The Ant Bully John A. Davis

We’ve all been the person so frustrated with being pushed around that right or wrong, we take out our frustrations on someone smaller, actions possibly morphing into the childhood pastime of massacring innocent ants. Therefore, a film such as The Ant Bully is a no-brainer. In this day and age of morality-preaching children’s flicks, it’s time we saw things from the lowest common denominator’s perspective. Surely that will induce pity, reflection and compassion into our otherwise desensitised minds, no? Such is the intention of this little slice of ethos. Town newbie Lucas Nickle is picked on by Steve, the local bully. Frustrated, he unleashes on the colony of ants in his backyard until they retaliate by using a potion to "bring him down to size.” The ants basically abduct the brat, forcing him to live in their world until he understands their point of view. Enter pest control guy Stan Beals and the quest is on to inject a life lesson before everything is exterminated. With various characters voiced by the likes of Julia Roberts, Nicholas Cage, Meryl Streep and Paul Giamatti, The Ant Bully is an animated blockbuster. Trouble is, these talents are too keen on their own voices. Monologues run longer than the action, the few adult-centric gags are predictable and no substantial subplot means repeating the same old point. Basic at best, this should have been a half-hour cartoon not a feature film. The Ant Bully hammers its point continually on a simple, kind of dull level, lacking the spirit, depth and ingenuity of its genre counterparts, especially when it feels like a knock-off of 1998’s Antz. Points for the stunning visuals, strong animation and great backgrounds but they only illustrate the lack of a gripping plot. Even the bare bones extra (a yawn-inducing "behind the scenes”) proves a lack of forethought everywhere with The Ant Bully. (Warner)