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(Widescreen Edition)

While THE ANT BULLY ($29) is decidedly a kid’s movie designed to teach a juvenile audience a lesson, the storytelling isn’t dumbed down for the little one or made too preachy for adults to enjoy. In fact, I found myself delighted by much of the film’s CGI visual splendor, not to mention the humor, much of which greatly benefits from the vocal talents of Bruce Campbell, amongst others. The plot of THE ANT BULLY follows a young boy named Lucas, who is picked on by a much larger boy, namely a bully. Unable to vent in any other way, Lucas takes out his frustration on the colony of ants that inhabit his front lawn. Of course, CGI ants are always much more intelligent than those we encounter in the real world, and they have a plan to deal with THE ANT BULLY or "the destroyer," as they refer to him.

The ant colony’s resident wizard Zoc concocts a magical potion that shrinks Lucas to ant size, where there Queen Ant doles out the boy’s punishment- he is to learn to live as an ant and to take his place as a productive member of the colony. While Zoc is appalled by the Queen’s decision, his girlfriend Hova takes it upon herself to become the boy’s advocate and teach him the ways of being an ant. As expected, Lucas initially has difficulty fitting in, but as he comes to know the ants and begins to care about them, he finds his unique talents being put to the test, when the colony is endangered by a much larger threat. The vocal talent behind THE ANT BULLY features Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti, Zach Tyler, Regina King, Bruce Campbell, Lily Tomlin, Cheri Oteri, Larry Miller, Allison Mack, Austin Majors and Ricardo Montalban.

Warner Home Video has made THE ANT BULLY available on DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. THE ANT BULLY looks really sweet on DVD. Sharpness and image detail are just about one should expect from a new CGI film transferred to DVD- highly impressive for the NTSC format. Colors are fully saturated and completely stable. Blacks are pure, as are the whites. Contrast is very smooth and the image produces terrific virtual shadow detail. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.

THE ANT BULLY comes with competently mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that is certain to please, but comes up a little bit light on the wow factor. The forward soundstage is a bit more dominant than one might like, while the surrounds get the job- done offering their fair share of active effects, plus ambient sounds and musical fill. As so the bass channel, it’s solid and adds a nice bit of rumble to the proceedings. Voices are natural sounding and the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Spanish 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice extras. It Takes A Colony is a sixteen-minute look behind-the-scenes, with an animated host, which features the usual interviews and a look at the animation process. Seven brief Animated Shorts are also featured, as are Additional Scenes in various stages of completion. A Theatrical Trailer and an Ant Habitat, which is a virtual ant farm TV screensaver, close out the extras.

THE ANT BULLY is a highly likeable family film that should appeal to all members of the family. Warner does their usual top of the line job with the presentation, with everything looking great and sounding just fine. If you enjoy CGI animated feature films, you’ll want to check out THE ANT BULLY.



The Ant Bully (Widescreen Edition) (2006)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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