Ants and Anthropomorphism

Ants are popular insects to depict in animated films. Ants are familiar to all and are social. Animators often use these traits as inspiration, but then create a story and characters that minimally depict ant biology. The animated French film, Minuscule – Valley of the Lost Ants, fits the genre. The ants engage in some behaviors characteristic of ants: foraging for food, cleaning up after picnics and competition between ant species. There are just enough features that most will recognize the charters as ants, but they are also “humanized” by giving them large eyes and other human features used to communicate human emotion.

The film combines animation with live shots, most notably scenes from Ecrins and Mercantour and National Parks in southern France. This adds a realistic quality to the film. Rather than highlight some of the more interesting aspects of ant behavior, the plot uses ants as characters into a tale of good versus evil ants in which the ants act more like humans than ants.

If you enjoy ant biology and expect to see it portrayed, this is not the film for you. If you are fan of quality 3D animation without the annoying repartee, this film delivers. The animation is excellent, the music in the sound track is compelling and the characters do not talk. The trailer is on YouTube:

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Art, by jjneal, Insect Inspired. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s