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Movie Review

This computer-animated tale is about a restless drone ant seeking personal fulfillment while trapped in an oppressive caste system. An intriguing premise.Antz stars Woody Allen as the voice of Z, a neurotic worker ant with an identity crisis. He feels small and insignificant. Of course, who wouldn't as the middle child in a family of 5 million? Meanwhile, the colony's princess is equally frustrated with her responsibility and lack of independence. Circumstances throw both headlong into Central Park where they search for Insectopia (the ant equivalent of paradise). Z and the princess antagonize each other to the point of true love as they encounter assorted dangers, including a secret plot to wipe out the colony.

Overall, the movie is a lot of fun--the result of inspired dialogue, impressive computer imagery, shrewd casting and a clever infusion of oldies tunes. Antz also effectively illustrates how enormous our world must appear to creatures so small that they have to shimmy up a blade of grass (memorable scenes include a death-defying ride on a shoelace, escaping from a droplet of water, and making snow angels on a powdered donut). Early moping about the suppression of individualism is balanced by the film's thrilling climax, which conveys the importance of loyalty and teamwork to the preservation of a society. Several characters even model the selflessness exalted in John 15:13.

Though very entertaining, this ostensibly innocent insect story has a few bugs. Nearly a dozen mild profanities contributed to Antz receiving a PG rating. Crude expressions like "bite me" and "this tastes like crap" seem equally out of place in an animated genre that has typically courted families. At one point, Z matter-of-factly tells the princess he'd planned to have "erotic fantasies" about her. Totally unnecessary. Also, parents of young children may object to several violent insect deaths and the fact that the ants frequent a bar serving "aphid beer."While the filmmakers have spread out a tantalizing feast for the senses, it's a shame inappropriate language rains down on this otherwise enjoyable picnic.

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