In an anthill with millions of inhabitants, Z 4195 is a worker ant. Feeling insignificant in a conformity system, he accidentally meets beautiful Princess Bala, who has a similar problem on the other end of the social scale. In order to meet her again, Z switches sides with his soldier friend Weaver – only to become a hero in the course of events. By this he unwillingly crosses the sinister plans of ambitious General Mandible (Bala’s fiancÃ©, by the way), who wants to divide the ant society into a superior, strong race (soldiers) and an inferior, to-be-eliminated race (the workers). But Z and Bala, both unaware of the dangerous situation, try to leave the oppressive system by heading for Insectopia, a place where food paves the streets. –IMDb
Eric Darnell (born 1960) is an American director, writer, songwriter, animator and occasional voice actor. He is best known for co-directing Antz with Tim Johnson, as well as co-directing Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted with Tom McGrath.
Darnell was born in Kansas. He attended Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas, where he was a writer for the school newspaper the Harbinger. He studied broadcast journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. After graduating in 1983, he spent four years working on experimental films, which helped him get accepted into the Experimental Animation program study at the California Institute of the Arts.
He directed the music video for the 1989 R.E.M. song “Get Up”.
When Darnell graduated, he joined Pacific Data Images, where he worked as a character animator on the 1991 Hanna-Barbera Halloween special The Last Halloween. He also directed the short film Gas Planet… read more
As with Batman & Robin and Wild Wild West - two other "sure fire" blockbusters of the 1990s - it's impossible to know just who the film was intended for. As entertaining as it is, the entire thing is ill-conceived; thrown together with no real thought as to what kind of audience might approach it. Even the casting of Woody Allen (and the appropriation of his neurotic, self-deprecating persona) seems reckless; as if for once a group of Hollywood filmmakers were free to indulge their most eccentric ideas without fear of executive interference. As such, it might be the only animated kid's movie that features smutty jokes, torture as interrogation, scenes of disturbing war atrocity and a communist subtext that is earnest in nature.
For some reason, I've always loved this film. Woody Allen brings his neurotic persona into the character of Z, and the story is incredibly dark and thought provoking for "kids film." I saw this for the first time when I entered into the school system at 5. It taught me a lot about individualism and thinking outside of the box. An incredibly overlooked movie.