At a glance:
This children’s DVD has very basic CGI and a short 60 minute running time (that includes 5 tacked on old cartoons), but younger (4-6 year old) kids who don’t scare really easily will like it
An Ant’s Life is the story of three ants who meet a Queen Ant, She asks them to help her build a new nest. A big-sub plot deals with their almost helpless caterpillar friend who has fallen from his tree and is being terrorized by geckos, a praying mantis, and a spider. The animation is extremely basic and very low budget, and the constant almost-eating of our heroes may actually scare some skittish kids, but, other than that, it’s an okay half-hour of disposable entertainment for 4 to 6 year olds (I doubt if your tyke will be asking to watch it again). My daughter picked it out at the video store, thinking, perhaps, that it was the vastly superior A Bug’s Life, which she had seen before and loved. It appears that the DVD design was meant to encourage this kind of confusion.
The DVD packaging has some other problems. It purports to have a 60 minute running time, and says it also includes 5 bonus cartoons. In reality, An Ant’s Life runs for only about 30 minutes; the 60 minute running time includes these cartoons. And the cartoons are actually Beany and Cecil – from 1962! They are probably in the public domain by now – free to distribute. The fact is, they were done by Bob Clampett, one of the better Warner Brothers directors from the 1940s and 1950s, so they are a lot of fun to watch – much more fun than the feature (at least for me).
The final oddity is that Rotten Tomatoes lists this DVD as year 2006, but the actual An Ant’s Life hails from 1998, and, of course, the Beany and Cecil cartoons are from way earlier. So there are quite a few problems with false advertising here.
Does anyone care? I included this review for those parents who would like to know what they are buying/renting. You can pay 10 bucks for this and you’ll be rewarding all that false advertising. My suggestion? Avoid these insects like the plague (of locusts)!