Existentialism. Marx. Thomas Moore. Woody Allen. Computer generated bugs. As Seseme Street or the SAT’s would so eloquently put it, which of these does not belong? Frighteningly, and perhaps impressively, the correct answer is ‘none of the above’, as all these elements are wedded in this latest gee-whizz, full marketing speed ahead bug movie from Dreamworks.
Who would have thought that Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone and Dan Aykroyd would inhabit the same narrative space as the line ‘the workers control the means of production’? Could it be possible that this film is the most explicit anti-fascism film to be made in Hollywood since Chaplin’s THE GREAT DICTATOR? If Orwell can use pigs, why can’t Katzenberg use ants to tell the tale of individualism amongst the masses,
and of joining together as individuals to maintain a collective whole?
Of course, most of the political rhetoric will go over the antennae of most of the intended audience. Still, if we are to understand LION KING as a kick in the ass to Gen-X laissez faire types to go an get a job, then ANTZ surely must be seen as a sophisticated political commentary. Even the white guilt of a couple of buzzing Wasps leads one to the conviction that this film is a veiled attempt to infuse the public with the left wing machnations of the Hollywood elite. Or, at least, that’s how McCarthy would have put it. In the end, Insectopia is nothing more then the waste of a consumer culture – the revolution in Russia, after all, just paved the way for McDonalds and Coke.
The animation is far better then the previews led one to believe, and the story is clever enough that it’ll keep the interest of the jaded old critters as much as the larvae and maggots. ANTZ will no doubt infect theatres and video shelves for many years to come, and that’s not nearly as bad a thing as I expected it to be.