Antz - (DTS)
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted April 25, 2000
E - M A I L
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The Movie:

Why can't Woody Allen just have fun?

As Z, a worker ant, Allen is lively and displays a sparkle that he usually doesn't even have in his own films. "Antz" is smart and witty and sharp in the way that some of Allen's better films are as well. It's not really much of a kid's film in my humble opinion; it's a little too violent and a little too adult for most kids to really understand.

As the film begins, we are introduced to all of the little ant characters. Z, Princess Bala(Sharon Stone), Azteca(Jennifer Lopez), Mandible(Gene Hackman), Weaver(Sly Stallone), etc. Everyone goes about their own special task. As we've learned in countless science classes, there are worker insects, soldier insects, etc. Our main character, Z, is a lowly worker who's unhappy with his place in life.

Princess Bala(Stone) decides to see how the lower class lives and asks Z to dance. Z dances like he wants, instead of doing a march like all the other insects. Bala finds this freedom intoxicating, but after a bar fight, the two are broken up. Z finds himself trading places with Weaver(who's a soldier ant) to get close to the Princess once again. Unfortunately, the soldiers are about to head off to war with the termites(they march under a night sky that looks a little too insanely much like the Dreamworks logo) In a battle that looks a little too much like last year's film, "Starship Troopers", the antz get defeated by the termites. Z is the only one left.

Anyways, back to the movie. Z is brought back to the colony as a war hero, the only living survivor of the termite attack. Running from capture, Z finds himself kidnapping Bala and running across the surface world, looking for a fantasy world for ants, "Insectopia."

The animation in "Antz" is nothing short of outstanding. In sweeping shots looking over the ant colony, we see hundreds, maybe thousands, of defined ants, going about their jobs. The ants themselves are wonderfully done, built to give quite the hint of the actor voicing them. The script is frequently hilarious, with sharp and incredibly witty humor.

A wonderfully funny and suprisingly sharp(at least for a kid's film...or is it a kid's film?)script provides the backbone for a fun and funny film that I think older kids will enjoy as well as adults.


VIDEO: Stunning. A truly beautiful anamorphic 1.85:1 letterboxed transfer by Dreamworks. There is an incredible amount of detail in the scenes where we're under the ground in the ant colony and this DVD brings all of those wonderful little details and sights home crisply and clearly. DVD is the only place outside of the theater where you will get the full impact and all the jokes that this movie contains. In terms of colors, the oranges and reds of the ANTZ look brilliant and wonderfully vibrant here; the same sort of quality that the colors had when I viewer this film in the theater, and on this disc, in my eyes, the colors look slightly stronger than I remember seeing them in the theater. The colors and shadows in the ant colony are fantastically detailed and incredibly well-defined. Contrast is wonderful and color saturation is perfect in an image that looks absolutely electric; even the darker scenes are stunningly crisp and razor sharp with beautiful shadow detail. The daylight scenes especially look beautiful and very well-defined with incredibly rich colors and perfect contrast. In terms of image quality, this is one of the best discs I've seen, with great depth-of-field.Absolutely reference quality. No artifacts.No noise.No pixelization, No problems at all.

SOUND: I loved the presentation by the DTS verion of "Antz". The score that I lovecredited to Gavin Greenaway,Harry Gregson-Williams,Steve Jablonsky,John Powell,Geoff,a lot of people!) sounds marvelous, with a richness and clarity that fills the room with perfect sound. There are great scores out there like this one, and they do every mood perfectly, from a bouncy energy to sadness to everything that the film needs, and again, the score sounds quite good. As for the rest of the film, it sounds equally impressive in terms of audio, with frequent and very creative uses of the surrounds to open up the "ant" environment, creating a nice sense of space. "Antz" is also suprisingly rather heavy in the bass department, with a lot of deep, solid bass at times, but I never found it overwhelming or distracting.

Overall, I really liked the audio presentation for "Antz" a lot - everything is carefully and creatively presented in the sound, from the noise of the crowd of Antz in the ant city to some of the more intense action scenes.

MENUS:: The very well-done animated main menus from the special edition are carried over to this release.

EXTRAS:: There are only a couple of small extras of note - production notes and cast/crew bios. The other edition of the film does offer more, with a very good commentary and a couple of documentaries.

Final Thoughts: I really find the movie very entertaining, but I was pleased and suprised by how wonderful the DTS audio sounded. Recommended.

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