Synopsis of Movie

“There you have it: your basic boy-meets-girl, boy-likes-girl, boy-changes-the-underlying-social-order story.”

DreamWorks threw its hat into the animation ring with its first cartoon feature, 1998’s all-CGI Antz. Recruiting an all-star cast led by Woody Allen, the studio spared no expense in trying to break Disney’s near-monopoly on the animated film market. In addition to Allen, the voice cast included Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Danny Glover, Jennifer Lopez and other top-level talent.

In the film, Allen plays Z-4195, a neurotic worker ant who wonders why everything he does has to be for the good of the colony. Soon, Z is questioning every aspect of his drone-like life, including the fact that every ant dances the same catatonic line dance at the local bar. Z breaks loose with a few moves of his own, impressing his dance partner, the beautiful (we assume) Princess Bala, who’s slumming.

Bala is engaged to General Mandible, a warmongering army ant who has convinced the Queen to build a giant tunnel toward a new colony. When Z learns who his dance partner really is, he cooks up a scheme to switch places with best buddy Weaver, a muscular soldier, in order to catch Bala’s eye at a parade the next day. Z’s timing couldn’t have been worse. Mandible has again twisted the Queen’s will, getting her authorization for a war on the termites. Z is caught up in a grisly battle, returning to the colony as the sole ant survivor.

The ants hail Z as a hero, but Bala knows the timid bug’s true identity. When Z overhears Mandible’s real plans, he kidnaps Bala for a journey to “Insectopia,” a fantastic world up on the surface. Back in the colony, Z has become a legend for the masses, but Mandible’s sinister scheme hasn’t quite been foiled yet.

In what may or may not have been a coincidence (depending on whose version of the story you believe), Antz hit theaters less than two months before Disney’s own CGI insect movie, A Bug’s Life. As it turned out, the dueling bug pictures had little to fear from each other. A Bug’s Life was a huge holiday hit, no surprise from the Disney/Pixar teaming that had produced Toy Story two years earlier. While it didn’t do as well as its counterpart, Antz went on to become the biggest non-Disney animated feature in history (a title that changed hands twice more in the next few months, from Rugrats: The Movie to DreamWorks’ second animated feature, Prince of Egypt). Clearly, the animation market was big enough for multiple players.

Movie Release History

1998 - Antz

Movie Sub Categories


Movie Studio

DreamWorks, Pacific Data Images


Z-4195 Woody Allen
Chip Dan Aykroyd
Queen Anne Bancroft
Muffy  Jane Curtin
Barbatus  Danny Glover
General Mandible Gene Hackman
Azteca Jennifer Lopez
Grebs, Drunk Scout John Mahoney
Psychologist Paul Mazursky
Foreman Grant Shaud
Weaver Sylvester Stallone
Princess Bala Sharon Stone
Colonel Cutter Christopher Walken
Voices Jim Cummings
Voices April Winchell
Voices Jerry Sroka

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