Antz is a 1998 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and released to theaters on October 2, 1998.
In an ant colony, Z-4195, or "Z" for short, is a neurotic and pessimistic worker ant who longs to express himself. Bala, the princess of the colony, visits a bar to escape her suffocating royal life, and Z falls in love with her there.
The ant colony declares war on an encroaching termite colony and a large force of soldier ants is mobilized for an attack. To see Bala again, Z exchanges places with his soldier friend Weaver and joins the army, where he befriends Barbatus, a staff sergeant. Z is unaware that the army's leader and Bala's fiancé General Mandible is secretly sending the soldiers loyal to the Queen Ant to die so he can stage a coup. At the base of a tree near nightfall, Z realizes he is marching into battle. Everyone except Z is killed by acid-shooting termite defenders. Before dying, Barbatus tells Z to think for himself instead of following orders.
Z returns home and is hailed as a war hero. Secretly irate, Mandible congratulates him and introduces him to the Queen. There he meets Bala, who eventually recognizes him as a worker. Z panics and pretends to take Bala hostage, causing him and Bala to fall out of the anthill via a garbage chute. Z decides to search for Insectopia, a legendary insect paradise. Bala attempts to return to the colony but quickly rejoins Z after encountering a praying mantis.
News of the incident spreads through the colony, and Z's act of individuality inspires the workers and some soldier ants, halting productivity. To gain control, Mandible publicly portrays Z as a self-centered war criminal. Mandible promotes the glory of conformity and promises them a better life through the reward of completing a "Mega Tunnel" planned by himself. However, Colonel Cutter, Mandible's second-in-command, becomes concerned about Mandible's plans.
After various misadventures, Z and Bala find Insectopia, a human waste-bin overfilled with decaying food. Bala begins to reciprocate Z's feelings. After interrogating Weaver, Mandible learns that Z is looking for Insectopia and sends Cutter to retrieve Bala and kill Z. That night, Cutter arrives in Insectopia and forcibly flies Bala back to the colony. Z finds them gone and returns to the colony.
When Z arrives, he finds Bala held captive in Mandible's office. After freeing her, she tells him that Mandible's "Mega Tunnel" leads straight to the lake (a puddle next to Insectopia) which Mandible will use to drown the Queen Ant and workers at the opening ceremony. Bala warns the ants at the ceremony, while Z goes to the tunnel exit to stop the workers but fails, and the water leaks in. Z and Bala unify the workers into building a towering ladder of themselves towards the surface as the water rises.
Meanwhile, Mandible and his soldiers gather at the surface, where he explains his vision of a new colony with none of the "weak elements of the colony". When the workers break through, Mandible tries to kill Z, but Cutter rebels against Mandible and instead helps Z and the worker ants. Enraged, Mandible rushes to kill Cutter, but Z pushes Cutter out of the way and is accidentally tackled into the flooded colony with Mandible, who lands upon a root, killing him on impact. Cutter orders the soldiers to help the workers and the Queen Ant while he himself goes after Z. Although Z has seemingly drowned, Bala resuscitates him.
Z is praised for his heroism and marries Bala. Together they rebuild the colony, transforming it from a conformist military state into a community that values all of its members. The camera zooms out to reveal the whole story took place in the middle of Central Park, New York City.
Why It Rocks
- For DreamWorks' first animated feature, the animation (and film in general) is impressive.
- Great soundtrack.
- Nice voice acting, Woody Allen did a great job as Z.
- Good plot.
- Likable characters.
- General Mandible is a great antagonist.
- The movie has a nice dark tone it.
- Z disguising himself secretly as a solider ant is amazing.
- The jokes and humor are pretty good, even having a few adult jokes.
- As it was made to rival A Bug's Life, which was released the same year as this movie, both films have similarities, even though they are mostly very different in terms of plot.
- While good, the animation is a bit dated compared to DreamWorks' later animated films.
- A few product placements: Like Mountain Dew and Pepsi.
- While good the adult humor can not be always appropiate for kids.