Computer-animated comedy adventure. Lucas Nickle (voice of Zach Tyler Eisen) is a ten-year-old boy whose family has just moved to a new town, and Lucas isn't enjoying it much. He hasn't made any friends yet, his big sister ignores him, his parents (Larry Miller and Cheri Oteri) are occupied with their upcoming vacation in Mexico, and his loving but slightly crazy grandmother (Lily Tomlin) is convinced space aliens are casing out the neighbourhood. To make matters worse, the local bully has found Lucas and is making his life miserable, so the boy looks for someone he can push around - and he soon finds a large colony of ants in his yard. Lucas takes out his frustrations by stomping, drowning, and burying the bugs, not realising that the ants see him as a threat to their safety and aren't about take his attacks lying down. Zoc (Nicolas Cage) is a 'wizard ant' who creates a formula that shrinks Lucas to the size of an insect, and the tiny boy is brought before the leader of the Ant Council (Ricardo Montalban) and the Queen of the Colony (Meryl Streep) to answer for his crimes against the ants. Showing compassion, the queen sentences Lucas not to death, but to live among them and see how difficult their circumstances can be.
An all-star cast--including A-list stars such as Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep--lend their voices to The Ant Bully
, from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker John A. Davis (Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
) and producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (The Polar Express
). Social misfit Lucas gets bullied by the bigger boys in his neighbourhood, so he takes out his frustrations on the only things around smaller than him: an ant hill on his front lawn. After being flooded and stepped on, the ants fight back when ant wizard Zoc (voiced by Nicolas Cage) develops a potion that shrinks Lucas down to bug-size. But Zoc's thirst for revenge gets foiled when the ant queen (Meryl Streep) decrees that Lucas must learn to live like an ant, and Zoc's girlfriend Hova (Julia Roberts) takes up the task of teaching the unhappy boy how to value others over himself.
The animation of The Ant Bully
makes good use of scale as Lucas grapples with the gigantic world around him, but the writing is not so imaginative; the name actors are thrown away on bland characters and lackluster dialogue. The lessons Lucas learns are admirable (and amusingly Communist in flavour), but the way he learns them feels contrived and uncompelling. It's too bad, because there probably won't be many other movies featuring the combined talents of Meryl Streep and Bruce Campbell. Also featuring Ricardo Montalban (Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
), Lily Tomlin (Nashville
) and the much-underrated Paul Giamatti (Sideways
) as a sleazy exterminator. --Brett Fetzer
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.