Hello, Spongey here
And welcome to Dreamworks-athon!
This Is my 3rd marathon, yay! Now, this will work differently than my last two
For one thing, the others were done because Pixar and Goosebumps were close to my heart and I wanted to both poke fun and tribute them.
For dreamworks…I’m doing it for fun. Now, I like dreamworks fine, I’m just here cuz I wanted to follow their progress. That and I wanted to re-watch some of their films, and look at some I have unpopular opinions on.
That, and I mostly respect the hard workers at dreamworks, and wish to give them some credit…for their good movies. Though to be honest, I only dislike like 2 of them.
The other thing that makes this one different? For the others, I did a general look instead of my usual play by play style. For DW, i’m switching it up. For SOME, i’ll do it in my Pixar style, while for others, I’ll do it in my usual review style
This is mostly to help prove my point for certain films I like or dislike. See if you predict which ones will be which!
Anyway, let us begin our look at Jeffery Katzenberg’s little company. But first…let’s discuss the elephant in the room with our first movie
Jeffery once worked for Disney and Pixar. In 1994, he left to form Dreamworks. On the day he left, John Lasster had pitched the story for their film “A bug’s life”. In 1998, This movie, which is about a colony of ants fighting the man, came out.
John noticed that this was very much a rip off of his film. He felt betrayed. Jeffery offered to CANCEL his movie, if they moved the release date of A Bug’s life.
Pixar refused. So Dreamworks moved their movies date …to a month before their movie.
Yeah, make that of what you will. I only mention that cuz if I don’t, someone else will. As for me, I find it interesting, though I don’t disrespect Jeffery for it. Without him, we wouldn’t have some great movies later on!
With that said, is their Ant movie any good? Is it a good first entry in the dreamworks canon? Let’s find out.
We’ll start off with a normal play by play style.
This, is Antz
The movie opens with some narration by our hero, Z, voiced by Woody allen. He talks about small he feels, especially living in a big city. As he drones on, we see that he is an Ant, and he’s talking to his therapist.
I should mention that Woody allen, is, as always, playing woody allen. Having not seen any allen film besides this, I can’t say if I like him or not. He’s okay in this movie, but not the best.
Anyway, he talks about how small, feeble, and weak he is.
“the whole system makes me feel….insignificant”
Okay, predict what will happen with him. If you get it right,you win 0 points, because this is totally cliché as hell.
As Z finishes talking, we pan out to see the ant colony, as well as the opening credits. We see that this is a rather totalitarian society as we see babies being drafted as workers, or soliders
So he heads down to his worker area, as he mines stuff. One his female friends down there is Azteca, voiced by Jennifer Lopez. No , they don’t end up together. No, that is not sarcasm.
Their boss makes them, form a big wrecking ball to do what wrecking balls do
“How could I be unhappy forming a large of construction equipment?”
Z gets a few good lines in the movie. And of course he falls to keep the ball up, making it go over the place. Yeah, people say Flick in bug’s life is cliché, just look at this guy.
Anyway, the workers are building a tunnel, and the general of the ant miltiary (voiced by Gene hackman) is unhappy with the workers’ progress. Yes, he’s the villain. Can you tell what this movie’s main problem is?
General Mandible shooes the boss away, leaving him to think evilly with his assistant, Cutter, voiced by Christopher walken. Yes, he is the best character. Though oddly, he isn’t at his walken-est here
he’s more cartoon-y in live action than an actual cartoon!
He tells Cutter that a terminate army is mobilizing against them, so they need solders to go into their territory. But first, they need the queen’s approval to declare war. So they head to the queen, voiced by Anne Bancroft who at first isn’t keen about war
But with a bit of coaxing, she agrees. Then princess bala, voiced by Sharon Stone, talks to the General. See, they are getting married, thus making him the asshole boyfriend. Yes, fit in another freaking cliché
“Anything interesting happen?”
“We declared war”
I love how casually he says that. Anyway, after a bit, General rushes off to do his work. Bala isn’t interested in him, and she tells this to her mother. Her mom just says that he’s a fine guy, and she should stick to her place
“What if I don’t like my place?”
Gee, this may be tying into Z’s story! Also, a disney princess in a Dreamworks film?
Anyway, let’s back to Z. He’s now in a bar with his best friend Weaver, voiced by Sylvester /Stallone. Like Walken, he ends up leaving an impression, making for one of the best characters. Well okay, he is kind of generic, but he’s fun since he STALLONE
Z is bitching about his life, and Weaver thinks it isn’t too bad. Weaver is a solider, by the way. They talk about girls and the typical stuff. Also, this line.
“I have a thing about drinking from the anus of another creature”
You know, for kids!
Z continues to whine and Weaver…well..
“What are you bitching about?”
Did they really say that in a kid’s movie?
Weaver tells him that life isn’t so bad, and that he should stop whining. Z just wishes there was a better place. A shady guy then tells him there is.
A place where where no one tells you what to do, and it’s awesome. Z doesn’t exactly believe in it. He says it’s near the monolith, but he’s dragged off for being crazy
then, Bala walks in. See, she thinks workers have much more fun here so she comes here pretending to be a commoner to have fun. Yeah,. Never seen that before. Though here she has her friends dragged along
Then the music for dancing starts in the…club…bar…whatever it is, which Z doesn’t wanna get in on. Until Bala asks him to dance of course
They seem to hit it off okay. The thing is, everyone is dancing in the same way, but Z and Bala dance their own way,. Which does no please this one guy. Bala stands up to the guy. But then the guy, pissed at all workers, tries to punch Z
then Weaver blocks the bunch,. And punches him back. That is why I love this guy. And of course, a bar fight ensues
with that Bala has to leave, and tells Z that they can’t really see her each other again. Geez bitch, you sure are a downer. This leaves Z all unhappy
but the next day at work, Z is love happy. Since it’s obvious he could tell they share the same thoughts of being in place, i’ll say he can be in love. But since she acts like a disney princess, they will get married in about…20 minutes
he goes to the bar again, despite what she said, and shock of all shockers, she doesn’t show up. He hears about a royal review, where the soldiers where will be inspected by the queen
he hatches a plan. He will replace Weaver in the review, so he can get close to Bala. Yeah she mentioned the princess thing as she left. After a bit, Weaver agrees to it, though he doesn’t think Z has a realistic chance with bala
so he goes to the thing to get Bala’s attention. There he meets a solider named Barbatus, voiced by Danny Glover, whom he friends for awhile. He thinks Z is a new guy and welcomes him as such
he also laughs at Z’s bad jokes , like a good friend does. So the General then gives a speech about soldiers should do anything for the colony.
“I am proud to send you into battle”
oh shit,. Z’s, in trouble now. But there’s no way out. Z is informed that the termites are ruthless and shoot acid. Cuz…they totally do that, right?
Right away they march over to battle. Their plan is to overwhelm their defenses and kill their queen. That night, they reach the battle and then comes the FIIIIIGHHHT
but wait, no one seems to be there,….until one shows up and it’s like a million times their size. The result is a pretty cool looking fight scene as their epic battle ensues. Barbatus even saves Z from death by termite!
Then Z falls into a hole. Wah wah. Back in the worker place, Weaver has taken Z’s place. He proves to be a great worker, and even gets eyed up by Azteca
yes, they end up together. Their romance is about as defined as you’d expect, but it’s in the background so no one cares.
They talk a bit, which makes the boss chew them out. Azteca smart mouths him so he takes away her rations for the day. Weaver apologizes for getting her in trouble, and offers to share his rations.
“Are you asking me to dinner?”
if the plot calls for it, yes.
Before I can bitch about being bored, we head back to the battlefield. Z escapes from the hole to see a waste around where every one has been brutally killed
yikes! Is this movie for kids or what?
Well as long as doesn’t run into Barbatus’s severed head-
OH COME ON!
Yes, it’s still alive cuz LOGIC.
“Am I hurt bad?”
never looked better.
His body can’t be found, but Z asks him to hang on what life he has left. ..
“I made my mistake kid. Don’t follow orders your whole life. Think for yourself”
he dies. The music swells and it gets all sad. This scene is technically well done, with enough weight given to his death but..
I don’t care. We knew nothing about him. We knew for 10 minutes. All he did was like z, be friends, then die. How can I feel sad for the death of a character I don’t know? Every death is tragic, but in a war movie, we need a reason to care. I don’t have one, except generally speaking.
Call me heartless, but I just couldn’t. But, I will say they did try to make powerful, and I respect that
Back with the General, he hears what happened, but he is told one hero made it
this movie just NEEDS that PG rating, doesn’t it?
Yeah, he’s sending them all to die so he can begin to build a colony filled with powerful ants. Thus, Z living isn’t gonna make him happy. The queen is requesting an audience with the accidental hero
so Z shows up despite knowing he’s just a weakling. But nonetheless, he presented to a crowd of ants. Then he is brought to the queen. General says he does the talking, but Z speaks up anyway
Bala recognizes him and announces to the queen what she did. She also says that he is a worker, not knowing that saying so is a stupid thing that will get him In trouble…idiot
Z is to be arrested, but he grabs Bala for protection but it’s taken for a kidnapping. Z goes with it and ends up dragging her with him.
They escape the colony and go outside, though Bala isn’t happy to be his hostage. Soldiers show up to rescue Bala but…then a magnifying glass shows up and fries them. Yay, more death!
We don’t see the human holding the thing, which is interesting since any other movie should wuss out and show humans.
Z and Bala escape but now they are lost. Bala bitches at Z cuz…uh…i don’t know. I can understand the anger, but come on, you got along fine and one small kidnapping ruins your mood?
Wait, it’s cuz she found out about his soldier scam? Okay, now I get it. Whoops!]
“Why are you stalking me? Don’t you realize i’m out of your league?”
“Your the one who was cruising the worker bar looking for a little action!”
yeah,. Woody allen has a point! Seriously, what a bitch!
“I choose you because you were the most pathetic bug in the joint”
bullshit. You were clearly into him in that dance scene.
‘I was gonna include you in my erotic fantasies, but you can forgot it!”
damn it guys, keep it PG! Anyway, while she bitches, Z spots the “monolith” and thinks Insectopia might be nearby
Bala isn’t up for trying to see if it’s real. Despite that Z walks away on his own. So yeah, it;’s that whole “bitch and nerd are together and hate each other until they fall in love” type of thing
only it’s even lamer and more jarring given how she was earlier. Anyway, when she sees how far it is from home, she begrudgingly tags along with him
back in the colony, word of what Z did spreads around, and think he’s this epic badass. Once they hear that he was a worker who went for what he wanted, they follow in his footsteps and stop digging.
Yeah, we know how this goes. Man, this movie just throws every cliché in the book! And Doug walker thought Bug’s life was cliché..
with that, we head back to Woody allen and Bala as they reach the monolith. They talk a bit about how hard Z’s life is and how hard Bala’s life is as well. Z tells her that there is a better place for them.
He says if they don’t find Insectopia, they’ll go back to the colony. Thus, they trek on. Speaking of the colony, the Revolution has broken out, full force.
So the general tries to make Z out to be an asshole who only cares about himself. He 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.
One speech sways them? Geez, this colony is as dumb as Gotham in batman returns. …and Walken is in a place of power in both places,. Oddly enough
back with Z, he and Bala actually find Insectopia! It’s a picnic area with lots of food and drinks. One of said drinks is pepsi. PRODUCT PLACEMENT!
Then they are met with greetings by two nearby wasps, named Chip voiced by Dan akroyd, and Muffy. The latter being a female, and they are married and stuff. Being flying insects, they think lowly of the two, and bala being a princess doesn’t make them like ’em more
Feeling pity, Muffy wants to do something for them, though Chip is less happy. But just then…a flyswatter swoops down and hits muffy.
Then after that, a dude tries to step on the twol and bala gets stuck on his shoe gum and an epic scene ensues where z tries to save fer from the gum. But then they both get stuck, but a due uses a penny to scrap the gum off, and they get flung into a trash can
but then we cut to Weaver being kidnapped and tortured by the general. This film is just lovely kid’s entertainment.
He confesses that Z is looking for Insectopia . General actually knows it’s real, so he sends Walken out to kill Z and get Bala.
Speaking of Z, turns out that the trashcan, and area around it IS Insectopia where many others bugs hang out. Cue happy montage with him and bala doing stuff!
That night, they and the other bugs hang around a campfire. Z tells Bala about his troubles, and even about about barb died. She starts to see his POV and says she went to the bar, “looking for trouble”
“Trouble is my middle name…well actually it’s Marion”
…what’s your last name?
In typical, animated film fashion, she has now taken a liking to Z. they starts to kiss but..
“hey new guy, we need more wood!”
can’t you see that he’s dealing with his OWN wood? Also, is it more do the other insects act like stoners?
“what if we’re all a small part of this big world we don’t we even know about?”
“dude, that is so deep”
but then Walken drops in on their party,while Z is getting wood for the fire. And yes,. He can’t tell that Bala is bala from looking around at first glance.
Thankfully, the other guys rat her out. She refuses to go
“Thing is, I got orders”
if you haven’t seen this movie, just IMAGINE walken saying that. It’s as amazing as you think it is
Bala lies and says Z Is dead, but not before Walken takes her away. So now Z must get home to save bala. Chip offers him a ride, since he has nothing better to do. Oh yeah, his wife died…cuz they gave it so much weight earlier.
So anyway, Bala is taken to the General, who refuses to explain his full plan to her. All bitches to him all she wants about how crazy he is, but he isn’t having any of it.
Z arrives back at the colony, and pretends to be a worker for the tunnel opening, but is really trying to save Bala. He arrives in her room, through the window of course.
They share a moment, and since he saved her, they kiss. Right after, they are able to figure out the General’s plan: the”Mega Tunnel” leads straight to a body of water (the puddle next to Insectopia), which Mandible will use to drown the queen and the workers who have gathered at the opening ceremony
at moments like these, one wonders how a guy like that got to be General in the first place. He still has the people’s respect as he gives a speech the ceremony.
As the General starts his plan, Walken starts to question his plan. He has second thoughts about Mandible’s plans and agenda and develops sympathy for the worker ants. Oh yeah, let’s pile on another cliché. Only this one is done well because Walken
General tells him to stop being crazy, as the tunnel is sealed. Bala makes it to her mom to warn her about the bad guy’s plan. Z also makes it to the worker place to warn them.
The Queen believes bala. The boss doesn’t believe Z. thus, the water leaks in. Z runs up to the queen and tries to help the ants escape
how? By making a ladder. Sort of like how they made the wrecking ball, which I guess brings his development full circle or something
on dry land, the general has assembled all of his loonies so they can start their own colony, with blackjack and hookers! Actually, forgot the colony and blackjack
eh screw the whole thing
with their strength, they are able to make a big ass ladder, which they use to break out and get up on land.
WALKEN I think that’s the weak element sir
okay…that was kinda cool The General tries to stop Z but…/Walken punches him. Awesome. They fight, but then both z and the general are knocked down into the flooded colony
The Gen real lands on a root and dies while Z falls into the water. Even when the villain dies, they don’t give any weight to it. Hell, I can’t even tell he died! He just went splat, and everyone is scrambling for Z. but hey. He’s the villain so whatever
Thankfully, Walken has the soldiers rescue the ants, while he himself gets Z. However, it seems like z is dea-oh of course he’s not dead.
At least this Disney death gets some kind of weight, as brief as it is.Bala successfully resuscitates him Azteca and Weaver make out, the4 bad guy is dead and the colony is safe
They raise Z up, showing him as a hero. Z narrates some more
“There. Your average boy meets girl, boy likes girl, changes underlying social order story.”
heh, that was funny
“What can I tell ya? We built a colony, it’s even better than before…Bala and I are thinking of starting a family. ”
yeah, don’t show us how the colony is being rebuilt, what everyone is up or give us any kind of epilogue,. Just narrate us out of here.
“I finally found my place. And it’s exactly where I was! But the difference is, This time I choose it”
fair enough. Quite close us out, credits
This movie is…..okay.
Not good. Not good. Just…okay.
For one thing,. It’s so damn cliché. The story has been done a million of times, and it is filled with characters that only fill in cliché archtypes and don’t really stand out. This film is as predictable as they come
I always say that you know a movie is dull when everyone major aspect makes you go “Yeah never seen that before”. It does some interesting social satire but it gets lost amung the cliché tropes we’ve seen in many, better films
it does nothing knew, except add ants to it. However, I wouldn’t call it BAD. It’s not asagresssibl cliché as other movies i’ve seen, and it’s never really offensive. The characters aren’t that unlikable, and the story doesn’t have that many major plot holes.
It has some impressive animation for the time, along with a few decent characters, and some stellar performances, with a few good lines here and there. So it’s not really bad since it’s never horrible like many movie’s I review
oh, here’s another complaint: it doesn’t know if it’s for adults or kids. It has some kid-y stuff like our hero’s personality, and stuff. But it also had swearing (many uses of Damn that I didn’t highlight) and some elements that I feel are too dark. Pixar can balance adult stuff and kid’s very well but this movie never finds a balance so it ends up being weak on both counts
it does have some adult appeal due to it’s themes, but the been done cliché story won’t sway them too much. So chances are, no one will like it.
But again, it’s not bad. It’s harmless in the end and it never gets too awful. It just isn’t good, since it has bad parts to it. It’s okay, but you remember it in t-minus, a day. Yep, already forgot
oh, and can someone explain why this movie has 95 PERCENT ON ROTTEN TOMATOES?! Seriously, it’s not THAT good! I mean…really?
This movie did better than A Bug’s life critically, but the box office favored Bug’s. Years later, Bug’s is seen as an underrated pixar classic. Antz is never mentioned except when a Bug’s life is brought up
so in the end, A Bug’s life won. But Dreamworks went on to make much better films because of this one, so they won as well.
And i’ll be fair. This is their first movie, so they didn’t have their identity yet. No one’s first is perfect, after all.
So thus starts dreamworks a thon. We started off rocky, but don’t worry, it gets betters. As dreamworks a thon continues!