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Antz is a 1997 American computer-animated adventure comedy film directed by Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson (in their feature directorial debuts) from a screenplay by Todd Alcott, Chris Weitz, and Paul Weitz. The film features the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover and Gene Hackman. Some of the main characters share facial similarities with the actors who voice them. Antz was the first film from DreamWorks Animation, and the third feature-length computer-animated film after Disney and Pixar's Toy Story (1995) and NDR Filmes's Cassiopeia (1996).

During its production, a public feud erupted between DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steve Jobs and John Lasseter of Pixar, due to the production of their similar film A Bug's Life, which was released a month later. This only worsened when Disney refused to avoid competition with DreamWorks' intended first animated release, The Prince of Egypt (1998).


Z is an anxious worker ant who chafes at conformity and the fact that everyone, even his psychiatrist, reminds him he is insignificant. While at the colony's bar one night, Z falls in love with Princess Bala when she visits the bar to escape her suffocating royal life.

The ant colony declares war on an encroaching termite colony, and soldiers are sent to engage the invaders. To see Bala again, Z exchanges places with his soldier friend, Weaver, and joins the army, where he befriends staff sergeant Barbatus. The ants are unaware that General Mandible, the army's leader and Bala's fiancee, is secretly sending the soldiers loyal to the Queen to die so he can stage a coup d'état. In the battle, everyone except Z is killed by much-larger acid-shooting termite defenders. Before dying, Barbatus tells Z to think for himself instead of blindly following orders. Meanwhile, Weaver joins the digging crew and falls in love with Z's co-worker, Azteca.

Z returns home and is mistakenly hailed as a war hero. Secretly unsatisfied, Mandible congratulates him and introduces him to the Queen. There, Z meets Bala, who 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. Now a fugitive, 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.

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, promotes the glory of conformity and promises the workers rewards for completing a "Mega Tunnel" he designed. However, Mandible's second-in-command, a flying ant named Cutter, begins to doubt Mandible's constant reassurances that he's acting "for the good of the colony".

Z and Bala come upon a human picnic, which they mistake for Insectopia. They are baffled by the wrappings on the food, but Muffy and Chip, a married couple of liberal wasps, condescendingly befriend them and try to help break the wrappers. They are disrupted by the humans, who kill Muffy with a fly swatter and attempt to squish them with a shoe. Z rescues Bala from the sneaker, and the two ants at last find Insectopia, a trash can overfilled with decaying food. Bala begins to reciprocate Z's feelings.

After interrogating Weaver, Mandible learns that Z is looking for Insectopia and sends Cutter to find it. That night, Cutter arrives at Insectopia and forcibly flies Bala back to the colony while Z is away. Seeing Z's desperation at finding Bala gone, a drunken Chip, mourning over Muffy's death, generously flies him back 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 he frees her, they both discover that Mandible's Mega Tunnel leads straight to the puddle next to Insectopia, which Mandible will use to drown the Queen Ant and the workers at the opening ceremony. Bala warns the Queen while Z attempts to stop the workers in time, but fails. Z and Bala unify the Queen and workers into building a ladder of themselves towards the surface as the water rises.

Meanwhile, Mandible gathers the soldiers on the surface and gloats he has created a new colony, where only the strong survive. When the worker ants break through the surface, Cutter turns on Mandible and rescues the worker ants "for the good of the colony". Enraged, Mandible attempts to tackle Cutter, but Z intervenes and takes the blow. He and Mandible fall back into the flooded tunnel, with Mandible striking a root and dying on impact. Z is nearly drowned, but is rescued by Cutter and resuscitated by Bala.

Z is praised for his heroism, and he and Bala become a couple. Together, they rebuild the colony, and Z narrates that he is finally content with his place in the world. The camera then zooms out to show the anthill is in Central Park in New York City.