The Ant Bully (2006)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-It Takes a Colony
Short Film-7 animated shorts
Screen Saver-Ant Habitat
|Year Of Production||2006|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (46:57)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||John A. Davis|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hebrew Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Icelandic Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, jelly beans anyone?|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Animated children's films are flooding the marketplace these days due to the success of films like Cars, Toy Story, Shrek, Ice Age and many more. Just lately there have been quite a few which could only be described as mediocre or worse such as Hoodwinked, Arthur and the Invisibles, The Wild and this film. This one came about due to Tom Hanks reading a children's picture book to his kids and thinking it would make a good movie. Accordingly, he rang John Davis, director of Jimmy Neutron, who readily agreed to work on the film. This film certainly has an interesting premise, a quality voice cast and technically excellent animation. Unfortunately, it doesn't have much in the way of heart and soul. Additionally, the darkness of some parts of the story would be a bit much for the core pre-schooler/infant school audience. Another weakness for the younger kids is that the humour is quite restrained, highlighting the drama.
The plot is based upon the aforementioned children's book of the same name and involves a young boy, Lucas, who is constantly being picked-on and bullied by a gang of kids. As he is not strong enough to fight back, he takes his frustrations out on an ant's nest in his front yard. He turns the hose on them, kicks the nest apart and uses the 'dreaded yellow rain'. Zok (Nicolas Cage), an ant magician, determines to take revenge by developing a potion which will shrink Lucas down to the size of an ant. Once Zok succeeds, Lucas must learn to become one of the ant colony with all the associated responsibilities such as teamwork, protecting the colony and doing your job. As Lucas adapts he makes friends with some of the ants including Zok's girlfriend, Hova (Julia Roberts), and a wacky scout ant, Fugax (Bruce Campbell ). He must prove himself to Zok and the colony if he wants to return to his world.
Positives in this movie include the wonderfully realised world of the ants, especially their perspective on human beings, and the fact that for once 'the message' is underplayed in an American children's film. Also the wonderful score by John Debney which was Annie nominated. On the other hand the characters are generally unappealing except Fugax who absolutely steals the show. There is also some dodgy ant spirituality which makes you wonder whether they have been reading some of the stuff Tom Cruise has been getting into.
Generally, I would suggest parents look elsewhere for animated pleasures for their little ones but it might appeal to primary school age children.
The video quality is excellent.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, which is the original aspect ratio. The case wrongly lists the aspect ratio as 2.35:1.
The picture was extremely sharp and clear with excellent detail in the world of the ants. There was no evidence of low level noise.
The colour was stunning as befits an animated feature in these times.
There were no noticeable artefacts.
There are subtitles in English, English for the hearing impaired, Icelandic & Hebrew. They are clear and easy to read.
The layer change occurs at 46:57 and was not visible during playback.
The audio quality is very good bordering on excellent.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s and the same in Icelandic & Hebrew.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.
The score of this movie by John Debney is very good, adding drama and appropriate lightness as required.
The surround speakers were very well used adding insect noise, directional dialogue and an wonderful level of immersion.
The subwoofer was also well used simulating the ground shaking as humans came near the nest and also the crash landings of larger insects.
|Surround Channel Use|
A decent selection of extras are included however none of them could be described as earth-shattering. The case is incorrect in saying that the disc contains 10 different shorts as there are only 7 available from the menu. There is also a typo in the naming of one extra (see below).
The menu included motion and music and is generally very well designed.
A short making of featurette, hosted by one of the characters from the movie and focusing on an interview with the Director. The big name voice stars are noticeable by the absence either in behind the scenes footage or interviews. The Director discusses the development of the project, Tom Hanks' involvement, voice casting, storyboarding and the animation team. Not bad. Presented non-16x9 enhanced.
This sub-menu includes seven promotional shorts which would have been used to promote the film. They are not included in the film itself but are generally funnier and more engaging than anything in the film. Presented non-16x9 enhanced. They are:
This is a TV screen saver which repeats endlessly, showing ants in a children's toy colony. Miss-spelt on the slick and presented non-16x9 enhanced.
Most of these scenes do not have completed animation and others are only storyboards. The first one is the best about new baby ants being born and categorised. One scene which better introduced the exterminator should have been kept in as it would have helped his approach to Lucas make sense. Presented non-16x9 enhanced.
An amusing trailer featuring various insects auditioning to be ants.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This movie is released in the same format in Region 1, although there are Blu-Ray & HD DVD versions available in the US.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is very good.
Decent set of extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer|