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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Ant Bully has some scenes that might be scary for very young kids -- particularly some menacing spiders, frogs, wasps, and fly swatters. Bullies try to wipe out entire civilizations (the ants), and main character Lucas is in constant danger after being shrunk down to ant size. There's also name-calling, a little bit of iffy language (including "crap" and "butt," and some bodily function jokes. While characters start out selfish and focused on revenge, lessons are learned, and ultimately the movie has messages of compassion, loyalty, and teamwork.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ten-year-old Lucas (voiced by Zach Tyler Eisen) is having a tough time adapting after a recent move. His family isn't any help, and he's the number one target of the local bully. Lucas vents his frustrations on the anthills in his front yard. He kicks them, stomps them, squirts them with the garden hose, and fries them with a magnifying glass. The ants tire of the abuse from Lucas the Destroyer and decide to fight back. They put a single drop of their magic potion into Lucas' ear, which shrinks him down to their size. He's taken deep below the ant hill, where the head of the Ant Council (Ricardo Montalban) proclaims Lucas guilty of "crimes against the colony." To earn his freedom, Lucas is sentenced by the wise Ant Queen (Meryl Streep) to live among the ants and learn their ways. He suddenly finds himself in an incredible world teeming with life -- and peril -- that he never noticed or even imagined before. Nurse Ant Hova (Julia Roberts) tries to teach Lucas the ways of the colony and help him find that one special talent he has to contribute, but she has her hands full (all six of them). Eventually, Lucas's newfound "ant skills" are put to the test when he's asked to help his new friends defend the colony against certain annihilation from the local exterminator in an epic life-and-death struggle waged on the front lawn.
Is it any good?
This is a fun family movie with some great life lessons. While most kid movies spout valuable life lessons of one sort or another, the ones that work don't talk down to kids. The Ant Bully falls into that category, using humor and grace (not to mention an impressive voice cast) to tell a good story and remind us there's more to life than our own little world.
Guess what? It's not all about us! That's right, there are lots of other worlds out there humming along quite nicely without us, thank you very much. And Oscar-nominated director John A. Davis (Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius) and producer Tom Hanks are here to remind us of that.
Talk to your kids about ...
Which parts of the movie were scary to you? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?
Sometimes we try to "go it alone," but it's always OK to ask for help when we need it. How can this help us as we grow into adulthood and face new challenges?
It's OK to be strong and stand up for ourselves, but is it ever a good idea to "take revenge" on someone?
Find some examples of communities around us that we don't often see or notice. Why is it important to know about these communities, and how do they fit into our world?
- In theaters: July 28, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: November 28, 2006
- Cast: Julia Roberts, Lily Tomlin, Meryl Streep, Ricardo Montalban, Zach Tyler
- Director: John A. Davis
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Bugs
- Character strengths: Compassion, Teamwork
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild rude humor and action
- Last updated: September 26, 2019
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