Woody Allen as a worker ant with an inferiority complex? Sylvester Stallone as an affable soldier ant who discovers that digging tunnels is cool? The animation playground we all knew so well is turning into a theme park full of in-jokes for grownups. Antz explores age-old topics (one person--err, insect--can make a difference, individuality and social responsibility must exist side by side, war is hell) with comic asides and Woody Allen's funniest quips this side of PG (adults will chuckle at the socialist slogans bandied about as he campaigns for workers' rights). Sharon Stone voices the rebellious princess with a fun-loving streak that doesn't quite overcome her royal bearing and court training, but she can learn. Gene Hackman is all teeth (ants have teeth?) and menacing grins as the Army general plotting insect-icide. This bug's-eye view of life on Earth gives Allen's neurotic nonconformist an epic adventure of microscopic proportions: a devastating war with a termite colony, an odyssey to the fabled land of plenty (a picnic ground), and a race to save his fellow workers from certain death. Other voices include Anne Bancroft as the Queen, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Lopez, Danny Glover, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, and John Mahoney. The computer animation isn't exactly realistic but feels as solid and contoured as puppet animation with the smoothness and slickness of traditional cel cartoons, and the character designs and animation offer a marvelous range of expressions. The PG rating includes a gritty battle sequence that may frighten youngsters. --Sean Axmaker
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