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ANTZ

SYNOPSIS:
Z (Woody Allen) is a worker ant - one of a billion - smitten by the beautiful Princess Bala (Sharon Stone), when she asks the diffident Z to dance one night while slumming it at a workersí club. The Princess is engaged to the power-driven General Mandible (Gene Hackman). What chance a worker ? But Z, undergoing therapy, is undaunted. Swapping places with his soldier friend Weaver (Sylvester Stallone), Z almost gets within coooee of the Princess. But war is declared against the menacing termites and the nervous little worker is carried off to the front. Through a combination of cowardice and good luck, Z is the sole survivor, and war hero. But when his worker status is revealed, he is in danger. And so is the entire community, from a planned coup de colony by Mandible. Desperate, Z kidnaps Bala and they end up on a wild adventure outside the colony, looking for the legendary Insectopia. Z has to impress the Princess and somehow stop the anticide. . . .

"Just before the Antz screening, we were shown some trailers, including one for Prince of Egypt, the animated story of Moses from the Bible. I was interested to hear it described as Ďa family adventureí. If the Bible stories can be trimmed into family adventure, perhaps its fitting that the story of a colony of ants can be turned into a parable. But have no fear, Antz does not preach; in fact itís downright funny for almost its entire 77 minute running time. But a parable it is, all the same, perhaps even unintentionally; here are all these ants, each assigned a place and a station in life. Along comes one who questions the standing orders, upsetting others and endangering a few as well. He is different? How come. Well, because heís Woody Allen (vocally and psychologically). And what happens? Go see for yourself. Suffice to say the film is a character driven comedy first, and animated ground breaker second. Sure they look odd, these insect-like things, but they have capped teeth like us (well, not us, but like movie stars . . . you know) and they have feelings, dreams, disappointments and even sexual fantasies like we do. They are humans in all but antennae. Our attachment to Z is complete, we root for the antz against the termites, we canít wait to see Mandible get his comeuppance and we donít care that Bala never crosses her legs. Itís the ants pants of animated movies."
Andrew L. Urban

"Unique and imaginative in its concept, Antz is a delight, loaded with wit, style and charm. Itís a joyous ride into the structured world of these endearing insects, where workers, drones, soldiers and queen all take their place. Yet the emotions and sensibilities are all human, and we can relate to them beautifully. Technically, thereís plenty to ogle at, but itís the key role voiced by the irrepressible Woody Allen, that makes this tale of the individual versus the system, an enticing foray into a world about which most of us will never have fantasised Ė not like this, anyhow. From the very beginning when Z ant is contemplating his insecurities on the therapistís couch, Antz is a film that involves, delights and amuses. Allen and the ant are one Ė it is hard to separate them, and itís not hard to believe the role was written for him. There are plays on words, the use of carefully chosen, relevant music and the casting of a most impressive line up of talent. Sharon Stone, seductive as the princess; Sly Stallone, distinctive tones bring pathos; Jennifer Lopez, alluring. The themes comprise loyalty, duty, ambition and accomplishment, and we are barracking for the workers all along. Antz is a stunning escape, a marvellous use of cinematic animation skills that buzz from concept to execution. For lovers of great ideas, executed with pizzazz and panache, Antz is the critter of the season."
Louise Keller

"Antz is a hoot of a film, a masterfully crafted, computer-animated piece of cinematic artistry that is hilariously funny and totally engaging. Animation has often been relegated to children's cinema, but Antz is no kids' film: it is a sharply observed, dialogue-driven piece, not only visually astounding, but also brilliantly written. The film has been tailor-made for its vocal talents. Of course, the film belongs to Woody, and his opening sequence - in which he's lying on a leaf bitching and moaning about his plight to his shrink - sets the witty and comical tone of this fascinating fable. Antz is a film about conformity, power, the weak being trampled by those perceived as being superior, it's about revolution, heroism and social order. All of these themes have been perfectly interwoven throughout less than 80 minutes of screen time. The animated characters, all creatively engineered by computer, have been designed to fit the various personae of the voice actors, and the similarities are remarkable. Apart from Allen, whose scene-stealing performance represents some of his finest comedic work, Sharon Stone is terrific as the feisty, spoiled princess, Gene Hackman makes for an imposing villain, and Sly Stallone is a revelation as the soldier who ends up falling for Jennifer Lopezí cute little ant. Visually, Antz is spectacular, with the crowd sequences among the most cinematically exciting. But most of all, Antz is a witty comedy which adult audiences will revel in. It is a fresh, exciting and truly entertaining film with some potent themes thrown in."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0
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TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

Paul Fischer travels to Toronto, Palo Alto and Los Angeles to go INSIDE THE ANTZHILL

ANTZ (G)
(US)

VOICES: Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover, Christopher Walken, Jane Curtin, Jennifer Lopez, John Mahoney, Grant Shaud, Paul Mazursky

DIRECTOR: Eric Darnell, Lawrence Guterman, and Tim Johnson

PRODUCER: Brad Lewis, Aron Warner, Patty Wooton

SCRIPT: Todd Alcott, Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz

CINEMATOGRAPHER:

EDITOR: Stan Webb

MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Bell

RUNNING TIME: 77 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 29, 1998

AUSTRALIAN VIDEO RELEASE: May 7, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: CIC

Rental or Sell-thru (RRP: 29.95)







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