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Awesome: 8.51%
Worth A Look72.34%
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6 reviews, 11 user ratings

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Ant Bully, The
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by Jason Whyte

"What can a silly little ant do?"
4 stars

“The Ant Bully” is an entertaining animated movie that I think kids will have a fun time watching. It has great animation, good voice work, fun characters and a good lesson about overcoming your fears and appreciating the differences in others. It isn’t perfect, and the film critic in me has seen this kind of film done before, but the target audience will certainly appreciate it.

The premise is very simple: a young, shy boy named Lucas lives a relatively normal life in his home. He’s bookish and he has trouble with bullies, and has a lot of fun wreaking havoc on the ant colony in his front yard. The colony has made a big problem on their lawn that an exterminator has been called in. We then cut down to the ant colony itself, where we see the inhabitants are ants with personality and a spirit; one of which has the magic ability to transform Lucas into the same size as the ants.

As Lucas is brought down to the ant colony, he finally gets to see that the ants are living, breathing creatures that have a whole way of life in what Lucas saw, as a kid, as just a little stump in his lawn. The colony rejects him at first and wants to eat him, but eventually becomes accepted as one of him and joins their lifestyle. And oh, don’t forget that exterminator who shows up later in the story.

One of the things I liked about the film is how it balances the perspectives between the sizes of the humans and the ants, and how the film gets a lot of mileage out of how young Lucas uses his knowledge of his old pint-size to live with his new very-pint-size. There’s a great scene where the tiny Lucas makes a phone call, and he has to learn how to jump over the now enormous phone buttons and yell into the mouth piece. Another scene involves Lucas and his ant-friends as they dodge a bull-frog, who now has the size and the speed advantage.

What I also liked is how the film heavily dials-down on pop-culture jokes that have been surfacing in a lot of recent animated fare, such as the “Shrek” and “Ice Age” series along with last year’s awful “Robots”. There are a few quirky jokes here and there that make reference to the actors playing them, but thankfully it doesn’t go too far. This film is a long way from having music changed to reflect how the ant colony would write the songs, and I was happy to not see an “Antbucks” or a “Sea-Ant-tle’s Best Coffee” logo on the screen.

The voice work is provided by the likes of Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep and Bruce Campbell, who balance out very well with the animation and don’t draw attention to themselves. The cast list does not appear as the opening credits scroll across the screen. They do, however, get a long tribute in the closing credits of the film, which still annoys me. The actors providing the voice are a strong addition to the film, of course, but so are the animation team who rarely get the credit that they deserve, and if you’re going to see a movie just because of the voices you hear, you aren’t appreciating the endless amount of time that went into creating it.

“The Ant Bully” has poor timing in its release, because gnawing at me is the wish that every family who wants to see this movie will instead choose to see the infinitely better “Monster House”, which is an endlessly entertaining and unique animated film that has style, wit, beauty and a whole lot of laughs. Had “The Ant Bully” been released later on in the year, I wouldn’t be having this problem, I suppose, but the timing problem is certainly there. It is still an enjoyable summer diversion and I hope that it finds an audience, especially in the IMAX 3-D format where the colors and depth of the ant colony can really come out to play.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14886&reviewer=350
originally posted: 07/31/06 13:29:18
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User Comments

11/28/09 Rachel Has a good message. Good movie for children. 4 stars
1/12/09 Guy cool moviee 4 stars
8/14/08 Shaun Wallner This was a funny movie. 5 stars
4/24/07 Tiffany Losco cute movie, great for familys 5 stars
4/22/07 Abs Nice movie. Worth watching. 5 stars
3/20/07 man stupid 1 stars
12/28/06 Kimberly The kid is to mean and the story line generic. I really didn't like it 3 stars
10/24/06 Mike Pretty sweet movie. I loved the frogs 5 stars
10/15/06 William Goss Generic story and style, impressive animation. Could easily go w/o snot and spit gags. 3 stars
8/03/06 Matthew Bradley Great Fun Family Flick 4 stars
7/28/06 Pokejedservo A rather bit of a pleasant surprise if I do say so myself. 4 stars
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  28-Jul-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 28-Nov-2006



Directed by
  John A. Davis

Written by
  John A. Davis

  Nicolas Cage
  Bruce Campbell
  Paul Giamatti
  Julia Roberts
  Meryl Streep
  Lily Tomlin

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