Antz appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While not flawless, the picture offered a consistently positive affair.
Sharpness usually appeared solid. A few wide shots betrayed a slight amount of softness, but those occasions occurred infrequently. As a whole, the image remained crisp and well defined throughout the movie. Moiré effects and jagged edges demonstrated no concerns, and I saw no examples of edge enhancement. For the most part, the picture lacked many print flaws. I saw a few specks of grit, but these stayed minor.
As I noted earlier, earthy reds and browns dominated the palette. Once Z and Bala get near Insectopia, the spectrum opened up to a degree, but this largely remained a fairly monotonous affair in that regard. Nonetheless, the hues looked consistently accurate and distinct, as they showed no problems related to noise or other issues. Black levels were nicely deep and rich, while shadow detail came across as appropriately heavy but not excessively thick. Given that much of the movie took place underground, this meant lots of low-light segments, so the DVD did well in this area. Overall, Antz provided a very pleasing picture.
Also quite good was the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Antz. Since the film’s essentially a comedy at heart, I wasn’t surprised to discover a soundfield that stayed largely confined to the forward spectrum. In that domain, the music showed fine stereo imaging, while effects blended together neatly and smoothly. Those elements moved from speaker to speaker cleanly as the track created a solid sense of atmosphere. It even included a fair amount of audio from the side speakers, which offered a pleasant impression.
Surround usage generally favored reinforcement of music and effects, but the rears came to life nicely during a number of scenes. The big battle showed effective use of the surrounds, as did the other action scenes; when the water roars into the anthill, it provided an engulfing setting. The mix really helped bring the material to life.
Audio quality consistently seemed positive. Dialogue was natural and distinct, and I heard no problems related to intelligibility or edginess. Music was rich and warm throughout the movie, though I felt the songs could have featured better low-end response at times; those aspects seemed good but unexceptional. Bass stomped to life nicely during the louder scenes such the portion when Z and Bala got stuck to the bottom of a kid’s shoe, and effects always seemed clear and accurate, with no signs of distortion or other concerns. Ultimately, the soundtrack lacked “A”-level ambition, but it still offered a very solid piece of work.
(Please note that a separate DTS edition of Antz exists. Unfortunately, it fails to include most of this set’s extras.)
Antz offers a good but not tremendous smattering of supplemental materials. Best of the bunch is the audio commentary from directors Tim Johnson and Eric Darnell. The two sat together for this running, screen-specific piece. I always figured that since animators did such technical work, they would be introverts, but I clearly was wrong, at least in this case. Johnson and Darnell offer a rollicking narration for their film. They add a lot of comments about the development and creation of the project, and they create a nicely entertaining and informative track.
The remainder of the supplements seem nice but not nearly as compelling. The production featurette lasts four minutes and 25 seconds and combines some shots from the movie, behind the scenes material, and interviews with participants. We hear from directors Darnell and Johnson, producers Aron Warner and Brad Lewis, writers Chris and Paul Weitz, supervising animators Rex Grignon and Raman Hui, character TD supervisor Beth Hofer, and actors Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, and Anne Bancroft. Overall, the piece offers only a little information, as it generally presents a fluffy promotional program.
A fair amount of technical information shows up in three featurettes. Basics of Computer Animation lasts 11 minutes and five seconds. Narrated by directors Darnell and Johnson, they lead us through the various stages of animation and get a nice discussion of the evolution of the material.
Antz Character Design and Antz Facial System use the same format. The latter briefly looks at the ways they animated faces; it’s awfully short at 68 seconds, but it’s informative nonetheless. “Character” runs 10 minutes and 30 seconds and covers the development of Z, Bala, Mandible and the wasps. It’s similar to the other two, and it provides a fun and useful chat.
Finally, Antz includes some of the usual DVD staples. We get a theatrical trailer and four TV ads, the latter of which include some poorly dubbed replacement dialogue, such as "caboose" for "anus". We also find some pretty good production notes - also printed in the DVD's booklet - and a cast listing and biographies of the directors. The latter section seemed odd, since DVDs usually toss in at least rudimentary biographies and filmographies of their actors. This program simply lists the actors - isn't that what the end credits are for? - and gives us additional information on the directors. No big deal - those cast bios are frequently pretty dull - but I thought it seemed strange.
Though I don’t like it as much as A Bug’s Life, Antz gives us a moderately enjoyable and witty piece of work. The film offers some good performances and seems reasonably clever and likable. The DVD features very good picture and sound as well as a decent roster of extras. All in all, this seems like a solid DVD that comes with my recommendation.