Making the Grades
It's a classic kind of "kick the dog" retaliation. Big guy picks on little guy. Little guy picks on littler guy. Being the brunt of the neighborhood bully's pranks is hard on ten-year-old Lucas Nickle (Zach Tyler) who can't defend himself against the abuse. Instead, he takes out his frustrations on the occupants of the anthill in his front yard.
But the colony living inside the bustling mound are upset when Lucas "The Destroyer" floods their dwelling, washing away their food supply and submerging major parts of their home. Fortunately, Zoc, the Wizard Ant (Nicholas Cage), has nearly completed a magical potion that will put the ants on even ground with Lucas. Calling upon mythical powers to activate the concoction, he readies the recipe that will reduce Lucas to their size.
Although Lucas shrinks, his underwear does not and the naked boy has to cover himself before facing the creature's disciplinary council. Sentenced to live as an ant by the committee's leader (Ricardo Montalban), Lucas is left in the care of a nurse ant named Hova (Julia Roberts). She, along with the help of Kreela (Regina King) a forager, and Fugax (Bruce Campbell) a scout, must teach the belligerent, bug-sized human about the importance of working together.
However, the lessons are put to the test when an even bigger threat arrives on the horizon. Stan the cigar-chomping Exterminator (Paul Giamatti) rolls to a stop in the driveway with enough chemicals to annihilate every living creature on the Nickle lawn. Attacking the intruder with military vengeance, the insects and their pesky friends target their foe's most sensitive body sites.
The warlike setting and resulting casualties, along with a frightening chase by a hungry frog create some tense moments in the film. These scenes are offset with some bathroom-type humor, veiled sexual remarks, gender comments and absentee adults.
Yet the film also includes a strong message of building a caring community where everyone watches out for the other guy. While it takes Lucas a while to warm up to the idea of cooperating, these little insects do their best to teach The Destroyer a lesson in Anti Bullying.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Ant Bully.
After being shrunk and abducted by the insects, what does Lucas learn about the ants? What does he teach the ants about human beings? Zoc thinks that yawning is disgusting. What do the ants do that Lucas finds revolting?
How does Lucas resolve his bullying issues? Are there other ways the problem could be worked out? Is might always right?
How does the film portray Lucas’s parents, his sister and his grandmother? How do these depictions reinforce the idea of Lucas being solely responsible for his own welfare?