A combination of Antz,A Bug's Life, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, this animated adventure is entertaining and surprisingly educational. Although there's plenty of humor and a number of heartfelt moments, many important messages come through about empathy, cooperation, and tolerance. Impressionable viewers may take these lessons to heart, so be prepared to put away the flyswatter and bug spray or your children just may make you feel like the small one.
This movie is intended for older children.
Many preschoolers will find it difficult to keep up with everything that's going on and will have questions about the different characters and why they're doing what they're doing. One of the funniest scenes--in which it looks like there's a huge explosion until the filmmakers pull the cameras way back to reveal a tiny puff of smoke on the lawn--will go right over most preschoolers' heads. Five-year-olds, who are fascinated by insects, will probably enjoy learning that ants have six legs and can lift ten times their own weight. They'll also listen intently when one of the ants asks Lucas, "Are you male or female? How do you tell the difference?"
Kids in this age group may be able to relate to Lucas, the victim of a bully who smirks, "What are you going to do about it? Nothing, because I'm big and you're small." They'll understand why Lucas takes out his frustration on the ants, who are smaller than he is, but they'll also start to realize the importance of looking at things from someone else's point of view. They'll love the ants' teamwork, and may start screaming out "boolya!" just like they do rather than simply giving high-fives. If you're lucky, they may even repeat the ants' mantra, "Praise the mother!"
Although tweens may find the messages a little too preachy ("It's the differences that make a colony strong."), they may laugh at much of the clever dialogue, like when Lucas' sister says he's "being a pest," and when the ants call jelly beans "sweet rocks" and cars "giant metal cocoons." They'll love the bodily function jokes, especially when one of the ants disgustedly complains that the humans "drenched the colony with the dreaded yellow rain."