The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

The Ants go marching one by one, Hurrah! Hurrah! The Ants go marching one by one, Hurrah! Hurrah! The Ants go marching one by one, The Little one stops to suck his thumb And they all go marching down, To the ground, To get out of the rain, Bum...bum...bum.

Or something like that.

I recently saw a bunch of ants go marching across the screen. Millions of the little buggers, digging, walking, talking, it was like I was on a great big acid trip! It was wild, man, wild!

The film, obviously enough, was the Dreamworks Animated Insect-fest, Antz. In it, half of Hollywood discover their true selves in the form of garbage-eating, six-legged bugs. The animation is entirely computer generated, like Toy Story. Which is why everyone's costumes looked so good.

Who's in it?

Woody Allen, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, Anne Bancroft, Jennifer Lopez, Danny Glover, John Mahoney and Grant Shaud (Miles from Murphy Brown).

Naturally, any film which has Grant Shaud, is a film worthy of our respect and admiration. I think more films should include Grant Shaud, if not as a main character, then at least as a cameo. Come on Hollywood! This guy was MILES SILVERBERG! You just can't top that.

Sadly, Antz doesn't center around Grant Shaud. It centers on the Grant Shaud wanna-be, Woody Allen.

Woody plays Z. He's an ant. He's neurotic. He's, basically, Woody Allen in insect form. Which means for many of you that he plays the same character he's been playing for years. Z hates being a worker ant. He wants more. He gets it bad for Princess Bala (Sharon Stone) and starts along a path that will revolutionize the ant colony and make neurotic twitchers out of all of them.

Obviously ahead of the game, Grant Shaud's Foreman character is already well on his way to neurotic twitching. He's just that much superior.

OK, here's the kicker. This movie is not bad at all. It's actually quite amusing. The animation style, which I thought was going to annoy the heebie-jeebies out of me, wasn't bad at all. But it's not exactly for kiddies. In fact, it's rated PG, not G like most other animated features. The PG rating is for "mild language and menacing action." They say a couple of almost-naughty words, and have a couple of almost-menacing moments.

But more than that, the script was written with adults in mind. For one, a lot of the humor derives itself from the audience's familiarity with Woody Allen. They make fun of him, right down to starting the movie with Z talking to a psychologist about why he just doesn't fit in. "I just don't feel like a worker, I can barely lift ten times my body weight." There are a couple of moments that border on sexual innuendo. And of course, they cast Grant Shaud, a move that was definitely not made with children in mind.

The strength of the film is in the voice acting. Besides Woody's perfect freakish sound, Danny Glover, Christopher Walken and Gene Hackman stand out as excellent preformances. And extra-special kudos must be given to Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin, who turn in a marvelous performance as the Mr. and Mrs. Howell (from Gilligan's Island) of the insect kingdom. And then of course, there's Grant Shaud.

The only performances which didn't work for me were those by Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone. They both had moments where I heard actors talking into a microphone as opposed to insects dealing with the problems of everyday insect life.

Still, it was a remarkably worth-while movie. A far cry better than a lot of the junk we've been subjected to of late. I'm giving Antz 3 1/2 Babylons. A lot of fun, but you won't be killing yourself if you miss it. Pick it up on video, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

The Ants go marching two by two, Hurrah! Hurrah! The Ants go marching two by two, Hurrah! Hurrah! The Ants go marching two by two, The little one stops to tie his shoe And they all go marching down, To the ground, To get out of the rain, Bum...bum...bum...

Editor's Note:

He has been singing that children's ditty ever since he saw the movie. I think I'm going to have to kill him soon.

Rated: PG
Directed By: Eric Darnell and Lawrence Guterman.
Starring: Grant Shaud.

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