"Antz", unknown draft
A N T Z
"WASP #1".........................................DAN AYKROYD
"WASP #2".........................................JANE CURTIN
"GEN. FORMICA"...................................DANNY GLOVER
"DRUNK SCOUT"....................................JOHN MAHONEY
"PRINCESS BALA"..................................SHARON STONE
(over a dark screen)
All my life, I've lived and worked in
the big city...
EXT. AN ANT MOUND - DAY
The camera swoops towards the entrance, then dives inside,
past a couple of tough-looking soldier ants who stand at the
gates of the ant colony like insect bouncers...into an access
tunnel that snakes this way and that, past a row of ants
...and into the MAIN CHAMBER of the colony, a huge, teeming
vista that seems to stretch away forever, filled with ants
rushing here and there on their business. We see -- a
"traffic cop" directing foot traffic, waving his arms like
crazy so both sides move at once -- a column of soldier ants
marching along in formation -- a chain of ants letting down
a matchbox elevator filled with workers.
...which is kind of a problem, since
I've always felt uncomfortably in
INT. MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR'S OFFICE - DAY
We join Z, a worker ant with issues. He's lying on a couch,
recounting his woes.
I feel...isolated. Different. I've
got abandonment issues. My father
flew away when I was just a larva.
My mother didn't have much time for
me...when you have five million
siblings, it's difficult to get
I feel physically inadequate -- I've
never been able to lift more than ten
times my own weight. Sometimes I
think I'm just not cut out to be a
worker. But I don't have any other
options. I was assigned to trade
school when I was just a grub. The
whole system just...makes me
Terrific! You should feel
For the first time, we see the ant MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR.
He's a mixture of Tony Robbins and Ron Popiel (the
hyperactive late-night TV huckster, and founder of "Ronco").
YES!!! You know, people ask me,
"Doctor, why are you always happy?"
And I tell them it's mind over
matter. I don't mind that I don't
matter! Do you get it? Do you get
Z gives a fake smile.
Z, we're part of the fastest growing
species in the whole world!
The counsellor rolls down a chart from the wall. An arrow
shows ant population going up, up, up.
Ask me why we're so successful.
Why are we so successful?
I'm glad you asked me that question!
The motivational counsellor opens some blinds...and we see a
vista of the ant-filled chamber below.
What do you see out there?
Right! Ants! Millions of creatures,
each with his assigned task, all
Down below, we see a group of ants carrying a boulder up an
incline. One worker ants slips, and the boulder rolls down,
crushing his leg. The other ants rush over -- it looks like
they're going to help their fallen comrade, but instead, they
climb right over him, and pick up the boulder, continuing
with their task.
You see? Being an ant is being able
to say, "Hey -- I'm meaningless,
But -- but I've always felt life was
about finding meaning...and then
sharing it with someone special,
someone you love.
The motivational counsellor puts his arm on Z's shoulder...he
seems to understand...
Z...you need help.
(looking at a clock)
Whoops! We're gonna have to stop
there. Your minute is up!
The counsellor ushers Z out of his seat and towards the door.
Now back to work! We've made real
progress! Remember -- let's be
best superorganism we can be!
INT. EARLY MEGA-TUNNEL - DAY
A gigantic tunnel, with the size and scale of the "Chunnel".
A banner strung overhead reads: "The Mega-Tunnel -- Tunneling
Our Way to a Bright Future!" Along the walls hang 50's work-
incentive style posters with messages like, "You asked for
it, you got it -- more work!" and "TWO MEALS A WEEK IS
ENOUGH!!!" Line after line of ants is working on the tunnel,
digging, passing clumps of dirt from ant to ant, everyone
CLOSE on a clump of DIRT being passed from hand to hand.
PULL OUT TO REVEAL
AZTECA, a feisty, cynical, female worker ant, who stands
there, waiting to pass the dirt on. Z is daydreaming behind
her, with clumps of dirt starting to pile up in front of him.
Hello?! Earth to Z! You better snap
out of it, or there's gonna be a lot
of pissed off ants!
Z looks back, and sees the ants behind staring at him angrily.
(snapping out of it)
Sorry Azteca. Here you go, fellas!
Fresh dirt! Alley oop!
(looking at the dirt)
Shouldn't we be wearing gloves? I
mean this dirt is very...dirty.
Doesn't anyone think of hygiene?
(Z's stomach growls)
Boy am I hungry. I'm so hungry I'm
seeing double. It looks like there's
two million ants in here. When's
lunch? Tomorrow, or the day after?
Z, old pal...
SHUT UP!!! It's bad enough there's
a food shortage without you
complaining about it every day.
The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
No, Z. The squeaky wheel gets thrown
away, alright? You're a good ant, Z,
even though you are a pain in my rear-
segment. I don't wanna see
anything happen to you. So quit
mouthing off, before you get in
A WHISTLE BLOWS.
Thank goodness. Breaktime.
All the ants put down their tools. A beat. Then the WHISTLE
BLOWS AGAIN. All the ants pick up their tools again.
(getting back to work)
This colony needs another tunnel like
a hole in the ground. Why are we
even digging this thing?
Who cares, Z. All I know is, we
gotta dig. We're not the ones in
INT. TOWN CENTER - DAY
The huge, spacious main chamber of the colony. Looming over
the scene is the royal palace, which seems to be
inaccessible, perched on top of a hill-like pedestal.
Around the base of the pedestal, a crew of workers loiters,
seemingly aimlessly...can these be the only unemployed ants
in the place?
The workers look up and GROAN. Then they start forming a
stairway with their own bodies, linking arms, stepping on
each other's shoulders. It's extremely unpleasant work. One
ant is a little tardy, and just manages to get in place
GENERAL FORMICA, the Pattonesque military leader of the
colony, STEPS ON HIS HEAD, using it as the first step as he
ascends to the palace, his aide-de-camp Carpenter in tow. As
Formica mounts the "stairs" we can hear the workers going,
"OUCH! OOF! YIKES!" etc.
Cut the chit-chat down there!
(turning to Carpenter)
We've spoiled these workers,
Carpenter. They've never had it so
good, and listen to them -- always
grumbling and complaining...
Formica steps on the foot of one of the "stairway" ants, who
muffles a yelp.
What have they got to complain about?
Three square meals a day...
Actually, sir, we've cut them down to
three roughly rectangular meals a
Don't give me statistics, Carpenter.
I know what I'm talking about. DOORS!
Formica and Carpenter have reached the top of the staircase.
There, the two guard ants on either side of the massive
throne room doors pull them open -- and one door hinge
(to guard ant, while
Oil that, soldier.
INT. THRONE ROOM - DAY
The QUEEN is on her throne, her huge abdomen sprawled behind
Ah! General Formica.
Formica salutes and marches to her, Carpenter behind him.
Note: Throughout this scene, the Queen is giving birth
repeatedly. Each birth is accompanied by a herald playing a
short "Happy Birthday" fanfare on his trumpet. Mid-wife ants
bring each baby to the Queen for inspection, who COOS a few
words. The midwives put the babies on a moving bassinet-
line, powered by ants on a treadmill.
General, the severe food shortage
that faces the colony...pains me.
The thought of any of my children
(she shudders; then,
Who's the cutest widdle worker? You
are! Yes, you! Don't forget to
brush your teeth!
Ship 'er out.
(back to Formica)
What steps are you taking to remedy
We are launching a major offensive to
expand our foraging territory...
Yes, what else?
Please don't worry, your majesty.
Leave the worrying to me. As you
know, I'm not an ant of half-
measures. I don't pussyfoot around.
This crisis is my number one
priority, and I promise you it's
being dealt with swiftly, and
The Queen's attention is interrupted by another baby being
put in her arms.
No snacking between meals! Off you
Now -- what were we saying?
I do not recollect, your majesty.
Will that be all?
Yes, General Formica. Carry on, my
good man! I don't know what we would
do without you.
Formica clicks his heels and bows his head. Carpenter bows
low. Formica smartly about faces --
PRINCESS BALA hurries through a second doorway, carrying a
swatch book. Something about her sets her apart from the
HANDMAIDEN ANTS with her. Her tiara, probably.
Formica tilts his head quizzically to Carpenter behind him.
Princess Bala, sir. Your fiancee.
Princess! You look -- outstanding.
Is there anything I can do for you?
Well -- I thought -- since we're
getting married...it might be nice if
we...got to know one another.
Formica looks confused.
Bala has always been a hopeless
It's just that -- well, I'm honored
that you selected me, and everything,
I just thought the marriage might go
a little more smoothly if -- we had
Wasn't she briefed?
(holding up a baby)
Look, General! A darling baby
(emotionally, to baby)
Don't try to be a hero! Just make
sure you come back in one piece!
(handing it off)
I'll take your suggestion under
advisement, Princess. In the
Formica turns to go.
General -- we have to talk sometime!
Very well. Carpenter, is there a
convenient time to talk vis-a-vis:
Actually, sir, we're ahead of
schedule. We have thirty-six seconds
available right now.
Bala's a little fazed...but grabs her chance.
So, um...how was your day? What did
(scouring his mind)
I declared war!
Oh...and I was afraid we had nothing
(under his breath)
Fourteen-fifty hours, sir.
He strides across the floor. Bala watches him go, her
antennae drooping unhappily.
No squeak. Outstanding!
We see through the now-open doors into the throne-room as
Formica and Carpenter double-time out of the frame.
The Queen sees that Bala is unhappy.
I felt the same way before I got
married. Confused. Scared.
Yes -- but I did my duty and sorted
out all those messy feelings. The
wonderful thing about ant life is
that everything is arranged. Even
marriage. You're lucky -- General
Formica is a paragon of anthood.
The doors swing shut on them -- revealing the two guard ants
who were CRUSHED in the wake of Formica's exit.
INT. BALA'S QUARTERS - DAY
Bala enters, followed by her handmaidens, who are in a state
of giggling infatuation over Formica. Bala is scowling as
she leafs through a wedding catalogue.
The General's body segments are
I'd let him order me into battle
Bala hurls the swatch book against the wall.
Princess? What's wrong?
Wrong? How could anything be wrong?
I'm going to marry General Formica
and be a queen and have millions of
babies, just like my mom.
Do I look fat to you?
You just need to blow off some steam.
Let's go to the bar at the Royal Club!
The Club's so stuffy. I want to try
There isn't anyplace else --
(making a joke)
Except the worker bar.
The worker bar! Yes! That's where
I want to go!
The handmaidens look shocked.
But -- we can't -- there'll be
INT. ANT BAR - NIGHT
A long bar filled with ants. The bar itself seems to stretch
for miles, and there are hundreds of ants trying to get a
drink...unfortunately, there's only one bartender. Z is at
the bar with WEAVER, a burly ant soldier.
We declared war again?
(off Weaver's nod)
Are you scared?
I'll be back.
The BARTENDER, a grizzled veteran, slaps down what looks like
a couple of large green beer mugs. Actually, they're aphids,
little green critters he fills up from a number of kegs
hanging from the ceiling. The kegs are specialized ants with
hugely distended stomachs, which spray liquid into the aphids.
(as they're slapped
Two aphid beers.
(as Bartender leaves)
Did you see that? How he gave you
the beers, not me? I'm telling you,
he's got something against workers.
I don't know what you're talking
Come on -- everybody dumps on us
workers. You soldiers get all the
glory. Plus you get to go out into
the world, meet interesting insects,
and kill them.
Yeah, but you get to spend all day
with those fabulous worker babes.
We can see that Weaver is eyeing a nearby table of "Worker
Babes", including Z's friend Azteca.
Weaver, they're career girls.
They're obsessed with digging.
No, I'll probably never meet the girl
Who said there was a girl for you?
I was talking about a girl for me.
(quaffing his aphid
Don't you want your aphid beer?
I can't help it. I have a thing
about drinking from the anus of
another creature. Call me crazy.
Z, we've known each other a long
Of course. You were born two seconds
And all the time I've known you,
you've been grumping and groaning.
You should quit making waves. Go
with the flow.
Weaver, I'm an insect, not a liquid.
Down the bar, there's a commotion. A grizzled old SCOUT ant
has had too much to drink.
Have you been to Insectopia? Have
you? No, ya goddam larvas! But I
...Mosquitos n' caterpillars n'
beetles -- all livin' in peace,
stuffin their guts with food...No
rules, no regulations...you can be
your own ant there...
It's Insectopia! Insectopia!
Hey, Weaver, listen!
I was cut off from my unit -- found
it by mistake --
It changed my life!
soldier with saliva)
You see -- ya follow the great yellow
egg, and you come to the land of red
and white --
You've had enough for one night!
Come on, Gramps, before you get in
The soldiers pull him from the bar, carrying him out.
Hey, did you hear what he said?!
Poor guy's had one too many scouting
MUSIC STARTS UP.
INT. ANT BAR ENTRANCE - NIGHT
Princess Bala is peering in at the entrance to the ant bar,
accompanied by her worried-looking handmaidens.
We shouldn't be doing this -- it
I'm the Princess, aren't I?
Of course --
And do Princesses do improper things?
Of course not --
Then if I go to the worker bar, it
isn't improper. Anyway, don't worry.
No one will recognize us in our
She adjusts her "disguise", a hardhat, tied down Jackie O.-
style with an ant's version of a Chanel scarf.
I'm just a common worker, cooling off
after a rough day!
Music starts. An ant BARKER takes the mic at one end of the
Okay, folks. It's six-fifteen, and
that means it's time to dance.
Every ant gets up to dance. Weaver turns to Z.
(draining his beer)
Time to cut a rug, Z!
I'm not in the mood.
Even when they're off work, they
Well, you just sit here and be a
Weaver joins the rest of the ants who are lining up for the
dance. The Barker calls out the steps in a bored monotone --
all the ants already know the steps. Everyone dances in
And a left-right-quarterstep-back
step-halfstep -- a left-right-
AT THE ENTRANCE, Bala smiles mischievously at her handmaidens.
I'm going to ask one of these
mindless, primitive worker-types to
dance with me!
But General Formica would be furious!
(enjoying the idea)
The handmaidens are appalled. Bala whirls away from them,
sets her sights and searches the crowd -- zeroing in on --
Z, who's watching the other ants dance.
What a bunch of losers. Mindless
zombies capitulating to an oppressive
Bala's standing right there. Z is instantly smitten.
Me?! Yes!!! I mean --
Just let me finish my beer.
Not breaking eye contact with Bala, Z smiles suavely.
Reaches suavely for a beer. Suavely grabs the candle in a
glass jar off the bar. Suavely singes his face.
He plays it off with a rakish little laugh. A bit
apprehensive, Bala heads onto the floor. Z follows her.
So uh -- how come I haven't seen you
around here before?
I work in the palace, I don't get out
The palace, hunh? I bet those royals
really live it up. Of course they're
all a little, you know, from
Z and Bala step onto the dance floor with the rest of the
ants, but Z can't do any of the steps.
Now, let's see, I -- it's been a
while since I -- I think you --
Bala watches Z, trying to follow along. It's the blind
leading the blind, as Z tries in vain to follow the barker's
Here, I'll lead.
Z starts doing his own, individual dance. With a suave
expression on his face, he leads Bala in a helter-skelter
mixture-of Tango, Charleston, and hand-jive.
Are you sure this is a real dance?
Well, actually, uh -- I'm sort of
making it up --
Why should everyone dance the same
way? It's as exciting as watching
You -- you think I'm right?
Why can't I just do whatever I want
to do? Why can't I just go wild?!
Bala starts to get into it, making up her own steps in reply
to Z's, loosening up, having fun. For a moment, the two of
them are actually sexy together. Then they get a little too
wild -- and the other ants, who are still doing their
intricate dance, start to collide with Bala and Z. Z almost
knocks over a big soldier ant. We can only see the ant's
back at the moment.
Hey! Watch your step, worker.
Z has turned around to see the soldier ant, MAJOR MANDIBLE,
glaring at him. Mandible is about twice Z's size. He's got
one eye missing, and half of his left antenna his been chewed
You watch yours, soldier, or my
worker friend will beat you up!
Oh, that's okay, I'll let him off
(whispering to Bala)
Are you crazy? This guy's built like
(ineptly trying to
placate the soldier)
You know they do great prosthetic
antennas nowadays --
Aren't you gonna stand up for
Z's caught between a rock and a hard place. He doesn't want
to get beaten up, but on the other hand, he doesn't want to
lose face in front of Bala. More soldiers have gathered
around, looking hostile.
How come you don't dance like the
rest of us?
Z glances over at Bala. Then, shaking with nervousness, he
Because -- because I'm an individual!
An individual? Never heard of it.
You look like a worker to me.
Hey, lay off my little buddy!
Z, meanwhile, looks far away, ecstatic, as if he's just
realized something very important. Unfortunately, just at
this moment, A soldier pushes Weaver...Weaver pushes him
back...somebody makes a dive for Z -- and before you know it,
there's a regular bar brawl going on, with Weaver in the
middle of it, cracking heads together, punching ants in the
face, having a great time. Just then, the Princess'
handmaidens hurries over.
Princess Bala! Princess Bala!
Z, who's scrabbling around on the floor, overhears.
Princess? You're a Princess?
The police are coming!
Goodbye! Gotta run!
Wait! When can I see you again?
Let me think. Hmmnn...
Bala rushes off with her handmaiden, just before a squad of
whistle-blowing POLICE wade into the crowd.
Wait! Princess! Wait!
But she's already gone, leaving Z holding her scarf.
INT. DORMITORY - THE NEXT DAY
Z is talking to Weaver, who's getting ready to go off to war.
Nearby, columns of ant soldiers march by.
Get real, Z! She just dropped the
scarf by accident!
Are you kidding? There were sparks
between us! This scarf is a sign!
It's a sign that you're crazy! Do
you know what the penalty for
impersonating a soldier is?
What's gonna go wrong?! I take your
place for the royal inspection. Bala
comes strolling down the line, she
sees me -- bingo! Love is rekindled,
and she takes me up to the palace for
(wags his eyebrows
tea and crumpets... and you take your
place again, and go march around to
your heart's content!
Weaver looks unconvinced.
You have to help me. Please, Weaver.
Think of all the things I've done for
I can't think of any.
Well I'm gonna start doing things for
Will you introduce me to some worker
You bet! They'll really go for a
sensitive guy like you!
Maybe I'll get lucky.
(Weaver thinks about
You know, Z, I wouldn't do this
for anyone but you...
Weaver hands Z has helmet.
You're a real buddy.
Yeah, I know.
What do I do?
Don't tell anyone you're a worker.
Follow that column over there. And
come right back after the inspection!
Weaver points to a bunch of soldiers hurrying by in formation.
Thanks! I owe you!
Z skips off and joins the column, marching in time with the
soldiers but too excited to keep from jazzing it up a little.
INT. TOWN CENTER - NIGHT
The ant army has gathered in a huge HALL in front of a
reviewing stand. We can hear the murmuring of thousands of
soldiers -- but all we can see is a HUGE POSTER of an ant
General pointing right at the camera. The poster reads,
"GENERAL FORMICA WANTS YOU -- to obey".
Z turns to some of the soldiers near him.
Any of you guys know when the
Princess will show up? She's kind of
a personal friend.
The soldiers look at Z like he's nuts.
MARTIAL MUSIC sounds, and we hear thousands of ant feet as
they snap to attention. Z imitates the soldiers awkwardly.
GENERAL FORMICA struts to the middle 6f the screen, slapping
his thigh with a swagger stick (the antenna of some
First of all, let me make one thing
clear. Nobody ever won a battle by
thinking for himself. All this
"thinking" stuff is a load of crap.
If the almighty had wanted you boys
to think, he wouldn't have given you
huge mandibles and a brain so small
you'd misplace it if it wasn't
trapped inside your head.
In the audience, Z starts laughing -- he thinks Formica's
just made a joke.
(slapping his thigh)
"Trapped inside your head" -- that's
a good one --
Z notices nobody else is laughing. He stops.
Geez -- tough room.
From the stage, Formica is squinting at the audience, trying
to make out who was laughing, but there are just too many
ants. He continues.
(striding back and
We ants survive as a species because
we do what we're told. We survive
because we work together, as one, we
get the job done, we do whatever it
takes to persevere!
Hell, we're not an army of
ants...we're one giant ant, with
giant fists, and giant jaws!
The soldiers CHEER! Z CHEERS along with the rest of them.
(to the soldier ant
next to him)
Lays it on a little thick, doesn't
he? If you ask me, he's one giant
Now I've heard a lot of scuttlebutt
about a food shortage. Well you boys
are gonna be taken care of. But in
the meantime we're gonna eat the
enemy for breakfast, we are gonna
eat the enemy for lunch, and we are
gonna eat the enemy for dinner!
Geez, and I forgot my toothbrush.
Dammit, I'm proud to be an ant.
(he looks out at his
And I know each and every one of you
boys will do your duty. Dismissed.
Z applauds and whistles as the other ants look at him in
Bravo! Bring on the Princess!
Stow the gab there, soldier! Let's
move 'em out!
The soldiers turn to the right and start to march out past
the reviewing stand.
A COLONEL marches at the head of Z's column as Z looks around
for the Princess.
Finally, as Z's part of the army marches past the end of the
reviewing stand, he sees her, looking bored, standing next
to the Queen, who is giving the royal wave.
Princess! Princess Bala! Hey! It's
me! Z! I've got your scarf!
ON THE REVIEWING STAND, Bala sees Z -- that is to say, she
sees one of the thousands upon thousands of ants marching
Who is that idiot?
Darling, you must encourage the
troops -- wave!
Bala waves unenthusiastically, little more than flopping her
hand back and forth on her wrist.
Down below, Z takes this as a sign that Bala has seen him.
Excuse me, guys -- That's my date.
Well, it's been fun. Have a great
Z tries to squeeze his way back towards the royals, but he's
surrounded by a solid wall of soldiers -- and they're
carrying him along with them.
Z loses sight of the Princess as he's carried away.
BARBATUS, a hard-as-nails "grunt" soldier ant, taps Z on the
You new, kid?
I just joined up. But I'm quitting!
I got a trial membership!
Trial membership? Kid, when you join
this ant's army, you're in for the
At that moment, Z is swept out of the cramped corridor
they've been marching along, as the army emerges into the
OPEN AIR outside of the colony.
EXT. ANT MOUND - NIGHT
It's a starry, moonlit night. The shadows crowd around the
panicked Z, who looks up at the sky as we see the army on the
Wait a minute, there's been a
mistake! I've got to get back to the
Z starts to fall out of line, but Barbatus, looking
concerned, stops him.
Are you crazy, kid? They shoot
Z swallows hard.
You just stick by old Barbatus.
He'll watch out for you.
(off Z's look)
Whatsamatter, kid? Leave a girl
Yeah. Well -- no. She's kind of
playing hard to get. As a matter of
fact, she's playing completely
So, what's on the schedule? A brisk
walk? a foraging expedition?
No -- we're going to attack the
Attack? But -- I hate attacking!
It's so hostile!
Around Z and Barbatus, the ants start up a marching song,
which we intersperse with dialogue between Barbatus and Z to
form a montage/time-cut as the ant army marches on to the
(to the tune of "When
We ants go marching one by
one, hurrah, hurrah! We slaughter
termites just for fun, Hurrah!
So -- these termites, they're little,
shy, retiring insects?
No such luck. Those dirty terms are
five times bigger than us, and they
shoot acid from their foreheads!
We ants go marching two by two,
hurrah! Hurrah! We'll all be dead
before we're through, hurrah! Hurrah!
Montage shots of an ant column marching diagonally across the
screen, fading into another column marching diagonally
downwards across the screen...
Well, what exactly does our platoon
do? Serve beverages? Process
Our platoon has the best assignment
of all. We're the first into battle!
We ants are marching three by three,
hurrah! Hurrah! Dead ants is what
we soon will be, hurrah! Hurrah!
...montage shot of Z's column crossing a bridge composed of
living ants -- all of whom look extremely uncomfortable as
they're getting stepped on...
So we're going back for more armor,
right? I mean, these guys are from
outer space, how are we supposed to
Superior numbers, kid!
EXT. TERRAIN NEAR TERMITE STUMP - NIGHT
Z looks up to see...looming high above them...the TERMITE
CITY, which is built in the stump of a dead tree. From here
it looks like a demonic Mount Fuji. The COLONEL ANT shouts
The front line of ants starts rushing towards the termite
colony...Z is swept along...
Over the TOOOOOOOOOOOOO-OP!!!
Z is swept along and up the side of the stump as thousands of
ants invade the colony through every possible entrance.
Up...over the lip of the stump...and down inside, to the very
middle of the termite colony...
Into a disquietingly peaceful scene. They're in the middle
of the hollowed-out trunk, and ants keep pouring in -- but
there's not a termite to be seen. Barbatus looks around
It's too damn quiet.
Then we hear a strange tapping noise. Barbatus looks over,
and sees that Z's teeth are chattering with fear.
Don't be scared, kid. Barbatus's
got yer back.
Maybe they went out for the evening.
Let's leave them a message and head
Light it up!
A nearby soldier ant take a firefly out of his knapsack and
pinches him. The firefly, yelling "Yipe! Yipe! Yipe!",
shoots into the air like a flare, lighting up the interior of
the stump with eery, shifting luminescence.
Then we notice, hollowed into the inside of the stump like
innumerable pockmarks, termite holes staring out upon the
stump...and, with an unearthly ROAR, we see the first of
hundreds of termites emerging to pour into the center of the
tree, right onto the ant army.
Keep your head down!
Within moments, Z finds himself in the middle of a
BLOODBATH. The ants have broken into the colony, but are
taking heavy losses from the gigantic, blind, acid-spewing
termites. The battle scene is as sprawling and chaotic as
something out of Braveheart. In a few QUICK SHOTS from Z's
perspective, we see:
-- A squad of ants rushes towards a termite soldier, but are
literally melted into smoking heaps of flesh by a jet of acid
from its forehead...
-- A termite warrior is overwhelmed by a crowd of ants and is
pulled to pieces with hideous ripping sounds...
-- Another termite warrior takes on an ant soldier one on one
and slowly crushes his head in his huge jaws...
Guys! Guys! It isn't too late for
all of us to just talk this over!
Just then, a termite burst up from the ground and turns to
face Z. Z is dwarfed by this hulking, roaring, drooling
Wait! Please! Acid makes me come
out in spots! -- Could I just say I
have always had the greatest respect
for your species? I mean, eating
wood -- why didn't I think of that?
The termite rears, getting ready to melt Z, when OOF! he's
knocked backwards by...
BARBATUS! You -- you saved my life!
Don't get all sappy about it!
As Barbatus and some other soldiers kill the termite, the
Colonel strides up to Z, puffing on a cigar.
I love the smell of formic acid in
A stream of termite acid engulfs the colonel, instantly
burning him to a cinder clutching a still-burning cigar; Z's
paratroop buddies turn in terror to see a herd of termites
rumbling towards them. Z, terrified, dives into the hole
that the huge termite made...
INT. TERMITE TUNNEL - NIGHT
...and tumbles headlong into a corridor of the termite mound.
The corridors here are primitive, caveman-like, pocked with
jagged access holes.
No sooner has Z landed in the tunnel than a termite comes
burrowing out from one of the side walls, snapping at Z's
head. Z just avoids getting decapitated, and digs straight
through the wall in order to escape...
INT. TERMITE QUEEN'S CHAMBER - NIGHT
...straight into the hub of the entire termite complex -- the
Queen's chamber. This is nothing like the civilized court of
the ant colony -- it's a huge, stinking, fetid dungeon whose
walls are held up by one massive (to Z) column of piled
The termite queen, a repulsive, slimy, squirming, foot-long
monster, is attended by a crew of diminutive, blind termite
nurses. The queen turns to look Z right in the eye.
Excuse me. I seem to be lost, and I
was wondering if you could give me --
Before Z can say, "directions", the queen gives out a
piercing, blood-curdling shriek. The nurses start shrieking
I'll let myself out.
But the queen's shriek has summoned a soldier termite -- the
biggest one we've seen yet -- who is charging headlong at Z,
jaws snapping open and shut like huge scissors.
Shoo! -- Torro! Torro!
At the last moment, Z jumps out of the way -- and the termite
runs headfirst into the supporting column of the chamber. As
if on a spring release, the termite's jaws clamp shut -- and
shatter the base of the column. The walls of the room begin
The termite turns to eat Z...but is crushed by a stone
falling from the ceiling, which gives a final shudder and
collapses, raining earth and stones down on the queen.
As the walls of the chamber crumble, melees of ants and
termites pour into the room from the corridors around and
above...they keep struggling until...
(points at Z)
He's killed their Queen!
Hey, I'm sorry, it was a mistake --
We can see that the termite warriors, deprived of their
leader, are suddenly confused and directionless, easy prey
for the ants.
This is terrific! Let's exact
crippling war reparations! Let's set
up a puppet government!
Let's slaughter them all!
The ants set about killing the disoriented termites when...we
hear another rumble coming from the outside...the ants look
...And a (from the ant's point of view) five-hundred foot
long tongue bursts through the top of the chamber with a
CRASH. The ten or so ants standing directly below are
smashed by the tongue, which squirts out a spray of saliva
around the crater. As quick as it appeared, the tongue
retracts, with a hideous SLUUURPING sound. We can now see
the end of the snout of an ant-eater poking through a hole in
the ceiling high above...
The tongue comes down again, smashing some more ants, whose
bodies are slurped up by the tongue...the ants scatter, but
to no avail, as the tongue comes smashing down again and
Z heads into a side corridor as the tongue smashes down
again, barely missing him!
Z retreats along the corridor as the tongue searches for him,
across the tunnel from intersecting access-tunnels, getting
closer and closer to Z, dragging more and more screaming ants
and struggling termites...
....Then the tongue disappears. Silence. Z wipes his brow...
And we hear a thunderous SNIFFING noise as the anteater
searches for more prey... and the tongue starts rumbling down
the corridor right towards Z, the tip squirming as it
ricochets along the walls!
Z gets up and runs, the tongue lapping towards him,
reminiscent of the stone sphere that nearly crushed Indiana
Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark! The walls disintegrate
under the pressure of the tongue, which gets closer to
...and just misses him as Z tumbles out of the stump and down
to the ground...Z sits there, dazed, as we see the huge form
of the anteater withdraw its tongue and, with a final
contented burp, shuffle off into the distance.
EXT. TERMITE STUMP - MORNING
Z makes his way across the corpse-strewn battlefield, an
expression of horror on his face.
Z! Over here!
Z looks down at his feet, where Barbatus's still-living,
decapitated head is looking up at him.
Be honest, kid -- am I hurt bad?
No, no, you're...lookin' good.
You've got good color in your cheeks.
No -- I can see it in your eyes. I'm
a goner. It's alright, Z. In this
ant's army, a soldier's life ain't
worth a sack of fungus.
I can't feel my legs...
Hang in there, buddy! You can make
it! Just -- take deep breaths, I'll
try and find your body -- it's gotta
be around here somewhere!
I wonder...what...was it all...for...
Barbatus, hang on -- Barbatus!!
Don't make my mistake, kid...
don't...be a grunt...your whole
Barbatus dies, leaving Z heartbroken.
INT. EARLY MEGA-TUNNEL - DAY
Weaver is "passing" as a worker, working alongside much
smaller worker ants. He actually loves the work. He's
throwing up dirt like a bulldozer. He's so enthusiastic, he
scoops up a WHOLE ANT in his shovel and tosses him aside.
Azteca, who's standing next to him in line, is shocked by,
and a little attracted to, this turbo-worker.
Hey, slow it down, big boy. You're
making the rest of us look bad...How
come I haven't seen you around here
I'm new...I was born yesterday.
Tell me about it.
Nobody told me digging was so much
fun! You pick up the dirt, you move
it, you pick it up again, you move it
again -- lots of repetitions, you
exercise the forceps, and the
Mmm, yes, I see what you mean...
While Azteca is checking out the hunky new worker, work has
effectively stopped...clods are piling up behind Weaver. A
Foreman comes striding down the line, furious.
What's the holdup here?!
Weaver whips his shovel up to his shoulder and salutes, as if
he's dealing with a superior officer.
Sorry, sir -- I was just having a
little chat with my friend --
(yelling at Weaver)
Who said you could have a chat?
You're not a chatter, you're a
digger! So shut up and dig!
Leave him alone! He's new.
You too? Well just for that, you
lose your day's rations! Now get
back to work!
The Foreman heads down the line, shoving and berating the
other workers as he goes along.
(surprised at herself)
I don't know what came over me,
talking back like that. I must be
Sorry I got you in trouble. But
listen, you can share my rations.
Are you asking me out to dinner?
No -- I mean yes -- I mean -- if you
don't have other plans.
I'll make myself available...Listen,
better watch out with the
backtalk. I don't know want you to
end up like the guy who used to work
next to me. I'm afraid he got...
EXT. ANT MOUND - DAY
Some guard ants are looking out across the sandy main
entrance to the hive.
Look! They're back! The army's
back! Alert the colony!
The other ant starts ringing a bell, rushing down into the
INT. TOWN CENTER - DAY
A huge crowd is forming, eager to welcome the army back. A
band is striking up a triumphant victory song, confetti and
streamers are being thrown, as General Formica strides in,
followed by Carpenter.
The army's returned! Our brave boys
are back! (etc.)
Everyone waves little flags as the tuba player Oompah-oompah-
...and Z walks into the hall, looking bedraggled and
exhausted, his helmet hanging over his ears.
The band slows to a halt.
At the edge of the crowd, Azteca, sitting on Weaver's
shoulders, can just about see over the crowd.
It looks like only one soldier made
Weaver looks distraught.
Poor Z -- I should never have let you
Far down the hall, Z is describing the battle.
It was horrible...a massacre, a
massacre upon a massacre. First we
massacred them, then they massacred
us, then it was halftime. I've never
seen such violence, such
bloodthirstiness, such bad
manners...I'm the only one that made
The atmosphere is somber. This is a tough one to try and put
a spin on...but that doesn't stop Formica from trying.
ONE TO NOTHING! WE WIN!
The band strikes up again, and everyone cheers.
No -- you -- you don't understand!
Damn, I'm proud of you, boy. I wish
I had a hundred ants of your caliber.
The world would tremble. Now, time
for some R and R. You're invited to
the royal victory party!
Royal victory party? Will...will
Princess Bala be there?
Of course. The entire royal family
will be there to honor you.
ONE TO NOTHING!
Renewed CHEERS, as Z is lifted onto the shoulder of some of
the soldiers who stayed behind.
Wait a minute, that's no soldier --
Z? Our Z? The little guy made it!
Z is following Formica away from the cheering crowd.
EXT. ABOVE TOWN CENTER - DAY
Z and Formica are going up the royal "stairway" together.
Son, you're an ant after my own
heart. A warrior. An ant that looks
death right in the face and laughs.
Well, I generally just make
belittling comments and snicker
behind death's back. So, tell me,
fellow war-monger...do you think
Princess Bala likes men in uniform?
Well she better -- she's engaged to
Engaged? As in you're getting
So...you two are in love?
(shakes his head)
I'm just a plain old soldier at
heart. I'll tell you what I love --
the field -- blood -- death --
orders...and the company of other
Formica gives Z a manly slap on the back. Z looks a little
uncomfortable as we...
INT. THRONE ROOM - DAY
Z follows Formica and Carpenter into the throne room. At the
end of the hall, a society band is playing. The room is full
of courtier ants and officers.
Waiters are gliding around holding trays of hors d'ouevres.
Wow, what a spread -- you know,
there's a food shortage in the rest
of the colony.
Yes, and do you know why there's a
...Not enough food?
Negatory. Too many ants. And while
we soldiers go out there, and fight,
and bleed, and die for the colony,
the namby-pamby workers live it up
Feeling a little hot, Z wipes his brow.
Well I, I don't think "living it up"
is the right term -- how about
"working themselves to death"?
I tell you son, sometimes, at night,
I see myself in battle, fighting a
horrible, faceless enemy, with the
future of our whole species at stake.
And always, the dream ends with each
of us plunging his sword into the
Oh, hey, that's great, I think I see
an old war buddy over there, it's
been fun chatting. Good luck with
Z escapes from Formica, who gazes after him suspiciously.
Z mingles in with the crowd, then he sees Princess Bala
standing with a group of officers who are eating hors
(telling a joke)
What do you call it when 10,000
workers are killed in a tunnel cave-
Who cares? They're workers!
The officers laugh, but Bala looks bored in this stuffy
But...don't you think the worker
class is the very foundation of the
getting odd looks)
I mean, uh, without them, who would
we stand on?
You're the hero of the recent termite
campaign, aren't you?
Well, if single-handedly vanquishing
the enemy and slaughtering a whole
nestful of termites makes someone a
hero, yes I am.
Z reaches for a tray of canapes that a waiter is carrying by,
and KNOCKS the whole thing CLATTERING to the ground.
And you are...?
I'm Princess Bala.
Well, charmed, I'm sure. So,
Princess, have you ever danced with
Oh...oh well then, one more won't
She moves towards the dance floor. Z spit-combs his
antennae, struts after her -- until he trips on his sword.
He tumbles, falls, but hops to his feet just as Bala turns
toward him, turning it into a ballet plies.
Just warming up...
She frowns...there's something familiar about this guy. But
then they start dancing.
ACROSS THE ROOM: The Queen and General Formica watch the
All these parties are so marvellously
They should be...
But there's something funny about
Formica strides over to where Z and Bala are dancing.
May I cut in?
Oh, of course --
(pulling Z back)
No, General. I'm dancing with the
(trying to placate
Uh, sorry, General, I...I've always
had this animal magnetism, it --
Bala YANKS Z back onto the dance floor, dancing away from
No weirdly...You remind me of
Formica catches Bala's eye. She frowns at him, and decides
to get a little shocking.
He was swarthy...primitive...
As she says these things, Z tries to act accordingly.
He was a worker. I danced with him
at a worker's bar just the other day.
I'm not shocking you, am I?
No...as a matter of fact...
OH MY GOD, IT'S YOU! YOU'RE A
WORKER!!! A filthy, stupid,
Everybody gasps. The dancing stops cold.
Gee, uh, could you say it a little
louder, I think there are some ants
in the next colony who didn't hear
I CAN'T DANCE WITH A WORKER!
That's not what you said the other
(now she's panicked)
Quiet -- sshhh!!
(digging it in)
-- At the worker bar! You were
pretty hot to trot then!
A livid Formica is stalking over towards them.
What's this? A worker has been
masquerading as a war hero?!
Well it wasn't a masquerade, really,
it was more what I'd call a clever
Can't we all settle this like
adults -- we're not larvae anymore --
Angry officers begin to surround Z, who hides behind Bala in
fear, using her as a shield.
Oh my god! He's taking her hostage!
No I'm not -- I mean -- nobody move!
Or the Princess gets it!
People shout and scream, as Z backs up with the
Princess...into the kitchen.
INT. KITCHEN - DAY
Z backs up into the kitchen, still pulling Bala along with
him. Here, ant chefs are preparing food for the party,
vomiting little florets onto a platter. Formica and the
soldiers follow them in.
Stay back, you lunatic! Do you think
I don't know how to use this?
Z realizes that he's pointing his finger at them.
The officers rush for...and Z, with Bala in tow, falls
backwards into an opening marked, "GARBAGE".
EXT. ANT MOUND - DAY
HOLD ON: the GARBAGE CHUTE EXIT. Nothing happens for a
moment. Then --
From a distance, we hear the faint sound of SCREAMING,
dopplering closer --
-- and then Z and Bala come flying out of the exit, right
into the mud, cutting off the scream abruptly.
Bala sits up, coated in mud. Z is nowhere to be seen.
Because she's on top of him.
This is thoroughly unacceptable!
You're telling me...
She gets up and runs back towards the colony entrance, where
soldiers are already issuing to get her...
I'm coming! I'm coming!
But...just as Bala'a about to be rescued...what looks like a
gigantic LASER BEAM sweeps along the rim of the colony,
sizzling the ground as it moves along...and IGNITES the lead
soldier into FLAMES! Bala looks stunned.
Z watches in horror as another soldier ant is FRIED, and we
look up to see a GIGANTIC MAGNIFYING GLASS casting the
beam...we can just about make out the huge, grotesque figure
(a seven year old kid) holding it.
Bala, who has no idea what's really going on, turns from the
colony and runs the other way.
I'm going! I'm going'
...unfortunately, this draws the fire of the laser, which
follows after her in what looks like a strafing run, SIZZLING
in her footsteps.
Z, who's running towards the princess, suddenly realizes that
he's running towards certain doom...and joins Bala in legging
it away from the colony; under a brown leaf, which bursts
into flames...between the redwood-like stalks of some
flowers...and finally into the relative safety of some
grass...where they throw themselves on the ground, exhausted.
EXT. WEED CLUMP - DAY
Z and Bala dust themselves off.
What was that thing?
How should I know?
I order you to find out where we are!
Alright, alright, I'll try to get
directions from one of the locals.
Z tries to flag down some passing bees.
Excuse me, I --
(it passes him by;
he tries the next)
Pardon me --
And they call them social insects.
Climb up that tree and get a better
Bala points to a thin blade of grass. Gingerly, Z tests the
grass and starts climbing up it...but his weight bends it, so
that he's lowered back to the ground, face to upside-down
face with Bala.
I've been kidnapped by the village
Who's the bigger idiot -- the idiot
who gets kidnapped, or the idiot who
lets herself get kidnapped by the
How dare you speak to me like that?
I'm the Princess!
Z squares up with her.
Theoretically, yes. But is the
monarchical hierarchy applicable
without the underlying social
structure to support it?
Of course! It defines society! To
deny the precept is to say that order
is an arbitrary distinction applied
by the society itself!
But can there be a society composed
of just two ants?
No! There's no such thing as "just
two ants." You never see just two
ants -- you see a million ants!
Look around, sweetheart.
She looks around. She doesn't like what she sees. She
glowers at Z.
I -- hate -- you.
Well I guess that makes us even.
Ha! Don't make me laugh. You're
crazy about me! That's why you lied
and cheated to get near me!
Oh come on, you're the one who came
after me -- the swarthy, earthy,
I was slumming it! I danced with you
because you were the most pathetic
specimen in the place!
Is that the same standard you used to
choose General Formica?
I didn't choose him. What kind of
...choose who she wanted to marry?
She shakes herself out of it.
Now, worker, you shall take me back
to the colony, and have your head cut
off and stuck on a sharp pole!
Well, that's an appealing offer,
but...considering the options...
You go back. Me, I'm going to
Insectopia? You stupid worker,
that's just a fairy tale!
Yeah, well I have it on a reliable
(he knows that was
maybe stretching it)
that it exists. Now you follow
the yellow egg...
Worker! Come back here now!
I've got a name. It's Z.
That's not a name! That's just a
Z, meanwhile, hits the road. Bala has no idea of where to
go. Just then, the scariness of the outside world comes
through to her.
We start hearing NOISES -- the equivalent of scary jungle
sounds in a Tarzan movie -- the HISSING, CROAKING,
CHIRRUPING... Bala sees eyes looking out at her from all
directions...and spots a colossal monster (a sparrow) fixing
her with his beady gaze.
(clears her throat)
Oh WORKER? Where are you?
Z? Z? Wait for me!!!
Bala heads off after Z.
INT. MEGA-TUNNEL - DAY
The mass of worker ants are swinging pick-axes in the tunnel.
The foreman moves up the line, BERATING the workers, yelling
at them to dig faster.
I tell ya, I'm gettin' sick of bein'
What do you want, we're just workers.
You know, you're not just workers --
you can be whatever you want to be!
Look at Z! He started as a worker --
then he became a soldier!
That's right! He slaughtered
hundreds of termites single-handedly!
I heard about this guy.
(turning to the other
He crashed a party at the palace.
Then he took a hike with one of the
royal babes! And when they tried to
stop him, he just looked at a
couple'a guards, and they burst into
WORKER ANT #1
You're nuts, how could a worker do
Well, because he's more than a
worker...he's a...what did he call
No -- an individual!
Well, it's...someone with his own
point of view...someone who does what
he wants, not whatever he's told to
(eyes lit up,
Someone who follows his heart!
(taking Azteca's hand)
Right...because every ant's important!
But that would mean I'm important.
I'm outta here, this sounds like
trouble to me.
But more ants are gathering 'round.
We can all be individuals! Just like
Weaver and Azteca hold hands. More ants are gathering
around, dropping their tools...
EXT. BIKE PATH - DAY
LONG SHOT. A glimmering desert landscape (think of "The
Sun's Anvil" in Lawrence of Arabia). Two small figures can
be seen, tiny dots moving across the arid whiteness.
They're Bala and Z, who are crossing a concrete path in the
park, which they perceive to be a "desert".
Water...water -- oh, you already said
My skin's dry, my exoskeleton is
cracking...I wish I'd never met you,
you ruined my life.
I ruined your life? Look, I was
perfectly happy until I met you --
alright, I was miserable, but I was
Over Z's line, we can see a GIGANTIC WHEEL, getting larger
and larger and heading right towards them, a GIGANTIC WHEEL
(the front wheel of a bicycle which is heading right towards
Bala pushes Z out of the way just as the wheel rolls past
with a cacophonous CRUNCHING, GRINDING noise -- like a
We're going to die!
Come on -- it's gone! What are the
chances of that happening again?
No sooner has he said it than the rear wheel of the bike
Well I'll be.
Bala notices that they're clutching one another in fear; she
pushes him away.
Why didn't I listen to my mother
...why'd I have to go looking for
trouble? Any ant would have given
their left legs to be in my
position...what's wrong with me?
Want a list?
Wait, I hear something!
We can, in fact, hear a low, musical PLUNK.. there's a pause
and then we can hear it again...
Z and Bala walk over a rocky "dune" (the soft shoulder of the
path). Beyond, the grass starts up again. They have come to
the end of the "desert" (i.e. the other side of the path)
Through the blades of grass, we can see...
EXT. LAKE - DAY
A LAKE (a puddle) stretches before them. It is, in fact, the
overflow of a drinking-fountain whose drain is jammed...as Z
and Bala run to the lake, water dribbles from the fountain
and into one edge of the pool (to the ants, it's a waterfall).
Bala and Z run to the edge of the water and start slurping.
They smile at each other, until they remember that they don't
like each other.
This lake is huge! And so close to
the colony! Think of the vacation
Cut me down a soft leaf so I can take
Listen, "Princess", you can't order
me around. Out here, you're not the
boss anymore -- out here, you're
-- But before he can finish, a water droplet from the
fountain falls on him. It may not sound like much, but to Z
it's as though a ten-foot diameter sphere of jello had
Z's stuck inside because of the surface tension of the
droplet, which doesn't burst, just quivers up and down.
Inside, Z is slowly, frantically drowning and screaming for
help. But his screams are muffled in the water.
Out here I'm just what?
(through the water)
(hands on hips)
Stop fooling around in there.
By now the droplet has started rolling, and Z is being turned
upside-down. He manages to get one foreleg out of the
droplet, and, in a frantic attempt to pull himself out, pulls
Bala in by the leg.
Let me go!!!
But it's too late -- they're now both stuck in the droplet,
and, as Z continues to drown, he also has to deal with Bala
yelling at him -- though we can't hear exactly what it. is
she's yelling through the water.
Then, having run out of air, she too starts thrashing,
alternately trying to swim and trying to slap him as Z tries
to defend himself. Finally all this commotion is enough to
make the droplet burst, spilling the two coughing,
sputtering, drenched ants onto the ground.
They both lie there, miserable, wet, and cold.
(chants to herself)
I'm going to be rescued soon. I'm
going to be rescued soon. I'm going
to be rescued soon.
Z watches her incredulously.
Princess, has it ever occurred to you
that they're not going to rescue you?
General Formica won't let me die out
here. I'm his fiancee.
Look. How many other Princesses are
Five thousand three hundred and
ninety -- no. About five thousand
four hundred by now.
And only you can become a Queen?
Well...no, but --
So what makes you so special?
Well...I am the oldest.
Bala turns from Z. She's thinking things over, realization
dawning on her.
By three seconds...
She looks out into the grass forest.
You're right. There are as many
Princesses...as there are blades of
Z, overhearing her, slowly puts his hand on her shoulder.
INT. MEGA-TUNNEL - DAY
Formica and Carpenter are walking into the entrance of the
tunnel with a squad of soldiers.
Dammit, this tunnel is priority A-1!
We can't afford any delays on this
I've never seen anything like it,
General, they're they're...well, look!
Ahead of them, a group of a few hundred workers have stopped
work and are sitting down, chanting...
Z! Z! Z! Z!
A worker moves forward to join the strikers, tossing down his
(yelling at him)
Where do ya think you're going? Get
back to work!
Buzz off, I'm important!
(joining the others)
Z! Z! Z! Z!
At the center of the group, Weaver and Azteca are holding
hands, leading the chant.
Notice the big one, holding hands
with the female?
Well, uh, who notices workers, sir?
No one should have to. Have him
brought to me.
INT. FORMICA'S CHAMBERS - NIGHT
A nervous Weaver is sitting across from Formica, flanked by
a couple of stoic guards. Carpenter stands smiling by the
side door. There is no obvious threat to Weaver, but the
atmosphere is truly intimidating.
So this Z...he fancies himself an
Yeah...I mean...well...I don't know,
Well now you haven't fallen for this
silly idea of individuality, have
Oh, no, sir!
Good. You're a good soldier.
Thank you, sir.
Weaver begins to relax a bit.
So tell me. Where's Z?
I...I have no idea, sir.
He pats Weaver on the shoulder.
We know what makes an ant colony
strong, don't we? We know that no
ant can be an individual. No single
ant matters, right?
That's correct, sir!
(points at a guard)
Not that one.
Or that one.
Formica nods at Carpenter, who smiles and opens a door. Two
soldiers walk in, holding Azteca. The color drains from
Or that one? Her life doesn't
matter, does it?
Don't tell that tightass anything,
Weaver starts to get up, but the guards behind him hold him
Wait! Just let her go! Z's long
gone anyway, following some golden
egg to Insectopia! You'll never
Formica's face lights up.
Insectopia, hunh?...See why
individuality is so dangerous? It
can always be used against you.
(to the guards)
If this sissy here wants to dig,
he'll dig. Send them both back to
the tunnel project. Double their
The guards exit with Weaver and Azteca.
What do we have on this "Insectopia"?
Scattered reports, sir. Rumors.
Desperate times call for desperate
measures. Get me Ant Team Six.
Ant Team Six...
EXT. GRASS JUNGLE - DAY
Z and Bala are lost, wandering through the grass
I swear, we've passed this blade of
grass three times.
Z keeps marching on.
Face it, Z, we're lost! We must have
walked halfway across the world by
now! How did I get into this mess...
(too shy to look at
Come on...tell me there wasn't just
a little...something between us that
first night at the bar. The night we
What difference does it make...we're
both going to starve to death, or get
squished, or set on fire...
But Z is just gawking. The shot expands to show that they
have stumbled onto...
...The land of red and white...
EXT. FALSE INSECTOPIA - DAY
A PICNICGROUNDS...A red and white picnic blanket, which to
the ants looks like a vast, undulating pavilion, stretches
before them. They gaze up at two obelisks: a salt and pepper
Behind that is a gigantic tupperware jar full of potato
salad, and sandwiches stacked high. It all looks perfect,
with the clean lines and monumental proportions of fascist
architecture. In fact, it looks a little too perfect.
We've found it! Insectopia! Look at
all this food'
You were right...you were right!
Z, it's beautiful!
Let's dig in!
Z goes over to a gigantic sandwich, but -- BOOIIING! -- he's
prevented from getting at it by the saran wrap covering it.
There's - there's some kind of force
Bala joins him, laboring against the saran wrap. Then both
of them hear laughter from above.
MALE WASP (O.S.)
Muffy, look, party-crashers.
FEMALE WASP (O.S.)
They're simply too much, Chip!
Bala and Z look up to see two large, yellow WASPS hovering in
the air above them. The husband and wife wasps have
lockjawed, William F. Buckleyesque accents.
(to Z and Bala)
You down there, haven't you ever been
to a picnic?
(to Male Wasp)
Well I really don't know who they are.
The Male Wasp zooms in closer.
Poopsie, we know some ants, don't we?
Are you related to the Fifth Avenue
Darling, do you have to talk to any
insect from off the street?
Just being friendly, Poopsie.
Hello? I'm not just "any insect".
My mother is the Queen.
I'm Princess Bala!
(under his breath)
They're Eurotrash, dear.
We hear a loud RUMBLING noise -- the family is about to sit
down for their picnic lunch. Gigantic hands reach down and
pull away the "force fields".
A little piece of advice, sport --
bob and weave! Bob and weave!
What do you mean?
Well -- like my father used to say --
there's no such thing as a free meal!
The wasps dive in to the picnic, darting in for a bite, and
then dashing away again...
Excuse me -- I'll have some potato
salad -- thank-you! -- don't mind if
I do! After you! (etc.)
-- But all is not well. We pull back to reveal that Z and
Bala are standing in front of a giant sneaker logo, which is
attached to a giant sneaker. Which moves.
I sort of imagined Insectopia a
little differently --
Just at that moment, we hear a whistling in the air -- and
the female wasp is crushed by a huge swatter that sweeps out
of the sky, sending the picnic blanket billowing up in an
aftershock that throws Bala and Z to the ground.
Muffy! Muffy! Wake up!
But she doesn't move. The Male Wasp stares up at the sky.
But Z, also looking up, has no time to commiserate.
Bala, look out!!
They are only saved by the fact that they are so small - .the
holes of the swatter pass over them.
The woman, realizing that the swatter won't work on ants,
throws it to the side and tries stomping on them...
Before Bala can get away, a sneaker falls on her with a
thunderous BOOM that shakes the ground.
The shoe rises, as the person wearing it steps away...and we
see that Bala is stuck in one of the ridges of the waffle-
soled sneaker, adhering to a big piece of bubblegum!
Z! Help me!!!
But Bala is carried off on the sneaker in a huge, looping,
ferris-wheel-like motion. BOOM. The sneaker on which Bala
is stuck falls again, as the woman tries to step on Z, too --
I'll never see her again...
-- But he does, instantly, as the shoe rises again, showing
Bala stuck deeper in the bubblegum --
Z!!! Get me out of heeeeere!
-- The woman has decided to walk away from the picnic to get
the bubblegum off her shoe...Z heart sinks as the shoe Bala's
stuck on lopes off into the distance...
These things always come in twos...
He sees a SECOND SHOE starting to rise --
Take me to your leader!
Z runs towards the shoe as it rises... and at the last moment
catches on to the snaky, swinging shoe-lace.
The sneaker lifts off into the air, with Z holding on for
dear life to the lace, and getting further and further away
from Bala as he's drawn to a vertiginous height...the
landscape can be seen rolling and pitching crazily in the
Bala! Come back here!
For a moment, the sneaker seems to pause in the air...then it
descends again, in a stomach-churning, roller-coaster free-
fall as the sneaker on which Bala is stuck rises up again...
Z!!!!!!! I'm stuck!
-- But Z is trying to keep his lunch down as he descends.
The sneaker hits the ground, and Z can feel himself
again...it's now or never.
As the sneaker rises again, he swings off the lace, hurtling
through the air and catching one of the laces of Bala's
sneaker...the momentum swings him up and under the sole...
Z! You're here!
Z gets smashed into the bubblegum next to Bala. Now he's
Yeah. I'm here.
The sneaker descends again. Z and Bala hold hands and SCREAM
as they see the ground rise too meet them...
THUD! They're squished deeper into the bubblegum. The
sneaker rises again...
Z...if we don't make it...I just want
you to know....
This is all your fault!!!
The sneaker rises, and seems ready to fall again...but
instead it just hovers there. (The person wearing it is
balancing on one leg and about to scrape off the bubblegum
with a penny).
Just then, the hand holding the penny looms up...the penny
is, by ant standards, about sixty feet high. The huge image
of Abraham Lincoln stares down at them.
Who the hell is that?!!!
The penny starts scrapes the bubblegum off the sneaker,
bringing Bala and Z along with it. They're carried through
the air as the penny gets thrown away...turning over and over
in a lopsided orbit as Bala and Z SCREAM...
...and land with a CRASH in total darkness.
EXT. LAKE - DAY
The "lake" where Z and Bala were nearly drowned by the water
The earth shakes as a HUGE, MONSTROUS creature approaches the
lake - and begins to drink from it. The creature seems to
hear something, and, growling, turns its ugly head. It's a
Pomeranian, one of those yappy little lap-dogs -- but seen
from ant perspective, it's something out of a horror movie.
TOUGH VOICE (O.S.)
Ant Team Six -- take him out!
The monster bears its huge fangs at the approaching
intruders -- a bunch of flying ants who look as though
they're attacking the Death Star!
The monster rears and snaps at two of the ants, who are
making a diversionary run...
and then gets it from the rest of the ants, who land on his
soft, wet nose and start stinging away like crazy.
The monster rears back in pain -- and runs away, YIPPING!
The members of ANT TEAM SIX, a crack team of hardcore flying-
ant commandoes a la Seal Team Six, break off the attack and
And don't come back, you sissy!
MAJOR MANDIBLE, Ant Team Six's lethal commander, steps into
frame. He's the one-eyed killer we met in the bar earlier.
The rest of his team fan out to search the area.
Talk to me.
Z and the Princess were here, sir.
Signs of a struggle.
Let's get a read on that feremone
COMMANDO ANT #1
(to the others)
Get the sniffer!
Two other commandoes come running up with what looks like a
piece of machinery on a tripod -- only it's an ant -- a
highly specialized, blind ant with an incredibly acute sense
The tracker, drool running out of its long proboscis, sniffs
the air and starts signalling like a geiger counter...
(as he's swivelled)
Finally the tracker stops swivelling, pointing in one
direction and saying, "Yeahyeahyeahyeah..."
COMMANDO ANT #3
Got 'em! Ten clicks from here!
Z -- you dirt-digging, fancy-dancing,
wisecracking, royalty-grabbing, rebel
(yelling into the
I AM COMING FOR YOU! YOU ARE ONE
DEAD ANT, MISTER!
Mandible's muscles bulge. The veins in his head throb. This
is one ass-kicking ant. Even Mandible's troops look scared
Let's MOVE! GO, people! GO! GO!
GO! GO! GO!
Ant Team Six takes to the air, heading in the direction
indicated by the tracker ant.
INT. TRASH BAG - DAY
Darkness. Out of it we hear the voices of Z and Bala.
Come on, Z.
Forget it. You go ahead, I give up.
I...I don't know what I was thinking.
In one corner of the screen, we can see an irregular little
hole through which a shaft of light is falling. Bala
proceeds towards it, the hole appears to get bigger and
There's only one thing worse than an
ant who goes around mindlessly
following orders, and that's an ant
who's too dumb to go around
mindlessly following orders.
Bala stops...she notices that they're being watched. She's
emerging from a tied off garbage bag -- the yellow ties loop
away gracefully. Bala and Z have been tossed into a garbage
area. And above them and below them, peering from garbage
cans, recycling containers, bags, etc., a multi-cultural
assortment of insects are regarding them.
A laid-back FLY voices their thoughts.
What's with the bummer attitude?
A nearby BUTTERFLY joins in.
Yeah -- nobody stresses out in
Did you say...
Z and Bala look around. Just to get things straight, the
garbage dump doesn't look disgusting -- that would be seeing
it through human eyes. Instead, we're looking at it through
ant eyes -- and, reimagined this way, it's Paradise. Not the
ordered, sterile, paradise of the picnic, but an earthly land
The sides of the plastic garbage bags are sheer, reflective
walls of smoothest obsidian...the garbage cans are gigantic,
thick metal columns put there by the gods (think the
pyramids); a coke bottle, refracting the sunlight into a
gorgeous rainbow, trickles a fountain of sweet nectar into
the pink, bittersweet flesh of a grapefruit half, which
appears as a multi-chambered concave dome. Everywhere,
insects are disporting themselves -- a multi- species love-in
that's like an insect version of Woodstock.
Bala and Z are awe-struck. Bala turns to Z.
Z, we made it!
(alighting on the
C'mon in! The nectar's fine!
Like a kid at an amusement park, Z slides down the smooth
side of the garbage bag, whooshing this way and that until he
slides into one end of a straw (a red and white striped
tunnel), and is shot out...
...into a bottle-cap filled with lemonade, which he
alternately drinks and swims through...
Down at the bottlecap, Z is drying himself off. Then he
sees, emerging from behind a lemon peel, a gigantic TERMITE.
Surprisingly, the termite seems equally terrified...
Hey, take it easy! There's nothin'
to be afraid of!
Yeah, well, I make it a practice not
to trust anyone who shoots acid out
of their forehead.
Dude, here in Insectopia, we don't
judge people by how many arms and
legs we've got.
Yeah, back home, they called me a
fruitfly. But here, I'm known
Anyway, big Gus is mellow.
The termite sticks his hand out. A drop of acid drips from
his head and splashes at Z's feet.
(taking his hand,
Z reaches out and shakes the termite's hand, as Bala watches,
EXT. INSECTOPIA - NIGHT
The insects are having a cookout, their faces illuminated by
the still-red ember of a match. Platters heaped with food
lie untouched as they pat their bellies...
Z and Bala sit next to one another, smiling shyly as if they
had just met for the first time.
So...you never did tell me...what
made you come out to the worker bar
Just looking for fun, adventure,
trouble, I guess.
Well, "trouble" is my middle name.
Actually, my middle name is .985,
but I don't tell people. Hey, Bala,
I...I actually have something of
yours...you left it at the bar that
Z takes out Bala's scarf, which he's been keeping folded in
Sorry, it's been through a war, not
to mention everything else...
You held onto this all that time?
Well, I...I know it's a little
strange, but...I thought it might
come in handy if I...needed a scarf
Well, to be honest, I just liked
He hands it back to her. Bala looks at Z, frankly, openly.
For a moment Z is shy. Then he looks at her too. They're
two lovers, leaning closer, about to have their first kiss,
The moment is wrecked. Z looks up. A chubby beetle stands
there with Gus the termite.
Wanna bring back dessert? There's a
thirty foot long blimp in the next
can, made completely of chocolate!
Sure. I wasn't busy or anything.
Z gets up to go with them.
Great timing, guys. Ever wonder why
they call you "pests"?
EXT. INSECTOPIA, TOP OF CAN - NIGHT
As Ant Team Six lands and takes up position above the feast.
The tracker ant is going nuts.
One of the commandoes puts his hand over the tracker's mouth
to shut him up. Mandible communicates with his troops by
pulling down his one functional antenna and gruffly
whispering into it, as though it were one of those commando
headsets. His troops do likewise.
Talk to me.
I've got a read on the Princess --
but target Z isn't accounted for.
Let's move in.
EXT. INSECTOPIA - NIGHT
Back at the feast, a cricket strums on his legs like a
guitar, opining about life and the universe to a bunch of
other chilled-out, hippyesque insects...Bala taps her feet to
What if, like...we're just these tiny
little things, and we're just like
part of this whole other huge
universe, that's like, so big we
don't even know it exists?
Man...that's so deep...
At that moment Ant Team Six rapels down from the top of the
garbage bin, landing amongst the insects.
The cricket gets up to confront Mandible, but Mandible cold
cocks him with a right to the jaw. The other insects, too
surprised to fight, just do as they're told.
Alright, you hippy scum! Make one
move and I'll exterminate you!
A couple of commandoes grab Bala by the arms and heave her up.
Stop! You don't understand!
I don't have to understand, Missy --
I've got orders. Now where's Z?
INT. INSECTOPIA - NIGHT
Z, the termite, the beetle and the fly are happily carrying
a huge M&M back to the feast.
Man, your girl is fly, know what I'm
Oh, Bala? I guess she's okay, you
know, for a princess. I mean, I
usually date queens, or you know,
empresses, because sometimes the
lesser nobility are too much in awe
of my smouldering sensuality. Please
stop me if I'm making you feel
They throw down the M&M, which lands with a THUD. Z notices
that the rest of the insects look spooked.
What's the matter? This place is as
cheery as a Roach Motel at check-out
Z looks around.
Bala's been kidnapped! Some flying
ants took her back to the colony!
She's been kidnapped?! But I can't
live without her!
Z just stands there, heartbroken.
I'm going back. I've got to get her.
Who'll come with me?
Z looks around. Nobody's volunteering. Nothing but sheepish
looks and shuffling from the insects of Insectopia.
Z looks disheartened. He's about to leave when --
MALE WASP (O.S.)
The male wasp is hovering nearby.
I know what it's like to lose
someone...I keep hearing the sound of
Muffy's flapping wings...so I'll take
Z hops on the wasp's back.
Let's go, pal!
The wasp takes off, leaving the other insects looking a
Geez. I feel like a real stinkbug.
EXT. SKY ABOVE COLONY - MORNING
The wasp and Z fly high above the colony...
Wow...I never saw things this way...
From here, we can see the whole layout of the land around the
colony...the "desert" (an asphalt path) and across it, the
"lake" (the overflowing water fountain)
Things look so close together from up
here...there's the desert...and the
it's not far from the colony at all...
Suddenly, the wasp bounces up and down in the air.
INT. FORMICA'S CHAMBERS - DAY
Formica sits at his desk, going over some plans. Formica's
chambers are located inside a snake skull, with the eye
sockets serving as windows, and the mouth serving as a door.
The walls are hung with trophies -- the heads of other
Ant Team Six burst in the doors of Formica's office, carrying
the struggling and kicking Bala. One of the commandoes sets
the tracker ant one the floor...then Formica gets up from his
desk as the commandoes bring the princess to him.
Princess Bala. Good.
Bala replies warily.
(covering for Z)
You don't have to look for him
anymore. He was eaten by a praying
It's a shame he died prematurely...I
was hoping to kill him myself.
Well you'll never be able to hurt him
where he is now.
I miss him already.
You miss him? Why?
Because...because he's twice the ant
that you are. I could never go
through with marrying you. I'm --
I'm an individual, and when I get
married, it'll be to someone I choose.
The soldiers look shocked. For a moment, Formica looks
furious. Then he just shrugs.
(shaking his head)
Princess Bala, I'm just a simple old
soldier, and the ways of the feminine
mind are a little too complex for me.
But one thing I do know is, there are
more Princesses where you came from.
I just hope they're not all like you.
In the meantime, maybe we can arrange
for you to see Z again after all.
He gestures to the commandoes, who drag her out the door. We
notice that the tracker ant has been left behind.
EXT. ANT MOUND - DAY
Z hops down from the wasp, who has landed near the entrance
to the colony.
Good luck, Z. For a wingless insect,
you're alright by me.
They shake hands and the wasp flies off.
How am I going to get in? The place
is crawling with soldiers!
Z starts for the nearest entrance -- but he's spotted by a
couple of SOLDIER ANTS.
You there! Worker!
Z's caught -- it's over. He turns around with his hands up.
Don't bite! I surrender!
What are you doing out here! All
workers are to remain inside the
colony, by orders of General Formica!
Z can't believe his luck -- and his curiosity is piqued.
Well...if you insist...
INT. MEGATUNNEL - DAY
The Queen, with Formica striding at her side, is carried by
a personal escort of fifty or so struggling workers to the
bottom end of the Mega Tunnel, where a red ribbon waits to be
Very impressive, General.
Behind her, hundreds of thousands of workers are crowded,
looking confused and expectant. Some of them clutch little
flags and noisemakers...
Wave that flag, you maggot!
...which we see are being handed out to them by Ant Team Six.
Is there anything wrong, your majesty?
The Queen is looking around unhappily.
It's just...How I miss Bala. I wish
she were here for this special moment.
Formica warmly places his hand on the Queen's shoulder.
She is, your majesty. She is.
The CAMERA heads up the long, long tunnel, where we see...
INT. MID SKYLIGHT TUNNEL
Bala, tied and gagged. She's at the point in the Megatunnel
where it begins to curve upwards towards the surface. She
struggles against her bonds, but can't get loose.
INT. ANT MOUND - DAY
Elsewhere in the colony, a column of soldiers marches by, and
we hear the TROMP-TROMP-TROMP of their boots. When they've
gone, Z pokes his head out from behind a pile of dirt...he
heads in the opposite direction of the soldiers...
INT. OUTSIDE FORMICA'S CHAMBERS - DAY
Z creeps around the outside of Formica's chambers. This part
of the colony seems to be deserted.
Geez, this place really empties out
in August. Where is everybody?
Z walks up to the skull that houses Formica's chambers and
peeks in the eye socket.
INT. FORMICA'S CHAMBERS
Inside, the Tracker Ant, who's been left behind, switches
"on", eyes glowing. Z enters the chamber cautiously.
Z! Z! I smell Z!
For a moment, Z's afraid. Then he sees the small Tracker Ant
doesn't seem hostile.
You "smell" me? Well look, I -- I've
been out in the wilderness for a
while, and --
The tracker ant keeps sniffing. Z waves his hand in front of
the blind ant's eyes.
Hey, wait, you're...you're one of
those pheremone sniffers, aren't you?
Maybe you can help me...I'm looking
for a friend of mine, Princess Bala.
Bala! Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeah! Find
Z picks up the tracker ant.
Just remember, I met her first.
Z, carrying the little tracker ant, heads out, following its
Through this and that passage, as the Tracker Ant gets more
and more insistent...And finally straight to a blank wall.
Bala's through there?
Great. More digging. This is why I
left in the first place.
Z can answer his own question. He puts down the tracker ant,
with a look on his face like a kid forced to eat broccoli,
starts digging through the wall...
INT. SKYLIGHT APEX - DAY
Meanwhile, A member of Ant Team Six -- the stupidest member,
in fact, waits at the very top of the tunnel, where it
narrows almost to a point. He's hanging from a winch, and
has a little hammer and chisel in his hand. He's WHISTLING,
INT. MEGA-TUNNEL - DAY
Z emerges from the tunnel he's dug, spits a load of dirt out
of his mouth and wipes his hands off. Nearby, Bala lies
there, bound and gagged.
Z unties Bala and undoes her gag.
Z! You came back!
Why do they have you tied up here?
There's something going on, Z --
From here, Z can see far down the tunnel to where the crowd
They're having a ceremony to open the
We can hear the sound of WATER SHIFTING somewhere above. He
looks up the tunnel...in the distance, we can make out the
silhouete of the commando set to break open the wall...
Bala, that -- that lake we found --
I think the tunnel's right underneath
-- Formica's going to flood the
colony!!! That's what he meant when
said there were too many ants!
Bala looks too shocked to move. Z starts pushing her into
the tunnel he made, and starts heading down towards the crowd.
Z! what are you doing?
I know it's crazy, but -- I can't
just leave. Don't argue with me. If
I've learned anything, it's that the
problems of two people don't add up
to a hill of ants in this world. Or
beans. Something like that. Anyway,
I've got to warn the others.
Z looks into Bala's eyes.
Head for the surface, Bala. If I
don't make it, well...we'll always
Z kisses Bala. Then he starts running down the tunnel
towards the crowd...
Z!!! Wait for me!
INT. ANT MOUND - DAY
All the SOLDIERS are filtering out of the assembly area,
leaving the workers behind. As his troops march by, Formica
steps to the side and hands the Queen a pair of scissors to
cut the ribbon strung across the Megatunnel.
Your majesty, I'm afraid matters of
state keep me from attending the
But General -- this tunnel is your
baby! You're sure you can't stay ?
'Fraid not, your majesty.
Goodbye, your majesty.
Very well, General -- I know you --
all work and no play!
Alright, let's move out!
Formica, surrounded by his bodyguards, hurries off as the
Queen readies to cut the ribbon...
In the name of the colony, I declare
this tunnel open!
INT. MEGA-TUNNEL - DAY
Z and Bala sprint towards the bottom end of the tunnel...
-- and then pull back to see Queen cut the ribbon -- she
looks up and sees --
Z calls out to the crowd.
Listen up! We've all got to get out
of here! This place is going to
The workers are unconvinced.
Are you nuts?
You've got to believe me!
Oh yeah? What makes you so special,
The workers are even more sceptical. A laugh goes up from
You're Z? Gimme a break! Z's ten
-- and he can kill termites with his
bare hands! You're just some scrawny
worker with a mental problem!
I am Z!
No you're not!
Yes he is.
Weaver steps out of the crowd.
Weaver runs up to Z and hugs him, starting to cry.
Hey...it is Z...listen to what he
Z...I'm so sorry! I --
Don't worry about it, pal.
Nearby, Bala and the Queen hug. The Queen looks over at Z.
Oh...it's that social-climbing worker
again -- what does he want?
To save you all! Now we've got to go!
EXT. ANT MOUND - DAY
Outside of the colony, where Formica, surrounded by the army,
gives a signal to Mandible by drawing his finger across his
(talking into his
Let 'er rip!
INT. SKYLIGHT APEX - DAY
AT THE TOP OF THE TUNNEL, the commando starts chiseling away
furiously at the wall...and nothing but dust falls down. The
commando looks at the dust as it falls down, down the long
tunnel...he looks up at the dry wall...Hmmm...
THE WALL BURSTS OPEN.
And a TORRENT starts pouring out -- swallowing the terrified
commando as if he were a crumb and heading down the tunnel
like a freight train, ripping up the walls as it goes...
INT. EARLY MEGA-TUNNEL - DAY
Everyone turns to hear the rumbling sound coming down the
From here, we can see deep into the tunnel, at the point
where it levels out...and the torrent can be seen rushing
down at them...
LET'S MOVE IT!
All of a sudden there's panic as every ant tries to scramble
away from the oncoming water...in the confusion, the Queen's
bearers drop her and scramble over her.
You there! Stop! I say!
The Queen turns, and for a brief moment is silhouetted
against the white-capped torrent of water...
...and then she picks her abdomen up like a skirt and high
tails it away from the torrent, running so fast that she
passes some of her bearers on the way...
And then the torrent spits out of the mouth of the
Megatunnel, quickly filling up the chamber and branching into
all of its side tunnels, as we see:
A group of workers RUNNING up a side tunnel and getting
consumed by a wave, which crashes down on them like a hand
slapping a table...
Another group, the members of which are getting swallowed up
one by one; one of the ants runs up on the ceiling of the
tunnel and keeps on going, upside-down...it works for a while
but eventually he, too is swallowed up...
-- In the Nursery, nurses are evacuating stacks of crying ant
In one of the larger access-tunnels, down which thousands of
workers are fleeing, a group of ants turns and decides to
make a stand for it -- they link up in a mass and form a
LIVING DAM. It holds for a while but then BURSTS scattering
and smashing ants along the sides of the tunnel before eating
INT. TOWN CENTER - DAY
The huge main chamber of the colony, where most of the
workers -- as well as Z, Bala, Weaver, Azteca, and the
Queen -- have run to.
The chamber is rapidly flooding from all sides. Water flows
out of every escape tunnel the workers try...and the crowd is
becoming more and more closely packed together as the waters
rise around them.
There's no way out!
We're all going to drown!!!
Z...what can we do?
Z clenches his fist...he feels utterly powerless...then he
The workers turn to look at him questioningly.
We've got to dig a trench around us!
-- But one of the workers raises his hands.
Uh...we don't dig any more. We're
Yeah. We're too important to dig.
You taught us that, Z. You hate
(at his wits end)
Yeah, but I hate drowning more! Now
You heard the ant -- DIG!!!
The workers start to dig a circular moat around themselves,
passing the dirt back into the middle of what remains of the
-- But they seems to be making little headway against the
water as it continues to rush in...
The ant labor we saw up to now were nothing compared to
this. As the moat gets deeper, the pile grows higher and
higher...Weaver is digging up huge chunks of earth...nearby,
Azteca is digging like crazy too...Z runs around, directing
traffic and encouraging the workers...
That's it! Pass the dirt back to the
center! Go on!
Nearby the Queen stands there, looking squeamish.
Your highness...time to get your
Gingerly, the Queen reaches out for a clod of dirt...and
passes it along. Next thing you know, she's practically
crushed by a huge load thrown up by Weaver.
The water keeps rushing in...but now we notice that...
...the pile of dirt in the middle of the "island" created by
the digging of the moat is growing higher and higher,
reaching up towards the ceiling of the chamber...
...And the water is getting swallowed up by the moat,
swirling around angrily.
Now Z looks up, and sees that with a little more effort they
can reach the top --
We need to form a scaffolding around
this mound -- let's DO IT!
The workers start to cluster around the mound, covering it,
forming a tight network of living bodies around the mound up
towards the ceiling...
The ants start to scale the scaffolding, up towards the top
of the chamber...it's a swarming mass of ants, hauling each
other up, giving each other legs up, climbing ever and ever
higher towards the top...
Where they start to dig through the very ceiling...
...as, at the bottom of the mound, Z starts to organize the
hauling away of the Queen, as though she were a big cargo
Okay boys -- take her up!
Z slaps the Queen on the butt, and she's winched away on a
cable composed entirely of ants linked arm in arm like those
plastic toy monkeys...
EXT. ANT MOUND - DAY
...And Azteca's head pokes through the ground...she hauls
herself up, and hundreds of ants pour up from the ground,
widening the hole...
INT. TOWN CENTER - DAY
The water is rising...but almost all of the ants have
escaped...Z clambers up the mound, as the scaffolding of ants
rolls up from the bottom....
And the rushing water finally wears down the earthen core of
the structure. As Z hauls himself through the hole in the
The entire structure collapses into the angry waters below,
which seem furious to have missed their prey...
EXT. ANT MOUND - DAY
He did it! Z! Z! Z! Z! Z!
The "Z" cheer goes up, with everyone joining in. But the
jubilation is short-lived, for, appearing on the ridge,
surrounding the workers, is FORMICA'S ARMY, circling the mass
of workers, backing them in towards the roiling water behind
them. Formica himself appears in the front lines, with
Carpenter and Mandible at his side.
Z. I should have known. All that
work, all that preparation, come to
nothing. All because of one stinking
He steps forward to address the surrounded, trapped workers.
ALRIGHT. WHICH ONE OF YOU IS Z?
The workers, trembling but silent, cower inside the unbroken
circle of soldiers.
WHAT ARE YOU, DEAF? I ASKED YOU,
Formica laughs, shaking his head.
Folks, you may have survived that
flood, but there's no way you're
gonna escape from me. I'll make you
a deal. Hand over the rebel leader
Z, and you survive.
This sends a ripple of murmurs through the workers.
But if you don't hand him over,
you're all going to die, each and
every single..."individual" one of
The workers all look at each other.
What shall it be, workers?
The workers remain frightened but silent. Z trembles,
Have it your way.
As Formica raises his swagger stick to order the attack, a
lone figure steps out from the crowd.
Z stands there, shivering with fear.
For a moment, Z stands alone, under the glare of Formica's
Then another figure steps out from the throng of workers.
No, I'm Z.
Z turns, astonished, to see Weaver, still and unwavering,
bravely risking his life for his friend. Then, AZTECA also
Next, Bala comes forward.
No, I'm Z.
More and more ants step forward.
I'm Z! I'm Z! I'm Z and so is my
brother! I've been Z for weeks now!
We are Z.
Now, the workers are all shouting the same declaration.
I am Z! I am Z! I am Z!
Z is plainly flabbergasted. Formica is outraged. He gives
The army swells forward on all sides, pushing the workers
towards the swirling water. Some workers surround the Queen
to protect her. All seems lost, when THE FLY from Insectopia
alights on the rim of the horizon.
THE WASP appears on the other side of the horizon.
Suddenly, on all sides, A MASSIVE INSECT ARMY appears on the
ridge, looking not unlike ambushing Indians in a John Ford
film. Formica's soldiers stop in their tracks, awed by the
unfolding spectacle. It looks like all of Insectopia has
turned out: spiders, caterpillars, rhinoceros beetles, all
manner of creatures crawling and flying have shown up, and
now surround the army, dwarfing them.
Are these hooligans giving you
Say the word, Z, and we kick their
The ant army remains frozen, unsure of what to do next.
Formica is furious. If ants had veins, Formica's would be
bulging out of his face.
What are you doing?! ATTACK!!
(berating his army)
Come on, you yellow-bellies!
(turning on Carpenter)
Don't just stand there, Carpenter!
Make an example of yourself!
Uh, actually, we are outnumbered
Formica turns towards the insects gathered against him. With
his chin raised pridefully, Formica steps forward, and
Formica runs so quickly and with such force that his helmet
blows off his head. Z's eyes get big, he stumbles backwards,
slipping, and Formica goes flying over him, toward the
whirlpool behind. He scrabbles at the edge of the water, and
then tumbles over.
For a moment, it looks as if he's gone.
Z goes to the edge of the precipice and looks over. Formica
is struggling in the waters of the very flood he created,
which are roiling not far below. He looks up into Z's eyes,
a new expression crossing his features: fear.
Please...I...I can't swim...Help me...
Formica goes under for a bit, then his head comes up again --
but he's not going to be able to stay afloat for long...
Suddenly he sees a line dropped down. Above, Z looks down on
I thought you said that the life of
one ant doesn't matter.
Formica looks at the line...and in that moment seems to
realize his error...
I guess it does...to the ant.
Formica reaches up and takes the line, and is pulled up by Z
and a bunch of other ants (the line, we see, extends from a
nearby spider, one of the cavalry from Insectopia).
Formica is left, broken and alone, by the precipice, while
HORDES OF ANTS surround Z to congratulate him. Bala fights
her way to his side and the two of them embrace. Then the
ants pick up Z and Bala, and, CHEERING, bear them away.
Only Carpenter stays behind. He walks up to Formica,
carrying his dented and dusty helmet. He cleans it the best
he can with his jacket sleeve and hands it to his fallen
Sir, if it's any consolation, I still
think you're completely worthless as
CLOSE UP OF Z
As he addresses the audience, stand-up style.
So, uh, that's pretty much it. Just
your basic "simple worker overthrows
the government and winds up with the
princess" kind of a story.
You know: there was the big parade
INT. TOWN CENTER - DAY
A HUGE ASSEMBLY OF ANTS applauds as Z who is given a medal by
GENERAL FORMICA'S FACE, looking extremely dispeptic.
General Formica was almost
unemployable. He eventually got a
gig as a honeydew keg.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL Formica clinging to a wall, his belly
hideously distended with honeydew.
The Queen asked me to take over his
job, but I said "Sorry, but I'm
really not the general type. I'm
more the specific type." So they
gave the job to Weaver instead.
WEAVER, in Formica's old office, in a general's uniform, his
feet up on Formica's desk, smoking a cigar. Carpenter is on
his hands and knees scrubbing the floor.
Weaver cut the defense budget in
half. Now we only have an army of
cut back to
Z, ADDRESSING THE AUDIENCE.
And me, I guess you could say that I
lived happily ever after.
Bala enters the frame, embraces and kisses him.
I mean, I've got the whole package,
right? A great life, a beautiful
wife, and a few kids.
WE PULL BACK TO REVEAL
INT. Z'S HOUSE - DAY
Z and Bala stand in the midst of their living room, up to
their knees in THOUSANDS OF CHILD ANTS. The children cover
every horizontal surface. They run around, cry, laugh, and
tease each other. Z looks around the room, looks back at us,
Well, so nothing's perfect. But you
know? I wouldn't change a thing.
The camera pulls up...and away from the ground...to reveal
that this whole story has been taking place in a small area
of CENTRAL PARK. We pull back and back, and see all the
familiar landmarks from the story: the bike path, the
drinking fountain, etc. We tilt up into the NEW YORK
SKYLINE. BIG MUSICAL FLOURISH.