Ten-year-old Lucas has a problem. The neighborhood bully has been picking on him, and Lucas believes he’s powerless to stop it. The bully told him, “I’m big and you’re small, so there’s nothing you can do about it.” Lucas doesn’t feel as if he can talk to his parents about it, so in order to vent his feelings, he takes his aggression out on the ant hill in the front yard. Repeating the bully’s mantra, he takes a garden hose and floods the hill, saying, “I’m big and you’re small.” Destroying the hill makes him feel in control for a small moment, but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem.
Meanwhile, down in the hill, the ants are becoming desperate for a solution. “The Destroyer,” as they call Lucas, has struck again, and they must find a way to make him stop. Zoc, a forward-thinking ant voiced by Nicholas Cage, comes up with a magic elixir that will shrink Lucas down to the size of the ants, and by night, a group of brave scouts sneak into Lucas’s room and administer the elixir. Then they carry him off to the hill, where he is put on trial for crimes against the colony. He is sentenced to live as an ant until he understands just what it is he has done.
At first, Lucas rebels against the assignment. He only does what he must in order to stay out of trouble with the guards, but soon he begins to feel a sense of community with the ants. When the exterminator comes to destroy the ant hill, Lucas comes up with a plan to stop the extermination and to bring peace to the yard once and for all. In the end, Lucas even finds the strength to stand up to the bully.
This film had many good themes. It shows how a person, once bullied, feels the need to act out and vent their own frustration, leading to a cycle that must be stopped. It taught the importance of taking responsibility for our own actions and how we can’t blame others for our bad behavior. I think it’s an excellent springboard for parents to use as they approach their children about bullying and ways to handle conflict.
There were a few moments of mild peril, but nothing I considered actually frightening. I viewed this film with all my children ages 4-12, and we enjoyed it equally.
This movie is rated PG.
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