Release: 1998, DreamWorks
Starring: (voice talents) Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Jane Curtin, Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Jennifer Lopez, John Mahoney, Paul Mazursky, Grant Shaud, Sylvester Stallone, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken
Director: Eric Darnell & Lawrence Guterman
MPAA Rating: [PG] language, violence
An ant named Z (Allen) is tired of the conformity involved with being a worker drone, and longs to break away from convention. But the ant's life is dramatic changed when he meets the Princess Bala (Stone), and the adventure begins.
Antz further develops the technology used in the pioneering Toy Story to bring to the screen a world more fluid and lifelike. The film is visually impressive, and quite a technical achievement. PDI, the studio behind the magic, has completely blown away Pixar's Toy Story and the upcoming A Bug's Life in terms of creating depth, realism, and a simply eye-popping visual.
The all-star supporting cast pools a good deal of distinguished voices and talent. Sylvester Stallone as a soldier and Jennifer Lopez as a worker ant are particularly delightful. Christopher Walken gets to lend his creepy character voice to an animated character. (Finally! I've always said he'd make an excellent villainous voice over.) But Gene Hackman is even better as the insane General Mandible.
Woody Allen, the master of sniveling finds yet another venue to vent his typical shtick: neuroses, dysfunction, and identity crises. The humor is bearable and even funny when Allen departs from his tired act, but there are still enough instances of his routine to make those of us who are sick of it groan. I didn't find it entertaining while watching Allen's movies (Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters) in film class, and I still don't find it entertaining even when wrapped in a new, high-tech package like Antz.
Opposite Allen is Sharon Stone in what is perhaps the blandest female lead performance in the history of animation. There's no energy, no personality behind it. It's absolutely flat, and sounds like Stone recorded it during a coffee break. Lacking the musical clarity of Paige O'Hara's Belle in Beauty and the Beast, the endearing accent of Jessalyn Gilsig's Kayley in the recent Quest for Camelot, and even the breathy seduction of Kathleen Turner's Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Stone's voice simply doesn't do anything. As far as I'm concerned, Jennifer Lopez completely upstaged her.
When the two leads of the movie are the least engaging characters, there's something wrong...