Sparky: Animation from DreamWorks SKG — 1999 - 2000 CENow we've already looked at Price of Egypt so we'll skip that:
|Produced by||Penney Finkelman Cox, |
|Written by||Todd Alcott, |
|Starring||Woody Allen, |
|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams, |
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Distribution LLC|
|Released||October 2, 1998|
|Running time||83 min.|
Antz is a computer animated film produced by DreamWorks, released in 1998. It features the voices of well-known actors such as Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Anne Bancroft, Gene Hackman, and Christopher Walken as various members of an ant society. Some of the main characters share facial similarities with the actors who voice them.
The setting for the story is an ant colony in Central Park in New York City. The protagonist (voiced by Woody Allen) is an ant named Z-4195, or Z for short. Z is a neurotic and individualistic soul living in a society that values strength and conformity. Z dreams of a better place where he can truly be himself, and upon hearing a drunk talking about Insectopia, he becomes convinced the place exists. During the same night Z meets Princess Bala in the bar and they dance together. Z has no idea who she is and falls madly in love with her. When he discovers her true identity, he begs and pleads his best friend Weaver, a soldier ant, to trade places with him for just one day, so that he can meet the princess again. Weaver agrees, unaware that the military ruler of the colony, General Mandible is planning on sending The Queen's army to war against the vicious termites.
Z believes he is going for a mere royal inspection, but General Mandible orders all the troops to war. Z ends up fighting with the termites in a night battle. Z is the only survivor of the terrible battle and makes his way back to the colony. Upon his return, Z is hailed as a war hero, and General Mandible congratulates him on his valiant efforts. When Z is presented to The Queen and Princess Bala, he accidentally reveals his love for Bala. The Queen is furious and orders Z's arrest, Z then steps back and falls down the rubbish chute, grabbing Bala as he does so. They are both stranded in the desert, and Z begins his journey to Insectopia, along with Princess Bala. Word has spread throughout the colony and the workers refuse to work. Instead they take up a protest march, demanding individualism and choice. General Mandible stands upon a balcony and portrays Z as a villain who does not care for the workers. Upon making this speech, Mandible notices Weaver amongst the worker crowd and orders him bought to his office. General Mandible has Weaver beaten to a pulp and asks him where Z would flee to. Weaver refuses to speak up and so Mandible begins to torture him, even though he is an innocent worker. Weaver can take no more, and replies "Insectopia". Mandible sends out his most loyal and trusted officer Colonel Cutter to locate Princess Bala and kill Z.
Meanwhile Z and Bala have found Insectopia, and Bala starts to reciprocate Z's feelings. Just as the couple get cosy in the insect paradise, Cutter intrudes and recaptures Bala. Z escapes Cutter, but turns back towards the colony to rescue Bala. Bala, upon returning is not taken to her mother, but taken to General Mandible. There he starts to rave about washing away the filth of the colony and starting a new pure colony. Mandible orders Bala to be locked up while he puts his plan into action. Z returns, rescues Bala from captivity, and uncovers the general's plans to eliminate the Queen and the workers by flooding the colony using a worker tunnel, leaving his pure race of ants to rule the colony. Z and Bala rush to save the colony but they are too late. The colony has been flooded and Mandible has fled with his troops. Z calls upon the workers to make a ladder so they can break through the colony roof and avoid drowning. As the ladder is formed, Weaver holds it up by himself, ordering Z to reach the top and break through. Z achieves this, and the workers break through to Mandible's speech. Z begs for help and Mandible grabs a spear, determined to finish off the ant that has caused him so much grief. Cutter steps forward and knocks Mandible aside. Cutter, tired of his friend's cruelty, helps Z up to safety. Mandible is furious and charges at Cutter to attack him, but Z pushes the colonel aside and it is he who Mandible knocks over. Z and Mandible both fall into the colony, whilst Cutter and the soldiers help the workers up to safety. Then Cutter dives down into the watery colony to save Z. Mandible and Z have an underwater fight ending with Cutter's interference; Cutter grabs Z and flies up to safety, leaving General Mandible to his watery grave.
Z is hailed a hero and marries Bala, the colony is rebuilt and Cutter is promoted from colonel to general. The colony is transformed from a hard military state that values conformity to a democratic state that values individualism.
Its cinematic release was somewhat overshadowed by Pixar's A Bug's Life, which was also a computer animated film based on the adventures of a misfit ant who falls for the princess of the colony. Antz is not as child-centric as A Bug's Life. It deals with slightly more complex themes, including conformity and war, and its imagery is less colorful and more realistic; for example, the ants' coloration is orange-brown rather than bright blue and the ants in Antz have six extremities (four legs and two arms) rather than four. The film shows the transition of the colony from an autocracy to a democracy. General Mandible's plan to "wash away the filth of the colony" is reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's "Final Solution."
Film poster for Chicken Run
|Directed by||Peter Lord |
|Produced by||Nick Park |
|Written by||Peter Lord |
|Starring||Mel Gibson |
|Distributed by||Pathé (Europe) |
DreamWorks (North America)
|Released||June 21, 2000|
|Running time||84 min|
|Budget||$42,000,000 USD (estimated)|
Chicken Run tells the humorous story of a band of chickens who seek escape from their coop before their owners, mild-mannered farmer Mr. Tweedy and his overbearing wife, make them all into chicken pot pies. The film is an homage to the World War II prison films of the 1950s and 1960s (particularly The Great Escape and Stalag 17), but it alludes to numerous other films, including Braveheart, the Indiana Jones films, and Star Trek.
The star roles in the movie are those of Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha), a hen who has absolute faith that the chickens can fly out of the coop if only they train hard enough, and Rocky Rhodes (voiced by Mel Gibson), a rooster whom Ginger believes can fly, but who keeps the secret of his flightlessness from her for much of the film. Mrs. Tweedy (voiced by Miranda Richardson) is the nefarious, grasping farm wife whose exasperation at low profits from egg sales leads her to reinvent her farm as a chicken pie factory.
The film proved a success with both children and adults, and showed that Peter Lord and Nick Park had the ability to handle the technical and writing challenges posed by a feature film, and thereby serving as a test bed for the 2005 movie outing for Wallace and Gromit, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
- The film spoofs Star Trek at one point where Mac says "A 'cling-on' (read "Klingon") Cap'n, and the engines can't take it!"
- The kazoo march has become popular with high school bands.
- A Chicken Run video game was released for the Sega Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, PC, and Sony Playstation. The game featured stealth-based gameplay, much like the Metal Gear Solid series.
Joseph: King of Dreams is an DreamWorks animated film based on the story of Joseph in the Bible. It tells the story of a boy with an extraordinary gift of seeing visions of the future who is born to a family with twelve sons. Joseph is the favorite of his father, Jacob, inciting his brothers' jealousy and hatred. When Joseph receives a beautiful coat from his parents, his brothers hate him even more and are driven to sell him to desert merchants who take him to Egypt. There he is made the servant of a wealthy Egyptian who misunderstands him and has him thrown into prison. There he shows his God-given gift by interpreting the dreams of two other prisoners. Eventually, the Pharaoh begins to be plagued by dreams and sends for Joseph, who interprets them and saves Egypt in the process. He is made second in command to Pharaoh, and has most of Egypt's grain stored. But soon his brothers arrive in Egypt to buy food because of famine, and he must try to forgive them.
Joseph: King of Dreams is directed by Rob LaDuca and by Robert C. Ramirez. It is the prequel to The Prince of Egypt, also by DreamWorks. Jeffrey Katzenberg is excecutive producer, as he was in "The Prince of Egypt".
- Ben Affleck ... as Joseph
- Mark Hamill ... as Judah
- Richard Herd ... as Jacob
- Maureen McGovern ... as Rachel
- Jodi Benson ... as Asenath
- Judith Light ... as Zuleika
- James Eckhouse ... as Potiphar
- Dan Castellaneta ... as Auctioneer/Horse Trader
- Rene Auberjonois ... as Butler
- Steven Weber ... as Simeon/Slave Trader
- Piera Coppola ... as Zuleika's servant/misc voices
Awards for Joseph: King of Dreams (2000)<>
DVD Exclusive Awards 2001 - Awards Won
- Video Premiere Award for Best Animated Video Premiere: Penney Finkelman Cox (executive producer) Steve Hickner (executive producer) Jeffrey Katzenberg (executive producer) Ken Tsumura (producer)
- Best Screenplay: Eugenia Bostwick-Singer Marshall Goldberg Raymond Singer Joe Stillman Marshall Goldberg
The movie takes place in 16th century (1519) Spain, and tells about two men named Tulio and Miguel. During a game of dice in Spain, they manage to win a map that purportedly shows the location of the legendary city of Gold in the New World. However, their cheating is soon discovered and as a result, they end up as stowaways on Cortés' fleet to conquer Mexico. They are discovered, but manage to escape in a boat with Cortez's prize war horse and eventually discover the hidden city.El Dorado is portrayed as a Utopian civilization that combines facets of the Aztecs, Mayas and Incas.
The creation of The Road To El Dorado was a challenge for the studio, as Dreamworks had devoted most of its creative efforts to its first animated film, The Prince Of Egypt. El Dorado was also plagued with a haphazard storyline, where the plot included interchanges of a children’s story and adult-themed humor.
El Dorado tells the story of Miguel (Kenneth Branagh) and Tulio (Kevin Kline). The men are Spanish scammers who, using a map they won playing dice, stowaway on legendary Hernán Cortés ship to the New World. Miguel and Tulio quickly discover El Dorado, where the natives accept them as gods. A local woman, Chel (Rosie Perez) joins their con, while the power-hungry high priest Tzekel-Kan(Armand Assante) and honorable Chief (Edward James Olmos) make other plans.
As with other animated movies, the weakeness within The Road To El Dorado lay in its ignorance of historical fact. El Dorado makes no distinction between South America and México or the ancient American civilizations of the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas.
Also, there is a confusion between the two infamous men such as Hernan Cortes who is seen in the movie to look for the city, and Gonzalo Pizarro, who actually led the original Spanish expedition for El Dorado in 1541.
If you've made it this far - leave a comment - Sparks