Antz is a 1998 American computer animated adventure comedy film produced by Pacific Data Images and released by DreamWorks Pictures. It features the voices of well-known actors such as Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, and Danny Glover as various members of an ant society. Some of the main characters share facial similarities with the actors who voice them.
Antz is the first animated film, as well as the first CGI-animated film, by DreamWorks Animation and the second computer-animated film released in the United States after Pixar's Toy Story and before A Bug's Life, another Pixar film, also featuring ants. The film was originally released to theatres on October 2, 1998 (almost two months before A Bug's Life).
Z-4195, or "Z" for short, is a neurotic and pessimistic worker ant who longs to express himself. Z falls in love with the ant colony's princess, Bala, when she visits a bar to escape her suffocating royal life.
The ant colony declares war on an encroaching termite colony and a large force of soldier ants is mobilized for an attack. To see Bala again, Z exchanges places with his soldier friend Weaver and joins the army, where he befriends Barbatus, a staff sergeant. Z is unaware that the army's leader and Bala's fiancé General Mandible is secretly sending the soldiers loyal to the Queen Ant to die so he can stage a coup. At the base of a tree near nightfall, Z realizes he is marching into battle. Everyone except Z is killed by acid-shooting termite defenders. Before dying, Barbatus tells Z to think for himself instead of following orders.
Z returns home and is hailed as a war hero. Secretly irate, Mandible congratulates him and introduces him to the Queen. There he meets Bala, who eventually recognizes him as a worker. Z panics and pretends to take Bala hostage, causing him and Bala to fall out of the anthill via a garbage chute. Z decides to search for Insectopia, a legendary insect paradise. Bala attempts to return to the colony but quickly rejoins Z after encountering a praying mantis.
News of the incident spreads through the colony, and Z's act of individuality inspires the workers and some soldier ants, halting productivity. To gain control, Mandible publicly portrays Z as a self-centered war criminal. Mandible promotes the glory of conformity and promises them a better life through the reward of completing a "Mega Tunnel" planned by himself. However, Colonel Cutter, Mandible's second-in-command, becomes concerned about Mandible's plans.
After various misadventures, Z and Bala find Insectopia, a human waste-bin overfilled with decaying food. The two of them encounter other insects, especially ladybugs, flies, and cockroaches. Bala begins to reciprocate Z's feelings. After interrogating Weaver, Mandible learns that Z is looking for Insectopia and sends Cutter to retrieve Bala and kill Z. That night, Cutter arrives in Insectopia and forcibly flies Bala back to the colony. Z finds them gone and returns to the colony.
When Z arrives, he encounters soldiers who forcibly direct him toward the Mega Tunnel. Along the way he finds Bala held captive in Mandible's office. After freeing her, she tells him that Mandible's "Mega Tunnel" leads straight to the lake (a puddle next to Insectopia) which Mandible will use to drown the Queen Ant and workers at the opening ceremony. Bala warns the ants at the ceremony, while Z goes to the tunnel exit to stop the workers but fails, and the water leaks in. Z and Bala unify the workers into building a towering ladder of themselves towards the surface as the water rises.
Meanwhile, Mandible and his soldiers gather at the surface, where he explains his vision of a new colony with none of the "weak elements of the colony". When the workers break through, Mandible tries to kill Z, but Cutter rebels against Mandible and instead helps Z and the worker ants. Enraged, Mandible tries to lunge at Cutter, but Z pushes Cutter out of the way and is accidentally tackled into the flooded colony with Mandible, who lands upon a root, dying on impact. Cutter orders the soldiers to help the workers and the Queen Ant up to the surface while he himself goes after Z. Although Z has seemingly drowned, Bala resuscitates him.
Z is praised for his heroism and marries Bala. Together they rebuild the colony, transforming it from a conformist military state into a community that values all of its members. The camera zooms out to reveal the whole story took place in the middle of Central Park, New York City.
- Woody Allen as Z-4195 "Z", an idealistic but anxious worker ant.
- Sharon Stone as Princess Bala, the Queen Ant's daughter, Mandible's fiancée, and Z's love interest.
- Gene Hackman as General Mandible, the mean-spirited and arrogant supreme commander of the ant military. He is also the fianće of Princess Bala.
- Sylvester Stallone as Corporal Weaver, a brave soldier ant and Z's best friend who becomes Azteca's boyfriend.
- Jennifer Lopez as Azteca, another friend of Z's and a worker ant who becomes Weaver's girlfriend.
- Christopher Walken as Colonel Cutter, a flying ant that serves as Mandible's patient and empathetic adviser who becomes disillusioned by the general's actions.
- Danny Glover as Staff Sergeant Barbatus, a soldier ant who befriends Z during the fight against the termites.
- Anne Bancroft as Queen Ant, Princess Bala's mother and the ruler of the ants.
- Dan Aykroyd as Chip the Wasp, a wasp whom Z befriends.
- Grant Shaud as The Foreman, the head of the worker ants.
- John Mahoney as Grebs, the Drunk Ant Scout who talked about Insectopia.
- Jane Curtin as Muffin "Muffy" the Wasp, Chip's wife.
- Paul Mazursky as Z's Psychiatrist
- Jim Cummings as one of the Soldier Ants and the One Worker Ant who informed Weaver of Z running off with Princess Bala.
- Jerry Sroka as a Bartender, the unnamed bartender of the bar that Z and Weaver frequent.
- April Winchell as Ladybug.
The cast features several actors from movies Allen wrote, starred in and directed, including Stone (Stardust Memories), Stallone (Bananas), Hackman (Another Woman), and Walken (Annie Hall). Aykroyd later co-starred in Allen's The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.
- Jack Angel as General Mandible's Soldiers
- Bob Bergen as Ant Worker #2
- Rodger Bumpass as Worker Ants
- Corey Burton as Soldier Ants
- Liz Callaway as Female Ants
- Cathy Cavadini as Female Ants
- Mitch Carter as Soldier Ants
- June Christopher as Female Ants
- Robert Clotworthy as Worker Ants, Soldier Ants
- David Cowgill as Soldier Ants
- Jennifer Darling as Female Ants
- Debi Derryberry as Female Ants
- Jonathan Dokuchitz as Worker Ants
- Paul Eiding as Ant Worker
- Chad Einbinder as Worker Ants
- Bill Farmer as Soldier Ants, Worker Ants
- Don Fullilove as Soldier Ants
- Elisa Gabrielli as Female Ants
- Jackie Gonneau as Female Ants
- Nicholas Guest as Soldier Ants
- Richard Horvitz as Worker Ants
- Rif Hutton as Soldier Ants
- Tim Johnson as Worker Ants
- Daamen Krall as Soldier Ants
- Anne Lockhart as Female Ants
- Sherry Lynn as Female Ants
- Danny Mann as Worker Ants, Termites
- David McCharen as Soldier Ants
- Mickie McGowan as Female Ants
- Paul Pape as Soldier Ants
- Patrick Pinney as Soldier Ants
- Phil Proctor as Worker Ants, Termites
- Peter Renaday as Soldier Ants
- Michelle Ruff as Female Ants
- Steve Susskind as Soldier Ants
- Brian Tochi as Worker Ants
- Arnold Turner as Soldier Ants
- Ruth Zalduondo as Female Ants
- Frank Welker and Charles Bartlett as Termites
- Dan Aykroyd and Sylvester Stallone as Bar Guys
- Sharon Stone as Bala's Friend #1
- Carol Alt as Bala's Friend #2
- Woody Allen, Albert R. Brooks and John Mahoney as Worker Ants
- Dan Aykroyd, Albert R. Brooks, Gene Hackman and John Mahoney as Soldier Ants
- Nolan North as Mosquito
- Woody Allen and Paul Mazursky as Ridgeway the Soldier
- Mischa Barton and John Mahoney as Fireplace Bugs
- Insignificantz (Main Titles)
- The General's Plan
- Princess Bala
- A Better Place
- Invitation to the Dantz
- Like Being in Love
- The New Soldier
- The New Worker
- One Survivor
- A War Hero?
- A Little Near Death Experience
- Z the Legend
- This Desert Thing
- The Worker's Rebellion
- The Plastic Wrapped Paradise
- Terror from Above
- Where's Z?
- Kidnapped by Cutter
- Bala's Hero
- A Colony in Crisis
- The Flood
- Cutter's Way
- Z Revival
- End Titles
- Give Peace a Chance
- Almost Like Being in Love - Woody Allen
- Neil Finn - I Can See Clearly Now
- Doris Day - High Hopes
- Todd Rundgren - Bang the Drum All Day [heard in the trailer]