Go to the ant, thou bully; consider her ways, and be wise! That, in a nutshell, is the lesson of The Ant Bully, a moral fable about a boy who is picked on by other children, and who vents his frustrations by attacking an anthill—until the day comes when the ants who live there strike back by sneaking into his house and shrinking him down to their size, to make him live as one of them. The screenplay, adapted by director John A. Davis from a children's book by John Nickle, is as obvious and direct as they come. But the animation is a pure delight, especially if you happen to enjoy looking at the world through a microscope.
As with last week's Monster House, so here: the story concerns a boy, in this case named Lucas (Zach Tyler Eisen), who has a fantastic adventure without leaving home, all while his parents are away on some sort of trip. Instead of a babysitter, Lucas has a teenaged older sister (Allison Mack) and a kooky grandmother (Lily Tomlin) to look after him, but the former is too busy gabbing with friends on her cell phone to pay him much attention, and the latter is a little too weird to be of any help; she is particularly obsessed with UFOs.
The ants who abduct Lucas live in a colony in the front yard of his house, and they are able to shrink him down to their size with a potion prepared by Zoc, a wizard whose voice is provided by Nicolas Cage at his most earnest. At times his performance is so out of touch with that of his co-stars that it takes you out of the movie; instead of responding to Zoc as a character, you may find yourself pondering the fact that the voices in an animated film are usually recorded separately, and you may find yourself wondering what strange contortions Cage was putting his face and ...1