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The Ant Bully
DVD disk
12.05.2006 By: Quigles
The Ant Bully order
Director:
John A. Davis

Actors:
Julia Roberts
Nicolas Cage
Bruce Campbell

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After having their lives threatened by a boy named Lucas, an ant colony has the kid shrunk down to size (literally) in hopes of putting a stop to his evil ways.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Raise of hands, who here has killed ants before? Ok, now who here feels bad about it? Nobody? Good, because you shouldn't. And unless you want go on a guilt trip about it, you probably shouldn't watch THE ANT BULLY. It spends the better half of an hour referring to humans as "destroyers" and saying how terrible the lead character Lucas is for killing them and their families. Ok, now lets go back to reality for a second: ants aren't people. And if a movie makes ants similar to people, it shouldn't waste its time making every human in the movie look like an idiotic douchebag because they kill ants (stick to fantasy, people). This also creates a conflict in message, because I bet the only thing that kids will take away from the film is to not kill bugs (as opposed to the whole "teamwork" spiel, etc.). This is too bad, because the movie does actually have its heart in the right place. But lets face it, kids shouldn't be expected to decipher through half an hour of tedious dialogue just so they can understand the moral of a story.

The stupid focus of the plot aside, the movie also suffers from being done one too many times. There were moments during THE ANT BULLY where I almost forgot what I was watching... ANTZ?.. A BUG'S LIFE?... It just doesn't have that special "something" to make it its own. Which is fine. This is a kid's film, after all. The real issue here is whether it will keep them entertained or not, and the answer is yes. There are plenty of fun moments in the film that kids are sure to love, especially if they enjoyed the previously mentioned films. Parents, on the other hand, might become numb to the slightly annoying/obnoxious vibe that the movie tends to have (characters shout a lot - it gets bothersome). Personally, I felt the movie was watchable, but I wouldn't have any problem never watching it again.

The voice talent gives a pretty good impression of why this generic production was made - money. And for the most part, it shows. By no real fault of the actors, the characters have pretty much nothing compelling or unique about them. This is a big problem in a movie like this, since most of the great family movies out there base their plots around strong leading characters. Woody and Buzz in TOY STORY, Z and Weaver in ANTZ, etc. - and on the other side of the spectrum, we have characters like Flik in A BUG'S LIFE, a perfect example of a lame central character that only hampered the film. THE ANT BULLY is a movie filled with Flik's. The only three actors who bring any sort of personality to their roles are Nicolas Cage, Bruce Campbell (whoo!), and Paul Giamatti. The rest are just about worthless and completely uninteresting. And although a little harsh, the movie suffers a similar fate.
THE EXTRAS
This DVD isn't exactly bursting with special features, but there are a few things to check out.

It Takes a Colony (16:32): This is an interview-filled featurette that is very easy to follow, so even the little ones can enjoy. Surprisingly enough, many of the bigger name stars don't show up to voice their comments, but a few of the voice actors do. While basic and relatively uninformative, this featurette is still moderately entertaining.

Animated Shorts (8:20): Basically, these are just 7 promotional pieces. They show short little animated sketches that vary off THE ANT BULLY's storyline. I found them to be a little irritating and obnoxious, but kids will probably enjoy them.

Additional Scenes (11:20): There are ten scenes, some of which are presented in semi-finished form, others in animatic and storyboard form. Surprisingly enough, these are enjoyable to watch.

Ant Habitat: A sort of useless but amusing TV screensaver that shows an ant farm with various gags taking place.

Also included is the Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
THE ANT BULLY is neither as bad as I expected, nor is it as good as I would've hoped. It's merely mediocre; a standard CGI kids film with some entertaining moments, big name voice actors, and heavily recycled plot points. If you've seen ANTZ or A BUG'S LIFE, then you've pretty much seen this film... except done much better. If you don't mind having a little more of the same, then check it out. Plus, it's got Bruce Campbell in it. Major bonus points for that.
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