The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 2, 1998 -9
BUGZ IN LOVE
Clark's 'Confession' spills
Antz'iznt just a kidz
*cartoon, it'z alromanze
Exhilarating, frightening and
extremely intriguing, Robert Clark's new
novel "Mr. White's Confession" is a tale
no one should miss. The story opens as
Wesley Horner, a hardened police detec-
tive, is simply waiting to die, his exis-
tence empty and unrewarding. As in all
detective thrillers, a murder abounds.
A young dancer, about the same age
as Homer's runaway daughter, is mur-
dered and Homer vows to find the killer
in an attempt to make up for his soured
relationship with his child. Herbert
White, a seemingly slow-witted recluse
with a sporadic memory, is immediately
By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Arts Writer
Everyone knows Woody Allen
likes younger women, so it
shouldn't surprise anyone that in
his latest movie he's seeking
Sharon Stone. Well, sort of.
"Antz," which stars Allen as the
voice of Z and Stone as the voice
of Princess Bala, is essentially the
story of boy ant meets princess
ant. Boy ant falls in love with
and Ann Arbor 1& 2
Life" on the
they fight and
ever after. It's
i n s e c t
to being a
c o m e d y,
"Antz" is the
(with a third
palace and slum it in a workers'
bar. The pair meets and dances,
leading to Z's infatuation with the
At the same time this is hap-
pening, General Mandible (voice
of Gene Hackman) and Colonel
Cutter (voice of Christopher
Walken) are planning the over-
throw of the Queen (voice of Ann
Bancroft). In order to achieve
this, the General is sending all the
Queen's troops into an
unwinnable war with the termites.
Z, who wants to get close to the
princess, convinces his best
friend and soldier Weaver
(Sylvester Stallone) to let him
take his place on a trip to the
palace, not knowing the general is
about to send them to war.
At this point, it's easy to realize
that "Antz" is not a kids' movie.
The war scene, where Z is the
only soldier to survive, is scary
and intense. The fact that anima-
tion is traditionally a genre for
children makes this scene even
more haunting. Seeing the bat-
tered and decimated corpses of
termites is not only one of the
classic anti-war statements, but is
While Z returns to the colony
as a hero, if not a little stunned by
what he's experienced, all he real-
ly wants is Princess Bala. He
achieves this by accidentally kid-
napping the princess and ending
up outside of the colony.
Here the movie becomes fairly
traditional, with Z leaving for
good, searching for Insectopia.
Princess Bala ends up following
him, and the pair eventually fall
in love. What they don't know is
that General Mandible is still
going ahead with his plan to con-
quer the colony, and that Princess
Bala is essential to that plan.
Z is the typical Allen character
- a neurotic, city dweller who's a
total romantic at heart. Allen's
defeated voice is perfect, espe-
cially when he tells the aggressive
princess that she lost her starring
role in his most erotic fantasies,
or when he informs her, "Let me
be pessimistic for both of us."
Sure, "Antz" doesn't break any
new story ground, but it
isn't trying to.
Instead, "Antz" is
just a simple, sweet
that delivers in both
areas. To say that
the movie is funny
is a complete
- "Antz" is a
riot. It's sexual
sense of humor
and satire of group
dynamics will surely
appeal more to parents
than children - those in
the audience just didn't get it.
"Antz" does, however, mark a
turning point in the field of anima-
tion. This is the final proof that
Disney no longer has a monop-
oly on animated films. This
can only mean good things
for the genre: The quali-
ty of the films will
ofl have to go up to keep
esy of Dreamworks audiences interested.
Tonight at 8
targeted as the
There is not
to bring White to
trial, however, and
the case is put on
the back bumer.
to the usual rou-
tine of hustling
Maggie, a 16
He finds himself
Courtesy of Gary Benson
Robert Clark's new novel, "Mr. White's
Confession," will intrigue mystery fans.
until he finds an inconsistency in a fel-
low officer's conduct. The plot takes a
dizzying series of turns and gathers
momentum as it comes to a satisfying, if
somewhat predictable close.
The real strengths of the book lie not
in the plot, itself, but in the development
of the principle characters: Wesley,
Maggie, Herbert White and Welshinger,
Wesley's fellow officer. Clark develops
his characters by telling the story from
two different perspectives - those of
Wesley and White.
Wesley's story is told in the form of a
second person narrative and sounds face-
tiously reminiscent of cliched detective
stories. The cops speak flippantly and act
tough, and they seem to move in an infer-
no populated by the dregs of society.
Welshinger is also included in
Wesley's narrative. He begins the book
as a hardened, thoroughly unfeeling cop,
and elicits no sympathy from the reader.
Clark said that he wroe \\lshi"ger'
character as -the embodient of c i
By the end of the book .though. he gets
tired of being evil and begins to become
worn down by his role. T-here is no jo in
his 'job' anymore, and he become atro-
phied. His life is a sapping out and he
becomes like the walking dead a vir-
tual lack of becing.," Wecdey. Aggie and1
Weclsinge1"r add huma .n emotion and
moral questions to the mrther banal plot
of an otherwise cliche detective story.
Then there is Nhite's story which is
told from a first-person perspecim e: The
reader comes to understand and
empathize with White readng his
journal entries. Whte intended the jour-
nal to be a record of his d:ily activities to
make up for the gaps in his memory. H is
writing style is fussy, almost stereotyp-
cally feminine in its use of language.
Clark describes W hit-e as "a 1 9th
Century man living on the cusp of the
At first, the entnes convince the read-
er that White is a simple man with
almost child-like emotions. The dignity
with which White accepts his situation
and takes the blame for the crime, how-
ever, creates a greater respect ftr \\ hite
in the mind of the reader. (lark said that
he intended White to be the antithesis of
Welshinger. "He's a better person than al
of us. He has a sense of wonder and inno-
cence, however disturbing, and reminds us
of the trials of human condition."
What seems to be a t. pical detecre
story on the surface is really a moral
commentary on the nature of good and
evil. The characters' interactions raise
questions of normalcy, desire, innocence
and deviance. Robert Clark successfully
contends that "evil doesn't really exist: it
is simply the absence of good."
drawn to her despite insistent inner
protestations of morality, and her youth
and vivacity begin to revive and heal his
numbed heart. Suddenly, another dancer
is murdered, and this time the clues that
point to Herbert White are concrete.
Wesley thinks that he has solved the case
fhanksgiving), following "Toy
Story." While the film and story
simply aren't as good as "Toy
Story"'s, "Antz"'s computer ani-
mation is light years ahead.
At times it is hard to
tell if thle scene is
Oim pre s- 4.
s i v e ;
m ov ie *
e v e n >«
travel while stuck to the bottom
of someone's shoe is an exercise
in just how far computer anima-
tion has come.
This animated romp tracks Z, a
worker ant in therapy, who hopes
to break out from his structured
existence. He does this with the
help of Princess Bala. One night,
she decides to escape from the
It was a treacherous journey. At any minute, they could get wet.
But it was all worth it, in order to get a fresh perspective.
Woody Allen provides the voice of 'Z.