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Antz is a computer-animated film created by DreamWorks in 1998, and the second full-length CGI movie ever released (after Toy Story). Most of the time, if someone mentions it, they're either comparing it or confusing it with Pixar's A Bugs Life, which is also a computer-animated film about ants released in 1998. However, Antz is far Darker and Edgier than A Bugs Life, as it was geared more towards adults and teenagers--who all brought their children and younger siblings to see it.
The protagonist is a worker ant named Z, voiced by Woody Allen. He is somewhat neurotic and maladjusted to life in an ant colony, where each individual is treated as an insignificant part of a greater society. One day, he hears a drunk veteran soldier ant rant about some place called Insectopia, where food is plentiful, there are no rules, and everyone lives in peace. Z and his soldier friend Weaver (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) snicker at the old ant behind his back and think the idea of an "Insectopia" is hilarious.
Meanwhile, the lovely Princess Bala (voiced by Sharon Stone) is living in the palace, but finds it dull and does not happily anticipate her upcoming marriage to General Mandible (voiced by Gene Hackman), or the idea of giving birth every ten seconds as Queen. She drags two serving girls down to the workers bars, where she dances with Z, who falls for her instantly. Z soon realizes however that he'll never see her again, so he convinces his friend Weaver to switch places with him for a day, just to see Princess Bala at a royal inspection, while Weaver gets to interact with some of the worker girls.
All does not go according to plan however, as it turns out the royal inspection was just before being sent into an unexpected war with a nearby termite mound. Z is the only survivor through pure luck.
Meanwhile, Weaver, who has fallen for the career girl (and Z's work friend) Azteca (voiced by Jennifer Lopez), feels terrible about switching places, even though he too had no idea the army was about to go to war. However when he learns Z is the surviving ant and is now a war hero, he is ecstatic.
When Z meets the Queen (voiced by Anne Bancroft) and Bala again, she recognises him as the worker from the bar. Mandible is furious that a worker danced with his fiance, and the nervous Z hides behind Bala, but it is assumed that he is taking her hostage. She beats him off quite easily, but in doing so they fall down a garbage chute.
It Gets Worse. Z is forced by a series of his own mistakes to flee the colony with a troop of soldier ants in pursuit. Since he cannot go back, he decides to go out looking for Insectopia. Bala doesn't know how to get back home on her own and has little choice but to go with him.
- Adorkable: Z
- An Aesop: Z runs away from the colony because he hates being an insignificant part of some huge thing. In the end of the film, he realizes the colony is able to survive because while individually insignificant, the ants are mighty when they all work together.
- Alien Geometries: Over half the film does take place inside an ant colony, after all.
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Played for Laughs, given all the characters are ants, and have no interaction with their parents.
- All-Star Cast: The billing goes twelve deep before we even see the title.
- Ant War
- Arranged Marriage: Between Princess Bala and General Mandible.
- Awesome McCoolname: Z, Weaver, Mandible, Bala, Cutter, Barbatus, Azteca... no-one here has a normal name.
- Weaver, Bala, Barbatus and Azteca are the names of species of ants. Cutter probably refers to leafcutter ants.
- Big Applesauce: The big reveal at the end is that the entire film took place around a water fountain in Central Park's Great Lawn. (Of course, the film stars Woody Allen.)
- Bowdlerized: Whenever it is shown on TV, all the swear words are edited out. And there's quite a lot of petty swearing in the movie, so some of the dialogue is almost completely out of context. This is all to keep it in the Animation Age Ghetto.
General Mandible: We will finish this tunnel, on schedule. Come  high water.
- The cover of the movie also used to feature the World Trade Center quite prominently, until 2001.
- Big Bad: General Mandible.
- Boxes Always Spoil: The DVD case shows Z with New York City in the background.
- Call to Adventure: The old veteran's rant about "Insectopia" at the bar.
- The Call Knows Where You Live
- CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable
- Deadpan Snarker: Deconstructed Trope with Z, who only deadpan-snarks when he is nervous.
- Denied Food as Punishment: The worker foreman doesn't like Azteca's attitude when she stands up to him on behalf of Weaver, so he denies her that day's rations.
- Disney Death: After the climax of the movie, Z appears to have drowned. Bala manages to revive him with CPR.
- Disney Villain Death: General Mandible. Subverted, as unlike most Disney villain deaths, they did show the aftermath (General Mandible was impaled on a root).
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Heeeeeeeere's COMMUNISM!
- The wasps are wasps both literally and figurtively.
- The Dragon: Cutter.
- Dueling Movies: Dueled A Bugs Life, but both ended up being highly critically praised and smash hits at the box office.
- Fantastic Racism: Or rather, Fantastic Caste-ism between the soldier ants and the worker ants.
- Also touched upon between wasps and ants when the species meet in Insectopia.
- Fat and Skinny: Bala's two friends.
- Gender Is No Object: Not only are there male and female workers, but there are also male and female soldiers.
- General Ripper: General Mandible.
- Gentle Giant: The wasps, Chip and Muffy (hey, they're giant from an ant's point of view!)
- Well, Muffy moreso than Chip, who mildly admonishes her for her charity towards "lowly" crawling insects like ants when they first met Z and Bala.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Granted, it was geared towards adults and teens, but nevertheless, aside from swearing, there was also a scene where Z mentions that he wants to place Princess Bala in his wildest erotic fantasies. Ironically, they edited out sexual (the original line being "erotic sexual fantasies") to keep the PG rating despite "erotic" being an even dirtier use of the word. Also, Chip the wasp is clearly drunk at one point.
- The scene where Azteca is briefly tortured off-screen comes across as disturbingly rapey.
- Good Lips Evil Jaws: The Large-jawed Termites are evil, whereas the ants with lips are good.
- Though the termites aren't actually evil (the Queen mentions that they have been at peace with them for years, the battle in the film was all Mandible's doing), they're definitely meant to be scary.
- Heel Face Turn: Colonel Cutter right at the end.
- Hive Caste System
- Humans Are Cthulhu: The kid with the magnifying glass, and the one who stomps Bala and Z.
- Also, whoever wielded the flyswatter that nearly got them while killing Muffy.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: General Mandible, after his Disney Villain Death, fell straight onto a root.
- Ink Suit Actor: Nearly everyone has some resemblance to their voice actor, of course turned into anthropomorphic ants. It is actually quite unnerving watching Weaver channel the expressions of Sylvester Stallone. The irony is that, according to the DVD Commentary, the characters were all designed *before* the actors were cast, as was the decision to give Weaver "Stallone-esque" lips.
- Insect Gender Bender: Ants shouldn't have gender as we define it anyway, much less love interests.
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Right before the termites ambush the ant army.
- Knight Templar: General Mandible.
- Large Ham: General Mandible.
- Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Bala and Z leave Chip and Muffy alone when they become distracted by their affections.
Z: Oh brother. I think I've lost my appetite.
- Losing Your Head: Barbatus, the soldier ant who takes Z under his wing. Z has a sad/disturbing moment with his head before he actually dies.
- Love At First Sight: Z with Bala, Weaver with Azteca (and vice-versa?)
- Minion with an F In Evil: Colonel Cutter.
- Moment Killer:
- At the campfire in Insectopia, right as Z and Bala are about to kiss, one of the hippie bugs asks Z to get more firewood. As Z goes to get it, he asks them if they know why they're called "pests".
Z: Great, nothing like a little manual labor on the most romantic night of my life!
- Muffy is smacked with a flyswatter and killed while she and Chip... uh... made Z lose his appetite.
- When Weaver is flirting with Azteca, the foreman comes along.
- The Mourning After: Chip does this after his wife Muffy is swatted. When Z decides to follow Cutter back to the Colony (after he picks up Bala), Chip offers to help him get there, coming out of a discarded bottle of scotch, drunk from grief.
- Mouse World
- My Eyes Are Up Here: When Weaver first meets Azteca, he spends a bit too much time admiring her legs, causing her to invoke this trope.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: General Mandible and Colonel Cutter.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Despite what the trailer tells you, Antz is not a comedy flick for kids or a direct contender for A Bugs Life. It's completely different.
- Non-Action Snarker: Z.
- Official Couple: Z and Bala, Weaver and Azteca, Chip and Muffy.
- One-Letter Name: Guess who.
- Petting Zoo People
- Please Wake Up: Bala, to Z.
- Precision F-Strike: While the f-bomb itself is never dropped, characters do swear in this movie; the first time caught many viewers off-guard.
- Product Placement: Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Reebok make appearances, albeit believable and unobtrusive ones.
- Punch Clock Villain: Colonel Cutter. Probably a decent guy, if he wasn't taking orders from the Big Bad.
- Word has it that in an early script, Cutter was going to have a lady friend among the palace workers, who would double as Bala's best friend. But this would have taken attention away from the main romances, which were Z and Bala, and Weaver and Azteca.
- Rebellious Princess: Bala.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Out-of-universe and probably unintentional example: The ants in Antz are red while the ants in A Bugs Life are blue.
- Refusal of the Call: At first, Z laughs when he hears the legend of Insectopia.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified
- Rich Bitch: Princess Bala for a while.
- Save the Princess: From the mess you got her into, and later from General Mandible.
- Shout-Out: To Independence Day.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them: "I AM the colony!"
- Which also qualifies as an Ironic Echo, as this was stated to Colonel Cutter when he helps the colony escape immediately after Z tells Mandible that they are the colony in response to Mandible's claims that letting the colony drown was for the good of the colony.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: The wasps, Chip and Muffy. From mild bantering to "Cuddly Widdles" and "my big, strong pheromone factory".
- Sliding Scale of Libertarianism and Authoritarianism: this film lies somewhere in the middle. Closer to the authoritarian end -- Insectopia exists only because the ant colony allows it, and cannot resist General Mandible.
- Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: A giant magnifying glass fries one of the soldier ants sent to arrest Z and Bala.
- Some Kind of Force Field: Word-for-word, even, when Z and Bala encounter a picnic lunch...covered in Saran Wrap.
- Squick: Invoked Trope and Discussed Trope by Z when Weaver asks him if he's going to drink his Aphid Beer.
Z: Call me crazy, but I have a thing about drinking from the anus of another creature.
- Talk to the Fist: When Cutter arrives in Insectopia, he is immediately greeted by a hippie bug.
Hippie: Hey, man, welcome to Insec-WHACK! * groan* -topia.
- Weaver's interrogation scene qualifies as well.
- That's No Moon: That's a mantis.
- Too Dumb to Live: Z stopped the workers from digging because they're near water. But the worker foreman wants them to continue digging because those are orders.
Z: What if someone told you to jump off a bridge? I mean-
[Foreman puts hand to chin and contemplates]
Z: Ah, geez, I'm talkin' to the wrong guy here!
- Torture Always Works: While beating up tough ant Sylvester Stallone doesn't work, bring in his new girlfriend Azteca and start implying pain on her part and he sings like a bird.
- Ubermensch: Z gradually develops into something like this.
- Uptown Girl: The lowly worker ant pretends to be a soldier to impress a princess.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: General Mandible thinks so.
- Villain with Good Publicity: General Mandible
- Visual Pun: Chip and Muffy, the Yellowjackets, are portrayed like stereotypical upper-class WASPs.
- War Is Hell
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: It very well might be.
- You Have Failed Me: The Queen sees General Mandible as this for failing to bring back her daughter. Of course, she didn't really like him that much to begin with despite seeing him as a suitable mate for her daughter.
- You're Insane!: Said by Bala to General Mandible after she learned the true purpose of the Mega Tunnel.
Princess Bala: You're crazy!
General Mandible: (smiles and replies calmly) I believe history will see things differently.
- Zerg Rush: (Ants really do fight like this, minus the tiny spears obviously.)