 2, 1998|
|Running time||83 minutes|
Antz is a 1998 American computer-animated film produced by DreamWorks Animation. It is the first animated film, as well as the first CGI-animated film, by DreamWorks and the second American computer-animated film after Toy Story. It features the voices of well-known actors such as Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, and Danny Glover as various members of an ant society. Some of the main characters share facial similarities with the actors who voice them. The film was originally released to theaters on October 2, 1998, and was released on home video on March 23, 1999.
It became the first computer-animated movie to show digital water. 
The setting for the story is an ant colony in Central Park in New York City, under the chronological timespan of 4 days. The protagonist (Woody Allen) is an ant named Z-4195, or "Z" for short, a neurotic and individualistic ant living in a wholly conformist society who longs for the opportunity to truly express himself. His friends include Azteca (Jennifer Lopez) and a soldier ant, Weaver (Sylvester Stallone). Z meets Princess Bala (Sharon Stone) at a bar where she goes to escape from her suffocating royal life and falls in love with her.
In order to see Bala again, Z exchanges places with Weaver and joins the army. He marches with the ranks, befriending Barbatus (Danny Glover), another soldier, in the process. He doesn't realize that he's actually marching into battle, however, and all of the soldiers except for Z are killed by acid-shooting termites. Barbatus is found only with his head and fatally injured. Barbatus also tells Z not to make his mistake - to think for himself rather than follow orders all his life.
Z returns home and is hailed as a war hero, congratulated personally by General Mandible, and is brought before the Queen. There he meets Princess Bala, who eventually recognizes him as a worker. When Z finds that he has been cornered in a lie, he panics and takes Princess Bala hostage. They escape the colony and hide, and Z decides to search for the legendary Insectopia. Bala reluctantly decides to go with him.
Word of the incident quickly spreads through the colony, whereupon Z's act of individuality sparks a revolution in the workers. As a result, productivity grinds to a halt. Infuriated, General Mandible begins to publicly portray Z as a villain who cares only about himself. Mandible then promotes the glory of conformity and promises them a better life, which he claims to be the reward of completing a "Mega Tunnel" planned by himself.
Mandible learns Z is looking for Insectopia after interrogating Weaver. Knowing full well of the place's existence, Mandible sends Colonel Cutter (Christopher Walken) to its location to retrieve the Princess and kill Z. Cutter, however, shows sympathy for the worker ants.
Z and Bala, after a misdirection and a brief separation, finally find Insectopia, which consists of a human-sized wastebin overfilled with decaying food (a treat for insects of all kinds). Here, Bala begins to return Z's feelings. However, during a break, Cutter arrives and takes Bala back to the colony. Z finds them gone and makes his way back to the colony to rescue Bala, aided by a wasp/WASP named Chip (Dan Aykroyd), whom he met earlier and has made himself drunk grieving over the loss of his swatted wife, Muffy (Jane Curtin).
Z arrives at the colony, where he finds that Bala has been held captive in General Mandible's office. After rescuing her, he learns that General Mandible's "Mega Tunnel" leads straight to a body of water (a puddle in human view but a lake to the ants), which Mandible will use to drown the workers who have gathered at the opening ceremony. Bala goes to warn the workers and her mother at the ceremony, while Z goes to the tunnel exit to stop the workers from digging any further. He fails, however, and the water leaks in. Z and Bala unify the workers into a single working unit and build a towering ladder of ants towards the surface as the water continues to rise.
Meanwhile, General Mandible and his soldiers are gathered at the surface, where he explains to them his vision of a new colony with none of the "worker filth". He is interrupted, however, when the workers successfully claw their way to the surface and break through. Mandible tries to kill Z but is stopped by Cutter, who helps Z out of the hole "for the good of the colony."
Mandible and Z fight above the hole and eventually fall into it. Mandible is killed but Z hits the water; Cutter rescues him as the other ants reach the surface. Z is lauded for his heroism and marries Bala. Together they rebuild the colony with Cutter as their General, transforming the colony from a conformist military state into a community that values each and every one of its members.
The cast features several actors from movies Allen wrote, starred in and directed, including Stone (Stardust Memories), Stallone (Bananas), Hackman (Another Woman), and Walken (Annie Hall). Aykroyd later co-starred in Allen's The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.
Critics praised Antz with positive reviews. Roger Ebert praised the film stating it's "sharp and funny". The variety of themes, interesting visuals, and voice acting were each aspects of the film that were praised. The film holds a 95% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and making Antz as the highest rated feature from DreamWorks, and first (also for now, only) film from DreamWorks which rated more than 90% from Rotten Tomatoes.
|1999 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards||Top Box Office Films||Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell||Won|
|16th Annie Awards||Individual Achievement in Directing||Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Music||Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Production Design||John Bell||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Writing||Todd Alcott, Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz||Nominated|
|52nd British Academy Film Awards||Best Special Visual Effects||Philippe Gluckman, John Bell, Kendal Cronkhite, Ken Bielenberg||Nominated|
|1999 Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing of Music in an Animated Feature||Adam Milo Smalley, Brian Richards||Won|
|Best Sound Editing of an Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Golden Satellite Awards 1998||Satellite Award for Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature||Brad Lewis, Aron Warner, Patty Wooton||Nominated|
Antz is notable for being part of the Disney-DreamWorks feud. The movie was released a little more than a month before Pixar's A Bug's Life, which is similar in many aspects. Jeffrey Katzenberg left Disney in 1994 to form DreamWorks. According to Katzenberg, the idea for Antz came from a 1991 story pitch by Tim Johnson that was related to Katzenberg in October 1994. However, Disney had been working on developing an ant movie since 1988. Pixar head John Lasseter pitched A Bug's Life the day Katzenberg left Disney in August 1994, and said he felt "betrayed" when he learned Antz was scheduled for release before A Bug's Life. According to Lasseter and Steve Jobs, Katzenberg offered to stop development of Antz if Disney moved the release date of A Bug's Life, which was coming out opposite DreamWork's The Prince of Egypt. Pixar refused.
The release date of Antz was moved up from March 1999 to October 1998 in response to Disney's refusal. Even though A Bug's Life was the first to be pitched, Antz was finished and released first. A Bug's Life, however, was more profitable.
The film explores aspects of individualism and collectivism and shows the transition of the colony from a dictatorship to a more-or-less traditional monarchy combined with a constitutional republic.
Antz is a computer-animated film produced by DreamWorks, released in 1998. It features the voices of well-known actors such as Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Anne Bancroft, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken and Danny Glover as various members of an ant society. Some of the main characters share facial similarities with the actors who voice them. The film was directed by Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson.
Wow, every worker in the colony is here. Hey, wait a minute. That guy owes me money.
I've got to believe there's someplace better for me. Otherwise I'll just curl up into a larval position and weep.
I think everything must go back to the fact that I had a very anxious childhood. You know, my - my mother never had time for me. You know, when you're - when you're the middle child in a family of five million, you don't get any attention.
Will you calm down? You're not going to let a little near-death experience ruin your mood, are you?
Let's be real about this. Bala and I... Bala is a princess, and I'm a soil relocation engineer.
There you have it: your average boy-meets-girl, boy-likes-girl, boy-changes-the-underlying-social-order story.
Handling dirt is not my idea of a rewarding career.
Okay, I've gotta give myself a positive attitude. A good attitude even though I'm utterly insignificant. I'm, I'm insignificant... but with attitude.
[mocking the scout] Nothing like a little post-traumatic stress disorder to make your day complete.
And, y'know, I finally feel like I've found my place. And you know what? It's right back where I started. But the difference is, this time I chose it.
We rebuilt the colony; better than before, because now we have a very large indoor swimming pool.
Think about it, Bala. Do you really want to be Mrs. Raving Lunatic?
(Seeing a penny) Who the hell is that? (In the Cartoon Network release he says) What's that?
Worker, climb that tree and tell me where I am.
Labor? What you YOU know about labor? How would YOU feel if you were expected to give birth every 10 seconds for the rest of your life?