Written by: Todd Alcott & Chris Weitz
Directed by: Eric Darnell & Laurence Guterman
Starring: Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken
My Advice: Don’t miss it.
Z (Allen) is an ant that is, well, Woody Allen. So you can understand that when we meet him, he’s neurotic, complaining about being the middle child in a generation of millions, and only able to lift ten times his own body weight. He feels out of place as a worker, where all he does all day is move earth and hate his life. But then he meets the princess of the colony, Bala (Stone), and everything changes.
This movie is not only funny (and quite funny at that), it also has quite a bit of social commentary going on. And it gets major points for doing so in a way that isn’t a forced “Think for yourself, schmuck!” like Robert Anton Wilson might say. Don’t get me wrong, that certainly has its place, but I never did like a movie’s message to be delivered like they used to at the end of each Super Friends episode. And I hope they killed that purple monkey. But I digress.
[ad#longpost]Like I was saying, it’s worked into the storyline, this anti-caste sensibility, and any friend of individuality is a friend of mine. But the idea that you can do more with your life than just go to work then go to sleep each day is certainly something kids of today need to clue in to. And while we’re on the subject of kids–be advised that this film is skewed toward the adult audience, though I’m sure your brood will enjoy it as well.
Apart from somewhat adult humor, the casting is priceless and something any adult will appreciate. Woody Allen’s Z is best friends with Stallone‘s character Weaver. Who would have thought Allen would be in a film as a reluctant hero and Stallone would be the supporting lead? I haven’t seen such a pairing since Jeremy Irons and Whoopi Goldberg sang together in The Lion King. But then you also have Gene Hackman in fine villain form as the voice of General Mandible, and Christopher Walken is his creepy right hand insect, Cutter. Also providing great cameos are Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd as Muffy and Chip, two snobbish wasps, and John Mahoney as the drunken ant who spills the beans about Insectopia, where Z wants to go. Again, just kick ass casting.
And finally this: the animation is stellar. If this is what we can expect out of DreamWorks animation, then I’m even more impatient for Prince of Egypt and whatever else they have coming down the pike. It’s the best animated film I’ve seen thus far this year, and I highly recommend it be seen in theaters.