An individualist ant saves his colony. [ Antz credits: Dir: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson/ (voices of) Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman/ 87 min/ Animated, Action-Adventure/ Individualism]
“The film is pervaded with a self-consciously individualist tone.”
Ants are collectivist by nature. Throughout their lives, they work and die for the colony, mindlessly sacrificing themselves for the greater good. However, the protagonist ant at the center of this animated tale, named Z, doesn’t want to subordinate himself to the greater good. And that twist forms the basis for Antz.
Z’s adventure begins when he, a worker ant, switches places with an army ant to see what army life is like. Soon he learns that the evil general of the army ants is secretly planning a coup to be followed by genocide for the “inferior” worker ants. A self-possessed individualist ant like Z isn’t about to let that happen, but it will take all his courage — as well as loyal friends — to prevent catastrophe.
On the whole, these events are pervaded with a self-consciously individualist tone. The word “individualism” even comes up a time or two. This political angle isn’t entirely consistent (it’s even bizarrely declared at one point during the fight against the general that “the workers control the means of production!”) but there’s enough here to be of interest to libertarians.
As entertainment, Antz is a fair watch. Like the earlier Toy Story, it’s a computer-animated film and some of these animated effects are impressive. It also has some cute bug characters. However, this film is fairly predictable and I found Z’s Woody-Allen-type neurotic personality (vocally portrayed by Allen himself) a little tired. Nonetheless, it has some libertarian content and those more forgiving of the flaws mentioned may like it even better.