The 1998 animated movie Antz was released at about the same time as A Bug's Life, which is pretty strange - two computer generated animation movies about ants, released at the same time! This one stars the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman and lots of other well known actors. It's about a worker ant, Z, who wants to be free from his shackles and lead an exciting life. Through some mostly hackneyed plot devices, he saves the colony, gets the girl, and lives on in Insectopia.
Z, voiced by Allen, is, surprisingly enough, a neurotic little ant who dreams of better things. He runs into Princess Bala (Stone) when she's slumming it in a local dive. He then gets involved in a suicide mission, survives, runs away with the initially reluctant princess, and heads for Insectopia. The evil General Mandible (Hackman) tracks him and the Princess down, and brings them back, whereupon they save the colony from his evil scheme.
And yes, it is as by-the-book as it sounds, right down to the neurotic Allen. There are a few moments of genuine hilarity, some good computer animation, and some interesting side characters. But it just all seemed too pedestrian in the end for me. And even the animation seemed a little less than cutting edge. Having seen the vibrant work of some anime films, along with Shrek, it seemed static and glossy.
The DVD is packed with extras, although I haven't sampled too many of them. It is, of course, a pristine picture, and has some pretty neat effects, especially when it has to do with water. The younger kids will like it as much as the older ones, so it is a good rainy day rental.