Ant Bully (2006) – movie review

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Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring: Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti, Zach Tyler Eisen
Director: John A Davis

Lucas or Peanut (Zach Tyler) as his mum calls him is a young boy who is targeted by the neighbourhood boys and bullied by one fat boy in particular, the ringleader. Feeling miserable most of the time he takes his frustration out on an ants nest in the middle of his family’s front lawn, usually with the garden hose. (No drought orders in force here). The ants call him ’The Destroyer’ and one wizard ant Zoc (Nicholas Cage) is working on a potion that will shrink The Destroyer to their size so he can be made to answer for his crimes against ‘ant’ society. At long last the ultimate and final ingredient completes the magical potion and the ants deliver it covertly into The Destroyer while he is sleeping.

Now minimized, he is kidnapped and brought before the queen ant (Meryl Streep). Instead of being sentenced to death and eaten by the ants he is forced into hard labour to learn to be an ant and work for the good of the colony mainly foraging for food which most of us know ants do only too well! Thus our unlikely hero starts to become a reformed character and is taken under the wing of Hova (Julia Roberts), a charismatic female ant whose wisdom and knowledge rub off on Lucas.

Produced by Tom Hanks, THE ANT BULLY is a simple but charming tale of good versus evil that builds into an ‘epic battle of tiny proportions’. It’s very entertaining with many laughs along the way and will keep the kids thoroughly amused, managing as well not to leave the accompanying parents bored and longing to stampede to the nearest exit for some fresh air.

The movie ingeniously exploits and melds the different ways ants think as many, to the way humans think as individuals and how fast the ants adapt learning from Lucas who gradually comes round to a different way of thinking and then takes the lead.

Seeing all those ants on screen may make you itchy, just don’t leave any food lying around!

4 out of 6 stars