Great effects and characters, but surprisingly violent.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: May 2, 2004
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 84 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

The hierarchy of the ant world is portrayed, and some scientific terms are included.

Positive messages

Very clearly promotes individualism and thinking for yourself.  "Be your own ant" and "Make your own choices" are heard repeatedly. Blindly following orders proves to be fatal. Teamwork, a good attitude, and a strong work ethic are also encouraged.

Positive role models

The females are feisty, brave, and smart. Z, the leading male character, is initially self-involved and ineffectual -- his character learns important lessons and finally uses all the resources at hand to save the day. Z's an unlikely hero who admits his mistakes, and proves loyal and courageous. The villain is a military officer -- one of his assistants regains his "humanity" and joins forces with the heroes.


Violence & scariness

Extensive cartoon violence throughout. Ants conduct a pre-emptive war against an army of termites who are huge and shoot acid from their foreheads. Combatants are stabbed, stomped, and massacred. Their lifeless bodies are shown on the remnants of the battlefield. An important character is tortured on camera, his female friend held against her will. Other scenes include: sun rays burning up insects on the ground, falls, an intimidating grasshopper, threats of being crushed by giant tennis shoes, and a sequence in which the entire ant colony narrowly escapes a ranging rush of water.


Sexy stuff

Some flirtatious behavior with mild innuendo ("I was going to let you be part of my erotic fantasy") and a few kisses.


A few insults --"idiot," "maggot," "tight-ass" -- and some swearing: "damn," "hell," "anus," "crap," "butt." One character inadvertently eats insect poop.



In "Insectopia" a paradise for bugs, we see the remains of garbage: Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Hershey Bars, and a can of  Kendall Motor Oil.


Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Worker ants spend their evenings at a colony bar, drinking an unidentified beverage. One ant is identified as a drunk, and others worry they may have had "too much to drink" upon occasion.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Antz is an animated comedy that will have lots of appeal for teens and adults, especially for fans of Woody Allen's brand of humor -- ironic social commentary and perpetual worry. However, the action in this film is substantial. It's meant to be exaggerated and funny, but though the victims are ants and other insects, for young or sensitive kids they're relatable characters -- – living, breathing beings with human voices. There are many deaths: great battles occur along with the aftermath on fields covered with bodies (and include a sad deathbed scene of a well-liked ant soldier). The strutting villain tortures two heroes and threatens to drown the entire ant colony; the ants escape the rushing waters with no time to spare. Other characters are blown to smithereens or turned to ash. Two couples flirt, fall in love, and kiss. There's some potty language and swearing ("tight-ass," "hell," "damn," "anus," "crap") and the ants have a local pub in which they drink an intoxicating beverage.

What's the story?

In ANTZ, Woody Allen provides the voice of Z, the movie's hero, and we first see him on the analyst's couch, complaining about his feelings of inadequacy. A worker ant among millions of others, he longs for some individuality. When he meets the ant princess Bala (voice of Sharon Stone), he longs to see her again. So he persuades his friend Weaver (voice of Sylvester Stallone), a soldier ant, to switch places with him. Weaver enjoys being a worker, but Z finds to his horror that he is being sent into battle by the megalomaniacal General Mandible (voice of Gene Hackman). He is befriended by Barbados (voice of Danny Glover), who is killed, along with all of the other soldiers. Only Z escapes, and it is up to him to rescue the rest of the ant colony from Mandible.

Is it any good?


The visual effects are dazzling, and the vocal characterizations of Allen, Stallone, and Stone are superb. But there's more death and violence than might be expected in a kids' film. The deaths of two characters and the slaughter of thousands of animated "extras" make this too intense for younger kids. Some of the more sophisticated humor may be lost on kids, but they'll find other things to laugh at.


Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about when to question authority and how to balance individuality with the needs and norms of the community.

  • How do you think Antz compares with other movies that offer an about insect's point of view, such as A Bug's Life and Honey I Shrunk the Kids?

  • Is it fun to think of how different things look to an ant, like how our discarded trash is an exciting "Insectopia" to them?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 2, 1998
DVD release date:November 19, 2002
Cast:Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone, Woody Allen
Directors:Eric Darnell, Lawrence Guterman, Tim Johnson
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Bugs, Friendship, Great boy role models, Misfits and underdogs, Science and nature
Run time:84 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:tension, cartoon violence, and some language

This review of Antz was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byJenPete November 30, 2008

COMPLETELY disagree with the 8+ rating - this is a Big Kid movie

We previewed this movie in hopes we could show it to our 6 year old and 8 year old who are entranced by their ant farm these days. SO glad we previewed it. SUre, it's just animated, but it's still graphically violent - screen-for-screen shots of battle scenes depicted in countless rated-R movies. The guts were green instead of red, but does that make this violence ok? There's serious deception, political issues (trying to take over the colony through murder), really bad language (we backed up in SEVERAL places to make sure we were hearing what we THOUGHT we'd heard first time through). Why do movie makers have to ruin films this way? Not only won't I recommend it for children - there's nothing redeeming in this film for any age.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

funny and highly entertaining film!!

Adult Written bynina1978 April 9, 2008


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