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"The Ant Bully" has a friend in IMAX - CinemaDave

Jul. 27th, 2006 08:49 pm "The Ant Bully" has a friend in IMAX

IMAX theatres are
now mixing entertainment with the Fort Lauderdale
Museum of Science and Discovery in Fort Lauderdale
with the premier of “The Ant Bully.” Featauring an
all star vocal line up from Julia Roberts to Ricardo
Montalban, “The Ant Bully” is an animated movie in the
mold of “Alice in Wonderland” meets “The Wizard of Oz”
with a touch of National Geographic documentary.

Lucas Nickle ( Zach Tyler Eisen) is a boy who is
victimized by a bully. Lucas takes his frustrations
out on an ant hill. The residents of the ant hill
refer to him as “Lucas the Destryoyer.” One
intelligent ant Zoc (Nicolas Cage), who dabbles in
magic potions, decides to defend the ant hill. Using
his magic potion, Roc shrinks the boy to the size of
an ant.

With an visual echo from “The Wicker Man,” Lucas is
carried into the depths of the ant hill and confronts
the Ant Queen (Meryl Streep). The Ant Queen sentences
Lucas to live as an ant. Hova (Julia Roberts) is
assigned as a social worker to Lucas. Despite being
Zoc's girlfriend, Hova enjoys teaching Lucas how to
forage for food. As Lucas comes to respect the world
of the ants, he releases that he has contacted Stan
Beals (Paul Giamatti), a sleazy bug exterminator who
takes sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing bugs.

In a cinematic world overwhelmed with animated
features, “The Ant Bully” is a standout in 3D on the
60 foot IMAX screen. Director/screenwriter John A.
Davis does a fine job with throwaway gags that support
a clear narrative. Davis marries both physical and
social sciences thematic issues with ease. The ants
reveal a culture similar to that of the Egyptians, the
use of hieroglyphics. During the end credits, the
hieroglyphics reveal the adventures of Lucas the
Destroyer in the domain of the ants.

The relationship between the vocal performances with
computer technology blends well. As Zoc, the
animators match Nicholas Cage's vocal nuances. This
is easily Julia Roberts' most interesting work since
winning her Oscar six years ago for Erin Brokovich.
As the sleazy bug killer, Paul Giamatti recreates
another comedic villainous role that he did so well in
“Howard Stern's Private Parts” and “Planet of the
Apes.”

Ricardo Montalban's involvement in “The Ant Bully”
deserves special mention. While his role is small as
the head of the ant council, the 85 year old Mexican
actor has endorsed family orientated entertainment
with his presence in films like “Spy Kids” and “Buzz
Lightyear of Star Command.” For family
entertainment, “The Ant Bully” shines as film that
will inspire healthy discussion.

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