The Ant Bully (Widescreen Edition)
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Top Customer Reviews
What makes "The Ant Bully" stand out to me, is its departure to a few elements which have become staple to recent animated flicks. Gone here are the pop songs played during the movie, or characters breaking out into song and dance. While jokes are still incorporated, it's more witty than slapstick, and there is a severe lack of references to current pop culture, which I thought was a refreshing change. However, there was only one sequence which reminded me of Star War's X-Wing fighters and their attack on the Death Star, right down to the same plot details of having just 1 shot down a shaft to take out the enemy. Secondly the voice cast mainly, Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep proving no Hollywood star is immune to the painless cash injection these pics provide.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
When the Wizard of the ant community comes up with a portion to shrink Lucas and it is decided he must learn how to live like an ant the fun begins. Lucas soon learns that working together can help you overcome no matter what size you are. It was just a really fun movie and one that my entire family enjoyed. I highly recommend it.
A story with a positive message and wonderful animation, with lots of humor throughout - perfect for kids and adults alike. Highly recommended as a family movie.
Like Lucas (Zach Tyler), the little boy in this film, I used to squirt water on ants and destroy their little ant hills - I'm not proud of that, but I was just a dumb kid. Lucas has yet to learn that tormenting other creatures is bad. A local bully keeps picking on him because he's little, so he turns around and picks on ants because he is bigger than they are. For their part, the ants in his front yard have had enough of the horrible beast they call "Destroyer," and thanks to a young wizard named Zoc (Nicolas Cage), they have a way to fight back. Using a potion, they shrink Lucas down to their size and carry him back to the colony. Many of the ants want to kill and eat their nemesis, but the benevolent Queen (Meryl Streep) decrees that he is to remain in the colony and, through training, learn to become an ant himself. Zoc's girlfriend Hova (Julia Roberts) eagerly volunteers to train him, which threatens to drive a wedge between her and Zoc.
Lucas makes for a stubborn student, rejecting the teamwork inherent in ant society; he doesn't need anybody's help, thank you very much. Not having any human friends, he is even reluctant to accept the friendship that ants such as Hova offer him. When the colony finds itself in danger, though - particularly when The Cloudbreather shows up to exterminate the lawn - Lucas sees the error of his ways, begins to understand how important friends are in life, and even goes so far as to risk his own life to protect those around him. It's hard for a child to realize that a "me first" philosophy won't get you very far in life, and The Ant Bully communicates that very important lesson in a wonderful, expressive way. While most animated films play strictly for laughs, The Ant Bully uses comedy to reinforce one of life's most important lessons. Yes, there's an element of socialism in it all (and heaven knows how much I hate socialism), but the true message of the film is a good and proper one.
I love this film's animation and cinematography. The attention to detail is amazing; for example, it would have been all too easy to just give the ants plain white eyes, but these animators went the extra mile to make their ants' eyes reflect the convexity of real ants' compound eyes. In terms of the cinematography, I found myself thinking back to some of the epic battle scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy as the ants rushed to defend their base from an aerial assault by wasps. I also loved the scene where the view pulled way back for a dramatic ant-sized explosion, only to show - from a human perspective - the very modest poof of a little firecracker. That doesn't sound like much, but I thought it was brilliant. In fact, I thought this entire movie was brilliant. And wait - there's more. You also get to hear the great Ricardo Montalban and Bruce Campbell lend their voices to a couple of characters, as well. Wow! What else could you ask for? Truly, The Ant Bully is one of the best animated films I've seen in some time.
Boasting an 83-minute runtime, the Ant Bully wastes very little time setting up its plot.
This is essentially the story of a ten-year-old boy named Lucas Nickle, who, because of his small stature, finds himself the target for the local bully and his cronies.
When he discovers that his parents are leaving for a honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, Lucas finds himself under the supervision of his techno-happy older sister and their UFO-obsessed grandmother.
Because he is powerless to stand up for himself, Lucas finds himself taking out his frustration on an anthill in his front yard; water guns, hoses, firecrackers, Lucas' tormenting means doom for the terrified ants occupying the hill.
It turns out the anthill's resident wizard Zoc has devised a risky plan that could potentially shrink "The Destroyer" down to the size of the ants so that he could be tried properly for his crimes against the colony.
The adventure really begins when rather than sentence the now pint-sized human boy to prison; the ant counsel decides he is to experience the difficulties of daily life as an ant. In the process, Lucas discovers that the things he wants most out of life: friendship, companionship, and the courage to stand up for himself have been at his disposal all along. And more important still, that size is no measurement of strength.
Naturally it's quite impossible to even encounter this film without being mentally drawn back to the early days of computer-animated blockbusters like A Bug's Life and Antz. And indeed nearly a decade of advancements in technology separating this film from the former two doesn't seem to have been as kind to the Ant Bully as it has been to some of the projects coming out of Pixar or Dreamworks. However, what the Ant Bully does have going for it is a decent story that adults can enjoy while the kids marvel at the spectacle of life as seen from the perspective of a human no bigger than an ant.
While calling it gut-busting humorous would certainly be giving the writing a bit too much credit, there are no shortage of sequences that manage to generate a genuine chuckle from viewers of all ages (my own personal giggle-heavy moment arrives when Lucas detonates a firecracker that to him is the size of a school bus).
Though it's not made overly known in the marketing material, the film is actually the result of Tom Hanks' adoration for the children's book of the same name by John Nickel.
Voice work is especially genuine throughout with Julia Roberts giving a very uncharacteristic (natural) performance and Nicolas Cage walking the thin line between a character you either despise or sort of don't hate.
In all there's little doubt that the Ant Bully failed to generate the type of spark for Warner Brothers that would make Disney/ Pixar, Dreamworks, or Blue Sky stutter but the blame can hardly be placed on the film itself for that. This is 89-minutes worth of fun family-oriented entertainment with some solid morals about life forming the foundation of the whimsy at hand. The fact that the DVD contains 7 additional animated shorts, some of which are truly pretty humorous, is the icing on the cake.