Western Animation: The Ant Bully

The Ant Bully is a 2006 CGI animated movie based on a children's book by John Nickle.

The film is about a boy named Lucas Nickle who, after being picked on by some bullies, takes out his anger on an anthill. The ants who live there don't take too kindly to this, and magically shrink him down to ant size so that they can punish him. Initially they want to kill him, but the Queen Ant steps in and insists that he live among them for a while. He begins to learn how to live as an ant, and develops friendships with some of them.

Not just another 'ant movie', the film is surprisingly mature in many aspects.

Tropes include:

  • An Aesop: Size doesn't matter. Also, don't become a bully yourself when you get bullied.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Early in the movie, Lucas is the monster "Peanut the Destroyer".
    • Later on, the exterminator comes around and takes his place.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Frogs have no uvulas in real life.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The film is based on a book that's about 30 pages long.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Lucas and the ants beat Stan Beals by turning him into a deformed version of himself, so misshapen that he can barely walk at the end.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Combined with a Freeze-Frame Bonus for Lucas. The creators didn't do a great job utilizing Scenery Censors for the scenes where Lucas is nude before being brought to the anthill's court, and there are at least a few times where you can clearly see that he has a featureless crotch. Doesn't stop the ants from commenting on the attributes he apparently still has in their eyes.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Tiffany does this, as do the two girls working at the pizza place.
    • Not to mention Lucas himself.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Fugax and Kreela
  • Blind Without 'Em: Averted; the entire time he is shrunken to ant size, Lucas does not wear his glasses yet he can see perfectly fine, which makes you wonder why he would need his glasses when he is at normal size.
  • Body Horror: Stan Beals' body violently convulses, contorts and ultimately deforms as a result of being injected with the shrinking potion.
  • Break the Cutie: You have to feel sorry for Lucas. He's bullied, he has no friends, his parents don't know how to relate to him, his sister shows absolutely no interest in him and he has no other enjoyment but to torture animals all day. And that's before he gets shrunk and kidnapped in the middle of the night by giant ants that push him down various incredibly (comparatively) great heights and then threaten to eat him alive when he is completely helpless. All while he's completely naked. No wonder his eyes start leaking. Just as well the experience with the ants facilitates his growth into a better person and allows him to get rid of his bully while earning the respect of his peers in the process.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: How Fugax survives an attack with a phone receiver.
  • Cassandra Truth: Only the grandmother realises that Lucas has been shrunk by what she believes to be aliens. Tiffany thinks she's just crazy.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Alca root. Zoc uses it on the frog to save both Lucas and himself.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mommo and the nameless "Smiley" water beetle.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Just how much resistance did the exterminator expect while packing all those weapons?
  • Don't Explain the Joke: The "Cross your heart" bit.
  • Enemy Mine: Ants and wasps vs. exterminator
  • Exit Pursued By Wasps: Stan Beals is last seen barely outrunning an angry swarm of wasps while on a tricycle.
  • Foreign Queasine: Lucas loves honeydew until he finds out what it is — excreta from the caterpillars the colony uses as livestock.
  • Garden Garment: Since his clothes don't shrink with him, Lucas creates a new outfit using plants and exo-skeletons.
    Kreela: "Why is he covered in trash? Is he crazy? Because I don't teach crazy ants."
    Hova: "No, no, no. He calls the trash "clothes". They like keeping their gender traits hidden. He's male."
  • Going Native: And going under 1 inch tall while you're at it.
  • Groin Attack: "That looks vulnerable..."
  • Hand or Object Underwear: Lucas when he grows big again at the end.
  • Hartman Hips: Lucas's mom has them to a ludicrous extreme.
  • Held Gaze: Zoc and Hova have a particularly lingering one after Zoc has redeemed himself in Hova's eyes by putting his life on the line for Lucas.
  • Incredible Shrinking Boy
  • Insect Gender Bender: The queen is female and huge, but the other ants are bigendered.
    • The Glow-worm is a male. Glow-worms are actually all females- their male counterparts are the winged fireflies.
  • Jerkass: Lucas, at first, but after his Character Development he becomes a Nice Guy by losing his emotional baggage and seeing the ants as people rather than easy targets for his post-bully rage. Steve, the bully in question, however, is a jerk even to his "underlings", and Stan Beals, the exterminator,
  • Kaiju: Lucas is this to the ant colony. The Exterminator is far worse.
    • The frog, to a lesser extent.
  • Magic Pants: Averted. Lucas's clothes don't shrink with him, so he's forced to make new clothes out of shed exoskeletons.
    • The same occurs at the end when Lucas is returned to human size and his ant clothes do not grow with him. He quickly finds himself standing completely naked in the front garden.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Lucas is known to the ants as 'Peanut the Destroyer' for his actions when he was full-sized. The Peanut part being a nickname from his mother.
  • Mouse World: Inside the Ant Hill.
  • Naked on Arrival: Lucas' clothes do not change size with him when he is shrunk and reverted.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: When Lucas grows back to his normal size, he finds himself stark naked in the front garden.
  • Not So Different: Lucas and Zoc.
  • Oh Crap!: Actually uttered by a fly after getting swallowed again by a frog.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Lucas is not afraid of the bully anymore after his experiences with the ants.
  • Product Placement: Jelly Belly™ jelly beans are the ants' favorite food.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Stan's ultimate fate of seems very harsh considering his actions are not really all that different from Lucas. In fact, Stan was hired by Lucas to take out the anthill, meaning he's doing it for work, unlike Lucas who did it purely for his own sadistic satisfaction. He may be taking a bit too much pleasure out of his job, but he is unaware that the ants are intelligent creatures. At the end, Lucas gets to go home while Stan presumably has to live the rest of his life with a pretty serious disability.
  • Punch Clock Villain: When you think about it, the exterminator is just doing the job he was hired to do. By Lucas, no less.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Hova does this when she demonstrates what ants do instead of crying when they're sad.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Queen Ant.
  • Scenery Censor: The animators makes use of this to maintain Lucas' dignity after he's been shrunk but before he creates his makeshift outfit. It's not entirely successful, as it occasionally displays his Barbie Doll Anatomy.
  • Shot in the Ass: A very subtle example when Lucas gets pushed into the anthill. The ants repairing the colony take it in turns to guide the falling Lucas towards the Queen by shooting a web-like goo on him, the first stream of which hits Lucas straight in the butt.
  • Take That: The head of the bug that gets pulled out of the frog's digestive juices looks awfully familiar...
  • The Dog Bites Back: The ants get their own back at Lucas for his myriad torments and acts of cruelty. Then, Lucas himself turns the other kids against his tormentor, Steve, after one insult too many.
  • Wedgie: The neighborhood bully gives one to Lucas in the beginning of the movie. It is made clear that Lucas gets them on a regular basis from the bully, as he complains that he's running out of underwear.
  • A Wizard Did It: Among the ants are those considered 'wizards', although they actually seem to be more like potioneers. Nonetheless, a potion that can shrink a boy to the size of an ant is clearly magic, as is the ability to shoot energy bolts from a staff and make it glow brightly on command like Gandalf does.