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Law, order and government are a fundamental part of society today, and this can be seen all over the world today, as well as in the media. In DreamWorks production Antz, the story reaches far beyond the hardships of the ant colony and touches on topics numerous different aspects related to civics and government.
The conflict in the movie begins with two opposing forces, Z and General Mandible. It is evident that each character’s actions and opinions resemble a type of government. Z’s personality is best illustrated by a democratic government and contradictorily, General Mandible’s character resembles a dictatorship. Z is an ant that wholeheartedly believes in equality, respect, and freedom through the way he walks, talks, and acts. These are characteristics that are not only valued by Z but are also an important aspect of democracy. From the very start, Z complains about not having a choice in life and wanting to be able to stand on his own feet. In the end, we learn that Z is finally happy with his place in society, “It’s right back where I started. But, this time I choose it”. Z wants everyone to be born with the freedom to choose, what he or she wants to do. This relates to philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s theory, that everyone is born free and everyone comes together to build equality. Z’s morals and key beliefs are closely tied to this philosophy as Z wants freedom and the ability to pursuing his passion as he chooses, without being any less or more than anyone else around him. Democracies promote rights and freedoms for each individual, allowing everyone with the power to decide their own fate because part of democracy is being able to make your own decision and vote. Z also emphasizes the importance of collaboration as it is shown countless times in the movie when Z strives for the betterment of the colony. He uses the pronoun ‘we’ many times proving his view on teamwork and collaboration, “We can’t leave now…we have to help everyone get out of here”. Z is determined to get this freedom, but he doesn’t let go of his strong belief in coming together for the common good.
The basis of democracy is in coming together and collaborating without being superior to one another. This seen in the movie as Z’s character evolves throughout the movie. In the very beginning when the ants had to come together and make a wrecking ball Z was unable to fulfill his purpose to the expectation. But, at the end of the movie when the ants make a ladder Z makes them successful even though it puts him in danger. He illustrates the importance of collaboration. In a democracy, the government is there to support the citizens and ultimately we all help each other, whether it is intended, or through taxes. Z’s actions and thoughts fall into the liberal category on the political spectrum, as he believes that everything could be better, “We re-built the colony. It’s even better than ever”. Z is ready and willing to embrace change to improve the colony and individuals should have more freedom. These two factors match the beliefs and ideologies of one with a more liberal perspective and Z would follow that as well. When Z describes what he sees in the perfect colony, many parts of that description match the democratic system in Canada and Switzerland. As he wants the freedom of choice and speech, which are rights that one is entitled to in these two countries. This shows the similarity of Z’s decision making, mindset, and personality to a democratic government style.
General Mandibles’ leadership, personality, and mindset all resemble a dictatorship government. The General has a vile vision for the future of the colony and several aspects of this are characteristics associated with fascism and dictatorship. It is evident in the beginning when the General accuses the termite colony of false intentions and he declares war. Despite the monarchy in place, General Mandible deceives the Queen with his charming words and uses everyone’s ignorance to his advantage. With this, he indirectly carries out his plans, “In the evolution of a perfect colony, the strong are meant to rise above the weak”. Through General Mandibles’ thinking and his intentions, we learn that he has a strong emphasis on militarism and war. Along with that Mandible doesn’t support minorities or the weak, he neglects and disregards them, instead, he nourishes the strong so that together the strong can rise to be stronger. He has a strong belief in national superiority. These two ways of thinking come straight from the descriptions of a fascist leader. Not only do General Mandibles’ thoughts mirror a fascist leader, he can easily be compared to various fascist leaders in history. General Mandibles’ words and ideas resemble those of Benito Mussolini, “The state is absolute. The individuals are relative”. It is no surprise that Mandible followed an almost identical doctrine, “The life of one individual ant does not matter. What matters is the colony. And each soldier knows that he’s willing to live for the colony…to fight for the colony… to die for the colony.” The two beliefs are both so similar, the only difference it the intended audience for each. Mussolini was talking to a country, whereas General mandible is talking to a colony of ants. The mindset and beliefs of the two people have a lot in common as they both agree against individualism and strongly believed in capitalism.
Mandibles’ actions resemble the more commonly known dictator, Adolf Hitler. Hitler despised the Jews just as Mandible despises the weak, “You seem to have a weakness for lower orders that I find disturbing”. In both of the scenarios the superior targeted the inferior, but it only resulted in violence and the deaths of their own kind. As both fascists kill their own kind, they are very authoritarian. General Mandible is similar to a fascist dictatorship because of the numerous similar characteristics and practical examples as his mindset and leadership resemble two fascist dictators in history.
In conclusion, one could not imagine that even small ants can hold a whole government inside. In the movie Antz, the concept of one’s personality and leadership style resembling a type of government is a large aspect of the movie, as the screen takes audiences through the internal values, mindset, actions, and opinions that are closely represented by various types of government. The protagonist, Z, resembles a democracy whereas the antagonist, General Mandible, is very similar to a dictatorship. The two main characters can both be represented by a type government.
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