The Ant Bully

Cover Art/Menu: 7/10
The cover is fun and colorful, yes, but it’s almost more exciting than the movie. (dare I say) It’s appropriate and expected, so nothing much to talk about. It does have a cover that slips on that has the effect thing where you tilt the box and parts of the picture disappear and reappear. I’m not 5 years old, so it didn’t do much for me. The menus are animated and fit in the whole package. It’s all just kind of dulled down kid fun, nothing special unfortunately.

Features: 5/10

  • 7 Animated Shorts – There are a few little bonus animated bits. It’s only a few minutes all together though, so it’s not a great addition to the DVD, but it’s fun, and hey, ain’t that what it’s all about?
  • Additional Scenes – This is a collection of cut scenes that are not finished completely, so the fun is in seeing behind the process of making a computer animated feature. We get to see the rough sketches, so to speak, of what does finally become a cool looking final animated film.
  • It Takes A Colony Featurette – This is most certainly designed for some kind of TV presentation, but hey, it’s still informative and interesting. One of the funniest characters interviews the director and they discuss the process of making the movie along with showing some of the voice talent behind the main characters. It’s a few minutes long so it’s a fair bonus, and it does show the whole gang of animators and how they work.
  • Ant TV Screensaver – I’m sure you won’t be shocked to know I didn’t check this one out. I figure it’s pretty self explanatory 🙂

The Movie: 7/10
The Ant Bully is a full-on fun fest, for sure! It looks great. Well, it’s got that TV computer animation look about it kind of, not that that’s bad. It’s just not as polished as I think some people expect from a full feature these days. I personally like it that way. It’s a somewhat smaller film with some big name voices, and a lot of heart. I know that sounds corny but it’s that kind of story. We have seen ant movies before, yes, and the whole “we have to work as a team” thing comes once again in this one. I guess it’s hard to make a movie about ants that varies from that theme

We meet the boy lead as he is being bullied by some jerk off kid. Our boy then turns and abuses an ant hill to vent some of his pent up frustrations. I know it sounds a bit shallow, but go with it. These are not ordinary ants, they sound like Nicolas Cage and Julia Roberts, oh and Ricardo Montalban… how weird. The wizard ant, Cage, takes on the mission of bringing the “Destroyer” down to the ants’ size. With a drop of potion to the ear, the boy shrinks down to be even smaller than the colony folks.

They take the boy to face ant justice, but his sentence, given by queen ant Meryl Streep, is to become an ant. To learn to work with a team and not think only of himself. So the adventure begins. He is entrusted to a young woman ant who tries to coach him into being less selfish and strong headed, but he fights it all the way.

There are bad guys in the story, of course, the mosquitoes who terrorize the colony, not to mention Paul Giamatti, the exterminator. But, with some team work and quick thinking by the tiny human, maybe things will be ok….maybe.

They go on adventures through the giant blades of grass in the yard and then the perils of the human’s nest, inside the house. It’s always cool to see our environment from another perspective once in a while.

The style of the animation is more cartoony than other animated features we have seen in the past few years, but the attention to detail isn’t lost in the process. Each blade of grass and every ant has its own distinct look and personality. I would like to watch it again just to notice all the background details that I’m sure I missed the first time around.

I mentioned the voices are by big Hollywood stars. Well, it’s all good to hear these people in a kid feature, but the truth is, the only three voices that stood out to me as fitting their parts and not just being there for the sake of being a big star were Cage. Giamatti, oh and Bruce Campbell. Campbell is great as a voice on screen. These three seemed to get into their parts and not just rely on their famous voices to get them through. I barely recognized Roberts, so she was kind of lost in the fray. Who can mistake Montalban, he’s a classic, but Streep, could have been exchanged for another famous voice and not really been missed.

I would say that over all the Ant Bully is a great kid movie that will be watched many times by every kid who gets their sticky little paws on it. Grown ups will watch once and possibly enjoy it but not need to revisit the ant hill again.

Value: 9/10
Wow, you can get the standard version of this DVD for around 8 bucks. THAT’S A MIRACLE! I want everyone in the DVD world to take notice. This is a family friendly, fun movie that kid will watch over and over and over. It’s so worth the money. It’s better to buy this one than to bother renting for sure. You can even get the HD and Blu-Ray versions for around $17-$18, so no matter what you are getting a bargain. Geez, I never thought I’d be saying that about a DVD..haha

Overall Score 7/10