A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about when to question authority and how to balance individuality with the needs and norms of the community.
Is it fun to think of how different things look to an ant, like how our discarded trash is an exciting "Insectopia" to them?
- In theaters: October 2, 1998
- On DVD or streaming: November 19, 2002
- Cast: Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone, Woody Allen
- Directors: Eric Darnell, Lawrence Guterman, Tim Johnson
- Studio: DreamWorks
- 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.