alvindavis99

CIP School in the Phils.

ANTZ the movie and dialogue…….

on July 27, 2012

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WATCH MOVIE LINK BELOW:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_BjVcwmmnZc

A N T Z

     CHARACTERS                                            VOICES

     “Z”………………………………………..WOODY ALLEN

     “WASP #1″…………………………………..DAN AYKROYD

     “WASP #2″…………………………………..JANE CURTIN

     “GEN. FORMICA”……………………………..DANNY GLOVER

     “MANDIBLE”…………………………………GENE HACKMAN

     “AZTECA”…………………………………JENNIFER LOPEZ

     “DRUNK SCOUT”………………………………JOHN MAHONEY

     “WEAVER”……………………………..SYLVESTER STALLONE

     “PRINCESS BALA”…………………………….SHARON STONE

     “QUEEN”……………………………………MERYL STREEP

     “CARPENTER”…………………………..CHRISTOPHER WALKEN

                         Z (O.S.)

                      (over a dark screen)

               All my life, I’ve lived and worked in

               the big city…

     We see:

     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

     plodding along…

     …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.

                         Z (V.O.)

               …which is kind of a problem, since

               I’ve always felt uncomfortably in

               crowds.

     INT. MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR’S OFFICE – DAY

     We join Z, a worker ant with issues.  He’s lying on a couch,

     recounting his woes.

                         Z

               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

               attention.

                      (pause)

               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

               feel…insignificant.

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

                      (enthusiastic)

               Terrific!  You should feel

               insignificant!

     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”).

                         Z

               …I should?

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

                      (hopping around

                       enthusiastically)

               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

               it?

     Z gives a fake smile.

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

                      (incredibly “up”)

               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.

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

               Ask me why we’re so successful.

                         Z

               Why are we so successful?

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

               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.

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

               What do you see out there?

                         Z

               …Ants…

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

               Right!  Ants!  Millions of creatures,

               each with his assigned task, all

               pulling together!

     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.

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

               You see?  Being an ant is being able

               to say, “Hey — I’m meaningless,

               you’re meaningless.”

                         Z

               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…

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

               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.

                         MOTIVATIONAL COUNSELLOR

               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

     synchronized.

     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.

                         AZTECA

               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.

                         Z

                      (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?

                         AZTECA

                      (sweetly)

               Z, old pal…

                      (shouts)

               SHUT UP!!!  It’s bad enough there’s

               a food shortage without you

               complaining about it every day.

                         Z

               The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

                         AZTECA

               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

               trouble.

     A WHISTLE BLOWS.

                         Z

               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.

                         AZTECA

                      (resigned)

               Break’s over.

                         Z

                      (getting back to work)

               This colony needs another tunnel like

               a hole in the ground.  Why are we

               even digging this thing?

                         AZTECA

               Who cares, Z.  All I know is, we

               gotta dig.  We’re not the ones in

               charge.

     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?

                         GENERAL FORMICA

               STAIRS!

     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

     before…

     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.

                         GENERAL FORMICA

               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.

                         CARPENTER

               …Yes, sir.

                         GENERAL FORMICA

               What have they got to complain about?

               Three square meals a day…

                         CARPENTER

               Actually, sir, we’ve cut them down to

               three roughly rectangular meals a

               week.

                         FORMICA

               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

     SQUEAKS.

                         FORMICA

                      (to guard ant, while

                       passing)

               Oil that, soldier.

     INT. THRONE ROOM – DAY

     The QUEEN is on her throne, her huge abdomen sprawled behind

     her.

                         QUEEN

               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.

                         QUEEN

               General, the severe food shortage

               that faces the colony…pains me.

               The thought of any of my children

               going hungry…

                      (she shudders; then,

                       to baby)

               Who’s the cutest widdle worker?  You

               are!  Yes, you!  Don’t forget to

               brush your teeth!

                      (to mid-wife)

               Ship ‘er out.

                      (back to Formica)

               What steps are you taking to remedy

               the situation?

                         FORMICA

               We are launching a major offensive to

               expand our foraging territory…

                         QUEEN

               Yes, what else?

                         FORMICA

               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

               decisively.

     The Queen’s attention is interrupted by another baby being

     put in her arms.

                         QUEEN

                      (to baby)

               No snacking between meals!  Off you

               go!

                      (to Formica)

               Now — what were we saying?

                         FORMICA

                      (Oliver North-style)

               I do not recollect, your majesty.

               Will that be all?

                         QUEEN

               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 —

                         BALA (O.S.)

               General Formica!

     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.

                         CARPENTER

                      (sotto)

               Princess Bala, sir.  Your fiancee.

                         FORMICA

               Princess!  You look — outstanding.

               Is there anything I can do for you?

                         BALA

               Well — I thought — since we’re

               getting married…it might be nice if

               we…got to know one another.

     Formica looks confused.

                         QUEEN

               Bala has always been a hopeless

               romantic, General.

                         BALA

               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

               a conversation?

                         FORMICA

                      (uncomfortable)

               Conversation…yes…well…

                      (to Carpenter)

               Wasn’t she briefed?

                         QUEEN

                      (holding up a baby)

               Look, General!  A darling baby

               soldier!

                      (emotionally, to baby)

               Don’t try to be a hero!  Just make

               sure you come back in one piece!

                      (handing it off)

               Next!

                         FORMICA

                      (using the

                       interruption)

               I’ll take your suggestion under

               advisement, Princess.  In the

               meanwhile —

     Formica turns to go.

                         BALA

               General — we have to talk sometime!

                         FORMICA

               Very well.  Carpenter, is there a

               convenient time to talk vis-a-vis:

               relationship?

                         CARPENTER

               Actually, sir, we’re ahead of

               schedule.  We have thirty-six seconds

               available right now.

                         FORMICA

               Outstanding.  Princess…?

     Bala’s a little fazed…but grabs her chance.

                         BALA

               So, um…how was your day?  What did

               you do?

                         FORMICA

                      (scouring his mind)

               Well…

                      (that’s it!)

               I declared war!

                         BALA

                      (sadly)

               Oh…and I was afraid we had nothing

               in common…

                         CARPENTER

                      (under his breath)

               Fourteen-fifty hours, sir.

                         FORMICA

               Duty calls!

     He strides across the floor.  Bala watches him go, her

     antennae drooping unhappily.

                         FORMICA

               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.

                         QUEEN

                      (sympathetically)

               I felt the same way before I got

               married.  Confused.  Scared.

                         BALA

                      (hopefully)

               You did?

                         QUEEN

               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.

                         BALA

                      (unconvinced)

               Yes…he’s wonderful…

     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.

                         HANDMAIDEN #1

                      (swooning over

                       General Formica)

               The General’s body segments are

               so…symmetrical.

                         HANDMAIDEN #2

                      (giggling)

               I’d let him order me into battle

               anyday.

     Bala hurls the swatch book against the wall.

                         HANDMAIDEN #1

               Princess?  What’s wrong?

                         BALA

               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.

                      (concerned)

               Do I look fat to you?

                         HANDMAIDEN #2

                      (knowingly, to

                       Handmaiden #2)

               Pre-wedding jitters.

                         HANDMAIDEN #1

               You just need to blow off some steam.

               Let’s go to the bar at the Royal Club!

                         BALA

               The Club’s so stuffy.  I want to try

               someplace different.

                         HANDMAIDEN #2

               There isn’t anyplace else —

                      (making a joke)

               Except the worker bar.

                         BALA

               The worker bar!  Yes!  That’s where

               I want to go!

     The handmaidens look shocked.

                         HANDMAIDEN #1

               But — we can’t — there’ll be

               workers there.

     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.

                         Z

               We declared war again?

                      (off Weaver’s nod)

               Are you scared?

                         WEAVER

                      (shrugs)

               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.

                         APHIDS

                      (as they’re slapped

                       on bar)

               Ouch!  Ouch!

                         BARTENDER

               Two aphid beers.

                         Z

                      (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.

                         WEAVER

               I don’t know what you’re talking

               about, Z.

                         Z

               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.

                         WEAVER

               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.

                         Z

               Weaver, they’re career girls.

               They’re obsessed with digging.

                      (sighs)

               No, I’ll probably never meet the girl

               for me.

                         WEAVER

               Who said there was a girl for you?

               I was talking about a girl for me.

                      (quaffing his aphid

                       beer)

               Don’t you want your aphid beer?

                         Z

               I can’t help it.  I have a thing

               about drinking from the anus of

               another creature.  Call me crazy.

                         WEAVER

               Z, we’ve known each other a long

               time, right?

                         Z

               Of course.  You were born two seconds

               after me.

                         WEAVER

               And all the time I’ve known you,

               you’ve been grumping and groaning.

               You should quit making waves.  Go

               with the flow.

                         Z

               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.

                         DRUNK SCOUT

               Have you been to Insectopia?  Have

               you?  No, ya goddam larvas!  But I

               have…

                      (becoming emotional)

               …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…

                      (howling drunkenly)

               It’s Insectopia!  Insectopia!

                         Z

               Hey, Weaver, listen!

                         DRUNK SCOUT

               I was cut off from my unit — found

               it by mistake —

                      (slurring)

               It changed my life!

                      (spraying another

                       soldier with saliva)

               You see — ya follow the great yellow

               egg, and you come to the land of red

               and white —

                         SOLDIERS

               You’ve had enough for one night!

               Come on, Gramps, before you get in

               trouble.

     The soldiers pull him from the bar, carrying him out.

                         Z

                      (excited)

               Hey, did you hear what he said?!

                         WEAVER

               Poor guy’s had one too many scouting

               missions.

     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.

                         HANDMAIDEN #2

               We shouldn’t be doing this — it

               isn’t proper!

                         BALA

               I’m the Princess, aren’t I?

                         HANDMAIDEN #2

               Of course —

                         BALA

               And do Princesses do improper things?

                         HANDMAIDEN #2

               Of course not —

                         BALA

               Then if I go to the worker bar, it

               isn’t improper.  Anyway, don’t worry.

               No one will recognize us in our

               disguises.

     She adjusts her “disguise”, a hardhat, tied down Jackie O.-

     style with an ant’s version of a Chanel scarf.

                         BALA

               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

     dance floor.

                         BARKER

                      (on loudspeaker)

               Okay, folks.  It’s six-fifteen, and

               that means it’s time to dance.

     Every ant gets up to dance.  Weaver turns to Z.

                         WEAVER

                      (draining his beer)

               Time to cut a rug, Z!

                         Z

               I’m not in the mood.

                      (disgusted)

               Even when they’re off work, they

               follow orders.

                         WEAVER

               Well, you just sit here and be a

               party-pooper.

     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

     perfect synch.

                         BARKER

                      (southern twang)

               And a left-right-quarterstep-back

               step-halfstep — a left-right-

               quarterstep-backstep-halfstep —

               a left-right-quarterstep-backstep

               halfstep —

     AT THE ENTRANCE, Bala smiles mischievously at her handmaidens.

                         BALA

               I’m going to ask one of these

               mindless, primitive worker-types to

               dance with me!

                         HANDMAIDEN #1

               But General Formica would be furious!

                         BALA

                      (enjoying the idea)

               I know.

     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.

                         Z

               What a bunch of losers.  Mindless

               zombies capitulating to an oppressive

               system —

                         BALA

               Wanna dance?

     Bala’s standing right there.  Z is instantly smitten.

                         Z

               Me?!  Yes!!!  I mean —

                      (regaining suavosity)

               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.

                         Z

               So uh — how come I haven’t seen you

               around here before?

                         BALA

                      (covering up)

               I work in the palace, I don’t get out

               much.

                         Z

               The palace, hunh?  I bet those royals

               really live it up.  Of course they’re

               all a little, you know, from

               inbreeding —

                         BALA

                      (shocked)

               What?

     Z and Bala step onto the dance floor with the rest of the

     ants, but Z can’t do any of the steps.

                         Z

               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

     rapid instructions.

                         Z

               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.

                         BALA

               Are you sure this is a real dance?

                         Z

               Well, actually, uh — I’m sort of

               making it up —

                         BALA

                      (surprised)

               Really?

                         Z

               Why should everyone dance the same

               way?  It’s as exciting as watching

               fungus grow.

                         BALA

               You’re right!

                         Z

                      (surprised)

               You — you think I’m right?

                         BALA

               Why can’t I just do whatever I want

               to do?  Why can’t I just go wild?!

               Yahoo!

     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.

                         SOLDIER

               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

     off.

                         BALA

               You watch yours, soldier, or my

               worker friend will beat you up!

                         Z

                      (terrified)

               Oh, that’s okay, I’ll let him off

               this time.

                      (whispering to Bala)

               Are you crazy?  This guy’s built like

               a pebble!

                      (ineptly trying to

                       placate the soldier)

               You know they do great prosthetic

               antennas nowadays —

                         BALA

               Aren’t you gonna stand up for

               yourself?

     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.

                         SOLDIER

               How come you don’t dance like the

               rest of us?

     Z glances over at Bala.  Then, shaking with nervousness, he

     says defiantly…

                         Z

               Because — because I’m an individual!

                         SOLDIER #2

               An individual?  Never heard of it.

                         MANDIBLE

               You look like a worker to me.

                         WEAVER

               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.

                         HANDMAIDEN #1

               Princess Bala!  Princess Bala!

     Z, who’s scrabbling around on the floor, overhears.

                         Z

               Princess?  You’re a Princess?

                         HANDMAIDEN #2

               The police are coming!

                         BALA

               Uh oh.

                      (to Z)

               Goodbye!  Gotta run!

                         Z

               Wait!  When can I see you again?

                         BALA

               Let me think.  Hmmnn…

                      (thinks)

               Never.  Bye!

     Bala rushes off with her handmaiden, just before a squad of

     whistle-blowing POLICE wade into the crowd.

                         Z

               Wait!  Princess!  Wait!

     But she’s already gone, leaving Z holding her scarf.

                                              CUT TO:

     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.

                         WEAVER

               Get real, Z!  She just dropped the

               scarf by accident!

                         Z

               Are you kidding?  There were sparks

               between us!  This scarf is a sign!

                         WEAVER

               It’s a sign that you’re crazy!  Do

               you know what the penalty for

               impersonating a soldier is?

                         Z

               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

               a little…

                      (wags his eyebrows

                       suggestively)

               tea and crumpets… and you take your

               place again, and go march around to

               your heart’s content!

     Weaver looks unconvinced.

                         Z

               You have to help me.  Please, Weaver.

               Think of all the things I’ve done for

               you!

                         WEAVER

                      (thinks)

               I can’t think of any.

                         Z

                      (pause)

               Well I’m gonna start doing things for

               you…

                         WEAVER

               Will you introduce me to some worker

               girls?

                         Z

               You bet!  They’ll really go for a

               sensitive guy like you!

                         WEAVER

               Maybe I’ll get lucky.

                      (Weaver thinks about

                       it)

               You know, Z, I wouldn’t do this

               for anyone but you…

     Weaver hands Z has helmet.

                         WEAVER

               Wear this.

                         Z

                      (overjoyed)

               You’re a real buddy.

                         WEAVER

                      (sourly)

               Yeah, I know.

                         Z

               What do I do?

                         WEAVER

               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.

                         Z

                      (overjoyed)

               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.

                         Z

               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.

                         LOUD VOICE

               ATTEN-SHUN!

     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

     unfortunate insect)

                         FORMICA

               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.

                         Z

                      (slapping his thigh)

               “Trapped inside your head” — that’s

               a good one —

     Z notices nobody else is laughing.  He stops.

                         Z

               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.

                         FORMICA

                      (striding back and

                       forth)

               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!

                      (dramatic pause)

               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.

                         Z

                      (to the soldier ant

                       next to him)

               Lays it on a little thick, doesn’t

               he?  If you ask me, he’s one giant

               bore.

                         FORMICA

               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!

                         Z

               Geez, and I forgot my toothbrush.

                         FORMICA

                      (reflective moment)

               Dammit, I’m proud to be an ant.

                      (he looks out at his

                       army)

               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

     confusion.

                         Z

                      (clapping)

               Bravo!  Bring on the Princess!

                         COLONEL

               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.

                         COLONEL

               Eyes…left!

     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.

                         Z

                      (waving)

               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

     by…

                         BALA

                      (peering out)

               Who is that idiot?

                         QUEEN

               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.

                         Z

                      (excited)

               Excuse me, guys — That’s my date.

               Well, it’s been fun.  Have a great

               war!

     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

               Hey!  Wait!

     Z loses sight of the Princess as he’s carried away.

     BARBATUS, a hard-as-nails “grunt” soldier ant, taps Z on the

     shoulder.

                         BARBATUS

               You new, kid?

                         Z

               I just joined up.  But I’m quitting!

               I got a trial membership!

                         BARBATUS

               Trial membership?  Kid, when you join

               this ant’s army, you’re in for the

               full hitch.

     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

     march…

                         Z

               Wait a minute, there’s been a

               mistake!  I’ve got to get back to the

               colony!

     Z starts to fall out of line, but Barbatus, looking

     concerned, stops him.

                         BARBATUS

               Are you crazy, kid?  They shoot

               deserters!

     Z swallows hard.

                         BARBATUS

               You just stick by old Barbatus.

               He’ll watch out for you.

                      (off Z’s look)

               Whatsamatter, kid?  Leave a girl

               behind?

                         Z

               Yeah.  Well — no.  She’s kind of

               playing hard to get.  As a matter of

               fact, she’s playing completely

               unattainable.

                      (nervously)

               So, what’s on the schedule?  A brisk

               walk?  a foraging expedition?

                         BARBATUS

               No — we’re going to attack the

               termites!

                         Z

                      (alarmed)

               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

     termite capital.

                         ANT SOLDIERS

                      (to the tune of “When

                       Johnny Comes

                       Marching Home”)

               We ants go marching one by

               one, hurrah, hurrah!  We slaughter

               termites just for fun, Hurrah!

               Hurrah!

                         Z

               So — these termites, they’re little,

               shy, retiring insects?

                         BARBATUS

                      (grim smile)

               No such luck.  Those dirty terms are

               five times bigger than us, and they

               shoot acid from their foreheads!

                         SOLDIER ANTS

               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…

                         Z

               Well, what exactly does our platoon

               do?  Serve beverages?  Process

               paperwork?

                         BARBATUS

               Our platoon has the best assignment

               of all.  We’re the first into battle!

                         ANT SOLDIERS

               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…

                         Z

               So we’re going back for more armor,

               right?  I mean, these guys are from

               outer space, how are we supposed to

               beat them?!

                         BARBATUS

               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

     an order.

                         COLONEL

               ATTAAAAAAAAACK!!!

     The front line of ants starts rushing towards the termite

     colony…Z is swept along…

                         BARBATUS

               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

     suspiciously.

                         BARBATUS

               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.

                         BARBATUS

               Don’t be scared, kid.  Barbatus’s

               got yer back.

                         Z

                      (petrified)

               Maybe they went out for the evening.

               Let’s leave them a message and head

               home.

                         COLONEL

                      (ignoring him)

               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.

                         COLONEL

               They’re here!!!

                         BARBATUS

                      (to Z)

               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…

                         Z

                      (looking around)

               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

     monstrosity.

                         Z

               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?

               I —

     The termite rears, getting ready to melt Z, when OOF! he’s

     knocked backwards by…

                         Z

               BARBATUS!  You — you saved my life!

                         BARBATUS

               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.

                         COLONEL

               I love the smell of formic acid in

               the morning.

                         Z

               Look out!

     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

     stones.

     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.

                         Z

               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

     too.

                         Z

                      (backing away)

               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.

                         Z

                      (backing away)

               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

     to rumble…

     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…

                         ANT OFFICER

                      (points at Z)

               He’s killed their Queen!

                         Z

               Hey, I’m sorry, it was a mistake —

                         ANT OFFICER

               VICTORY!!!

     We can see that the termite warriors, deprived of their

     leader, are suddenly confused and directionless, easy prey

     for the ants.

                         Z

                      (facetious)

               This is terrific!   Let’s exact

               crippling war reparations!  Let’s set

               up a puppet government!

                         ANT OFFICER

               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

     up confusedly…

     …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…

                         ANT OFFICER

               INCOMING!

     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

     again…

     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

     Z…closer…

     …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.

                         BARBATUS (O.S.)

               Z!  Over here!

                         Z

                      (hopeful)

               Barbatus?

     Z looks down at his feet, where Barbatus’s still-living,

     decapitated head is looking up at him.

                         Z

                      (shocked)

               Barbatus!

                         BARBATUS

               Be honest, kid — am I hurt bad?

                         Z

               No, no, you’re…lookin’ good.

               You’ve got good color in your cheeks.

                         BARBATUS

               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.

                      (he winces)

               I can’t feel my legs…

                         Z

               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!

                         BARBATUS

                      (gasping)

               I wonder…what…was it all…for…

                         Z

               Barbatus, hang on — Barbatus!!

                         BARBATUS

               Don’t make my mistake, kid…

               don’t…be a grunt…your whole

               life…

     Barbatus dies, leaving Z heartbroken.

                                              CUT TO:

     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.

                         AZTECA

               Hey, slow it down, big boy.  You’re

               making the rest of us look bad…How

               come I haven’t seen you around here

               before?

                         WEAVER

                      (covering)

               I’m new…I was born yesterday.

                         AZTECA

               Tell me about it.

                         WEAVER

               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

               pincers —

                         AZTECA

                      (ogling him)

               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.

                         FOREMAN

               What’s the holdup here?!

     Weaver whips his shovel up to his shoulder and salutes, as if

     he’s dealing with a superior officer.

                         WEAVER

               Sorry, sir — I was just having a

               little chat with my friend —

                         FOREMAN

                      (yelling at Weaver)

               Who said you could have a chat?

               You’re not a chatter, you’re a

               digger!  So shut up and dig!

                         AZTECA

               Leave him alone!  He’s new.

                         FOREMAN

               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.

                         AZTECA

                      (surprised at herself)

               I don’t know what came over me,

               talking back like that.  I must be

               going crazy…

                         WEAVER

               Sorry I got you in trouble.  But

               listen, you can share my rations.

                         AZTECA

                      (flirting)

               Are you asking me out to dinner?

                         WEAVER

                      (blushing)

               No — I mean yes — I mean — if you

               don’t have other plans.

                         AZTECA

               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…

               downsized.

     EXT. ANT MOUND – DAY

     Some guard ants are looking out across the sandy main

     entrance to the hive.

                         GUARD ANT

               Look!  They’re back!  The army’s

               back!  Alert the colony!

     The other ant starts ringing a bell, rushing down into the

     colony.

                                              CUT TO:

     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.

                         EXCITED ANTS

               The army’s returned!  Our brave boys

               are back! (etc.)

     Everyone waves little flags as the tuba player Oompah-oompah-

     oompahs…

     …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.

                         AZTECA

               It looks like only one soldier made

               it back!

     Weaver looks distraught.

                         WEAVER

                      (to himself)

               Poor Z — I should never have let you

               go!

     Far down the hall, Z is describing the battle.

                         Z

               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

               it!

     The atmosphere is somber.  This is a tough one to try and put

     a spin on…but that doesn’t stop Formica from trying.

                         FORMICA

               ONE TO NOTHING!  WE WIN!

     The band strikes up again, and everyone cheers.

                         Z

               No — you — you don’t understand!

                         FORMICA

               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!

                         Z

               Royal victory party?  Will…will

               Princess Bala be there?

                         FORMICA

               Of course.  The entire royal family

               will be there to honor you.

                         Z

                      (thinks)

               ONE TO NOTHING!

     Renewed CHEERS, as Z is lifted onto the shoulder of some of

     the soldiers who stayed behind.

                         AZTECA

               Wait a minute, that’s no soldier —

               that’s Z!

                         WEAVER

               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.

                         FORMICA

               Son, you’re an ant after my own

               heart.  A warrior.  An ant that looks

               death right in the face and laughs.

                         Z

               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?

                         FORMICA

               Well she better — she’s engaged to

               one.  Me!

                         Z

               Engaged?  As in you’re getting

               married?

                         FORMICA

               Affirmative.

                         Z

               So…you two are in love?

                         FORMICA

               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

               warriors.

     Formica gives Z a manly slap on the back.  Z looks a little

     uncomfortable as we…

                                              CUT TO:

     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.

                         Z

               Wow, what a spread — you know,

               there’s a food shortage in the rest

               of the colony.

                         FORMICA

               Yes, and do you know why there’s a

               food shortage?

                         Z

               …Not enough food?

                         FORMICA

               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

               back home.

     Feeling a little hot, Z wipes his brow.

                         Z

               Well I, I don’t think “living it up”

               is the right term — how about

               “working themselves to death”?

                         FORMICA

               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

               other’s heart…

                         Z

                      (spooked)

               Oh, hey, that’s great, I think I see

               an old war buddy over there, it’s

               been fun chatting.  Good luck with

               the hallucinations.

     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

     d’oeuvres.

                         OFFICER

                      (telling a joke)

               What do you call it when 10,000

               workers are killed in a tunnel cave-

               in?

                      (a beat)

               Who cares?  They’re workers!

     The officers laugh, but Bala looks bored in this stuffy

     social scene.

                         Z

               But…don’t you think the worker

               class is the very foundation of the

               colony —

                      (realizes he’s

                       getting odd looks)

               I mean, uh, without them, who would

               we stand on?

     More laughter.

                         BALA

               You’re the hero of the recent termite

               campaign, aren’t you?

                         Z

               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.

                         Z

                      (feigning nonchalance)

               And you are…?

                         BALA

               I’m Princess Bala.

                         Z

               Ah, yes.

                      (affected)

               Well, charmed, I’m sure.  So,

               Princess, have you ever danced with

               a hero?

                         BALA

               Yes.

                         Z

                      (deflated)

               Oh…oh well then, one more won’t

               matter.

     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.

                         Z

               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

     party.

                         QUEEN

               All these parties are so marvellously

               alike.

                         FORMICA

               They should be…

                      (suspicious)

               But there’s something funny about

               that soldier.

     Formica strides over to where Z and Bala are dancing.

                         FORMICA

                      (glowering)

               May I cut in?

                         Z

                      (intimidated)

               Oh, of course —

                         BALA

                      (pulling Z back)

               No, General.  I’m dancing with the

               war hero.

                         Z

                      (trying to placate

                       Formica)

               Uh, sorry, General, I…I’ve always

               had this animal magnetism, it —

     Bala YANKS Z back onto the dance floor, dancing away from

     Formica.

                         BALA

               You dance…

                         Z

               Divinely?

                         BALA

               No weirdly…You remind me of

               someone…

     Formica catches Bala’s eye.  She frowns at him, and decides

     to get a little shocking.

                         BALA

               He was swarthy…primitive…

               earthy…sensual.

     As she says these things, Z tries to act accordingly.

                         BALA

               He was a worker.  I danced with him

               at a worker’s bar just the other day.

               I’m not shocking you, am I?

                         Z

                      (proudly)

               No…as a matter of fact…

                         BALA

                      (shocked)

               OH MY GOD, IT’S YOU!  YOU’RE A

               WORKER!!!  A filthy, stupid,

               disgusting WORKER!

     Everybody gasps.  The dancing stops cold.

                         Z

               Gee, uh, could you say it a little

               louder, I think there are some ants

               in the next colony who didn’t hear

               you.

                         BALA

               I CAN’T DANCE WITH A WORKER!

                         Z

                      (offended)

               That’s not what you said the other

               night

                         BALA

                      (now she’s panicked)

               Quiet — sshhh!!

                         Z

                      (digging it in)

               — At the worker bar!  You were

               pretty hot to trot then!

                         BALA

               SSHH!!!  SSHH!!!

     A livid Formica is stalking over towards them.

                         FORMICA

                      (furious)

               What’s this?  A worker has been

               masquerading as a war hero?!

                         Z

               Well it wasn’t a masquerade, really,

               it was more what I’d call a clever

               ruse —

                         FORMICA

               ARREST HIM!

                         Z

               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.

                         QUEEN

               Oh my god!  He’s taking her hostage!

                         Z

               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.

                         Z

                      (to Formica)

               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.

                         Z

               Uh-oh.

     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.

                         PRINCESS

               This is thoroughly unacceptable!

                         Z

               You’re telling me…

     She gets up and runs back towards the colony entrance, where

     soldiers are already issuing to get her…

                         BALA

               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.

                         BALA

               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.

                                              CUT TO:

     EXT. WEED CLUMP – DAY

     Z and Bala dust themselves off.

                         BALA

               What was that thing?

                         Z

               How should I know?

                         BALA

               I order you to find out where we are!

                         Z

               Alright, alright, I’ll try to get

               directions from one of the locals.

     Z tries to flag down some passing bees.

                         Z

               Excuse me, I —

                      (it passes him by;

                       he tries the next)

               Pardon me —

                      (same response)

               And they call them social insects.

                         BALA

               Climb up that tree and get a better

               view!

     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.

                         BALA

               I’ve been kidnapped by the village

               idiot.

                         Z

               Who’s the bigger idiot — the idiot

               who gets kidnapped, or the idiot who

               lets herself get kidnapped by the

               idiot?

                         BALA

               How dare you speak to me like that?

               I’m the Princess!

     Z squares up with her.

                         Z

               Theoretically, yes.  But is the

               monarchical hierarchy applicable

               without the underlying social

               structure to support it?

                         BALA

               Of course!  It defines society!  To

               deny the precept is to say that order

               is an arbitrary distinction applied

               by the society itself!

                         Z

               But can there be a society composed

               of just two ants?

                         BALA

               No!  There’s no such thing as “just

               two ants.”  You never see just two

               ants — you see a million ants!

                         Z

               Look around, sweetheart.

     She looks around.  She doesn’t like what she sees.  She

     glowers at Z.

                         BALA

               I — hate — you.

                         Z

               Well I guess that makes us even.

                         BALA

               Ha!  Don’t make me laugh.  You’re

               crazy about me!  That’s why you lied

               and cheated to get near me!

                         Z

               Oh come on, you’re the one who came

               after me — the swarthy, earthy,

               sensual worker!

                         BALA

                      (repulsed)

               I was slumming it!  I danced with you

               because you were the most pathetic

               specimen in the place!

                         Z

               Is that the same standard you used to

               choose General Formica?

                         BALA

               I didn’t choose him.  What kind  of

               idiot would…

                      (unconvincingly)

               …choose who she wanted to marry?

     She shakes herself out of it.

                         BALA

               Now, worker, you shall take me back

               to the colony, and have your head cut

               off and stuck on a sharp pole!

                         Z

               Well, that’s an appealing offer,

               but…considering the options…

                      (he decides)

               You go back.  Me, I’m going to

               Insectopia.

                         BALA

               Insectopia?  You stupid worker,

               that’s just a fairy tale!

                         Z

               Yeah, well I have it on a reliable

               source…

                      (he knows that was

                       maybe stretching it)

               that it exists.  Now you follow

               the yellow egg…

                      (looking around)

               That direction.

                         BALA

               Worker!  Come back here now!

                         Z

               I’ve got a name.  It’s Z.

                         BALA

               That’s not a name!  That’s just a

               letter!

     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.

                         BALA

                      (clears her throat)

               Worker?

                      (no response…louder

                       now)

               Oh WORKER?  Where are you?

                      (getting desperate)

               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.

                         AZTECA

               I tell ya, I’m gettin’ sick of bein’

               yelled at.

                         WORKER #1

               What do you want, we’re just workers.

                         WEAVER

               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!

                         AZTECA

               That’s right!  He slaughtered

               hundreds of termites single-handedly!

                         WORKER #2

               I heard about this guy.

                      (turning to the other

                       workers)

               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

               flames!

                         WORKER ANT #1

               You’re nuts, how could a worker do

               all that?

                         WEAVER

               Well, because he’s more than a

               worker…he’s a…what did he call

               it, Azteca…

                         AZTECA

               Invisible!

                         WEAVER

               No — an individual!

                         WORKER #2

               What’s that?

                         WEAVER

               Well, it’s…someone with his own

               point of view…someone who does what

               he wants, not whatever he’s told to

               do!

                         AZTECA

                      (eyes lit up,

                       watching Weaver)

               Someone who follows his heart!

                         WEAVER

                      (taking Azteca’s hand)

               Right…because every ant’s important!

                         WORKER #2

                      (scoffs)

               But that would mean I’m important.

                         WORKER #1

               I’m outta here, this sounds like

               trouble to me.

     But more ants are gathering ’round.

                         WEAVER

               We can all be individuals!  Just like

               Z!

     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”.

                         BALA

               Water…water…

                         Z

               Water…water — oh, you already said

               that.

                         BALA

                      (walking along)

               My skin’s dry, my exoskeleton is

               cracking…I wish I’d never met you,

               you ruined my life.

                         Z

               I ruined your life?  Look, I was

               perfectly happy until I met you —

               alright, I was miserable, but I was

               happily miserable.

     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

     them).

                         BALA

               Look out!

     Bala pushes Z out of the way just as the wheel rolls past

     with a cacophonous CRUNCHING, GRINDING noise — like a

     gigantic millwheel.

                         BALA

               We’re going to die!

                         Z

               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

     thunders past.

                         Z

               Well I’ll be.

     Bala notices that they’re clutching one another in fear; she

     pushes him away.

                         BALA

               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?

                         Z

               Want a list?

                         BALA

                      (urgent)

               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…

                         Z

               It’s…it’s…

                         BALA

               WATER!!!

     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.

                         Z

               This lake is huge!  And so close to

               the colony!  Think of the vacation

               potential!

                         BALA

               Cut me down a soft leaf so I can take

               a nap.

                         Z

               Listen, “Princess”, you can’t order

               me around.  Out here, you’re not the

               boss anymore — out here, you’re

               just —

     — 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

     engulfed him.

     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.

                         BALA

                      (annoyed)

               Out here I’m just what?

                         Z

                      (through the water)

               Hlllllllp!

                         BALA

                      (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.

                         BALA

               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.

                         BALA

                      (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.

                         Z

               Princess, has it ever occurred to you

               that they’re not going to rescue you?

                         BALA

               General Formica won’t let me die out

               here.  I’m his fiancee.

                         Z

               Look.  How many other Princesses are

               there?

                         BALA

               Five thousand three hundred and

               ninety — no.  About five thousand

               four hundred by now.

                         Z

               And only you can become a Queen?

                         BALA

               Well…no, but —

                         Z

               So what makes you so special?

                         BALA

                      (hesitates)

               Well…I am the oldest.

     Bala turns from Z.  She’s thinking things over, realization

     dawning on her.

                         BALA

               By three seconds…

     She looks out into the grass forest.

                         BALA

                      (to herself)

               You’re right.  There are as many

               Princesses…as there are blades of

               grass.

     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.

                         FORMICA

               Dammit, this tunnel is priority A-1!

               We can’t afford any delays on this

               project!

                         CARPENTER

               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…

                         WORKER ANTS

               Z!  Z!  Z!  Z!

     A worker moves forward to join the strikers, tossing down his

     tool.

                         FOREMAN

                      (yelling at him)

               Where do ya think you’re going?  Get

               back to work!

                         WORKER #1

               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.

                         FORMICA

               Notice the big one, holding hands

               with the female?

                         CARPENTER

               Well, uh, who notices workers, sir?

                         FORMICA

                      (calculating)

               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.

                         FORMICA

               So this Z…he fancies himself an

               individual?

                         WEAVER

               Yeah…I mean…well…I don’t know,

               really, sir.

                         FORMICA

                      (patronizing)

               Well now you haven’t fallen for this

               silly idea of individuality, have

               you?

                         WEAVER

               Oh, no, sir!

                         FORMICA

               Good.  You’re a good soldier.

                         WEAVER

               Thank you, sir.

     Weaver begins to relax a bit.

                         FORMICA

               So tell me.  Where’s Z?

                         WEAVER

               I…I have no idea, sir.

                         FORMICA

               Okay, son.

     He pats Weaver on the shoulder.

                         FORMICA

               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?

                         WEAVER

                      (enthusiastically)

               That’s correct, sir!

                         FORMICA

                      (points at a guard)

               Not that one.

                      (another guard)

               Or that one.

                         WEAVER

               No, sir!

     Formica nods at Carpenter, who smiles and opens a door.  Two

     soldiers walk in, holding Azteca.  The color drains from

     Weaver’s face.

                         FORMICA

                      (calmly, with

                       satisfaction)

               Or that one?  Her life doesn’t

               matter, does it?

                         AZTECA

               Don’t tell that tightass anything,

               Weaver!

     Weaver starts to get up, but the guards behind him hold him

     down.

                         WEAVER

               Wait!  Just let her go!  Z’s long

               gone anyway, following some golden

               egg to Insectopia!  You’ll never

               catch him!

     Formica’s face lights up.

                         FORMICA

               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

               workload.

     The guards exit with Weaver and Azteca.

                         FORMICA

               What do we have on this “Insectopia”?

                         CARPENTER

               Scattered reports, sir.  Rumors.

               Nothing reliable.

                         FORMICA

               Desperate times call for desperate

               measures.  Get me Ant Team Six.

                         CARPENTER

                      (frightened)

               Ant Team Six…

     EXT.  GRASS JUNGLE – DAY

     Z and Bala are lost, wandering through the grass

                         BALA

                      (looking hopeless)

               I swear, we’ve passed this blade of

               grass three times.

     Z keeps marching on.

                         BALA

               Face it, Z, we’re lost!  We must have

               walked halfway across the world by

               now!  How did I get into this mess…

                         Z

                      (too shy to look at

                       her)

               Come on…tell me there wasn’t just

               a little…something between us that

               first night at the bar.  The night we

               danced.

                         BALA

                      (sadly)

               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…

                         Z

               …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

     shaker.

     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.

                         Z

               We’ve found it!  Insectopia!  Look at

               all this food’

                         BALA

                      (amazed)

               You were right…you were right!

                      (smiling happily)

               Z, it’s beautiful!

                         Z

               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.

                         Z

               There’s – there’s some kind of force

               field!

     Bala joins him, laboring against the saran wrap.  Then both

     of them hear laughter from above.

                         MALE WASP (O.S.)

                      (lockjawed accent)

               Muffy, look, party-crashers.

                         FEMALE WASP (O.S.)

                      (laughing)

               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.

                         MALE WASP

                      (to Z and Bala)

               You down there, haven’t you ever been

               to a picnic?

                         Z

               Hunh?

                         FEMALE WASP

               Habla Ingles?

                      (to Male Wasp)

               Well I really don’t know who they are.

                         Z

               We’re ants!

     The Male Wasp zooms in closer.

                         MALE WASP

               Poopsie, we know some ants, don’t we?

                      (to Z)

               Are you related to the Fifth Avenue

               ants?

                         FEMALE WASP

               Darling, do you have to talk to any

               insect from off the street?

                         MALE WASP

               Just being friendly, Poopsie.

                         BALA

               Hello?  I’m not just “any insect”.

               My mother is the Queen.

                      (momentously)

               I’m Princess Bala!

                         MALE WASP

                      (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”.

                         MALE WASP

               Lunch!

                      (to Z)

               A little piece of advice, sport —

               bob and weave!  Bob and weave!

                         BALA

               What do you mean?

                         MALE WASP

               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…

                         THE WASPS

               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.

                         Z

               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.

                         BALA

               Oh…my…God.

                         MALE WASP

                      (shaking her)

               Muffy!  Muffy!  Wake up!

     But she doesn’t move.  The Male Wasp stares up at the sky.

                         MALE WASP

                      (heartbroken)

               WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY????

     But Z, also looking up, has no time to commiserate.

                         Z

               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.

                         BALA

               MMMffllmmm…

     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!

                         BALA

               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 —

                         Z

               Bala!

                      (mournfully)

               I’ll never see her again…

     — But he does, instantly, as the shoe rises again, showing

     Bala stuck deeper in the bubblegum —

                         BALA

               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…

                         Z

                      (thinks)

               These things always come in twos…

     He sees a SECOND SHOE starting to rise —

                         Z

               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.

                         Z

               Whoooooooaaaa!!!

     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

     background…

                         Z

               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…

                         BALA

               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.

                         Z

                      (Tarzan whoop)

               Aa-ee-ya-ee-yaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!

     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…

                         BALA

               Z!  You’re here!

     Z gets smashed into the bubblegum next to Bala.  Now he’s

     stuck too.

                         Z

                      (ruefully)

               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…

                         BALA

                      (emotional)

               Z…if we don’t make it…I just want

               you to know….

                         Z

                      (touched)

               Yes?

                         BALA

               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).

                         Z

               We’re safe…

     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.

                         Z

               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

     droplet.

     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

     land.

                         MAJOR MANDIBLE

               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.

                         MANDIBLE

               Talk to me.

                         COMMANDO ANT

               Z and the Princess were here, sir.

               Signs of a struggle.

                         MANDIBLE

               Let’s get a read on that feremone

               track.

                         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

     of smell.

                         TRACKER ANT

               Bala…find Bala…

     The tracker, drool running out of its long proboscis, sniffs

     the air and starts signalling like a geiger counter…

                         TRACKER ANT

                      (as he’s swivelled)

               Nnononononononoyeahyeahnononononono

               no…

     Finally the tracker stops swivelling, pointing in one

     direction and saying, “Yeahyeahyeahyeah…”

                         COMMANDO ANT #3

               Got ’em!  Ten clicks from here!

                         MANDIBLE

               Z — you dirt-digging, fancy-dancing,

               wisecracking, royalty-grabbing, rebel

               SCUM!

                      (yelling into the

                       distance)

               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

     of him.

                         MANDIBLE

               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.

                         BALA

               Come on, Z.

                         Z

               Forget it.  You go ahead, I give up.

               I…I don’t know what I was thinking.

               “Insectopia”.

     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

     bigger…

                         Z

                      (defeated)

               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.

                         FLY

               What’s with the bummer attitude?

     A nearby BUTTERFLY joins in.

                         BUTTERFLY

               Yeah — nobody stresses out in

               Insectopia!

                         BALA

               Did you say…

                         Z

                      (joining Bala)

               …Insectopia?

     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

     of plenty.

     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.

                         BALA

                      (happily)

               Z, we made it!

                         FLY

                      (alighting on the

                       grapefruit)

               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

                         Z

               Yippeeeeee!

     …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.

                         Z

                      (terrified)

               AAAAAGH!!!

     Surprisingly, the termite seems equally terrified…

                         FLY

                      (to Z)

               Hey, take it easy!  There’s nothin’

               to be afraid of!

                         Z

               Yeah, well, I make it a practice not

               to trust anyone who shoots acid out

               of their forehead.

                         CRICKET

               Dude, here in Insectopia, we don’t

               judge people by how many arms and

               legs we’ve got.

                         FLY

               Yeah, back home, they called me a

               fruitfly.  But here, I’m known

               as…

                      (with attitude)

               Superfly.

                         CRICKET

               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.

                         Z

                      (taking his hand,

                       disgusted)

               Charmed.

     Z reaches out and shakes the termite’s hand, as Bala watches,

     smiling.

                                              CUT TO:

     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.

                         Z

               So…you never did tell me…what

               made you come out to the worker bar

               that night?

                         BALA

               Just looking for fun, adventure,

               trouble, I guess.

                         Z

               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

               night.

     Z takes out Bala’s scarf, which he’s been keeping folded in

     a pocket.

                         Z

               Sorry, it’s been through a war, not

               to mention everything else…

                         BALA

               You held onto this all that time?

                         Z

               Well, I…I know it’s a little

               strange, but…I thought it might

               come in handy if I…needed a scarf

               someday.

                      (embarrassed)

               Well, to be honest, I just liked

               having it.

     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,

     when —

                         BEETLE

               Hey Z!

     The moment is wrecked.  Z looks up.  A chubby beetle stands

     there with Gus the termite.

                         BEETLE

               Wanna bring back dessert?  There’s a

               thirty foot long blimp in the next

               can, made completely of chocolate!

                         Z

                      (annoyed)

               Sure.  I wasn’t busy or anything.

     Z gets up to go with them.

                         Z

               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.

                         TRACKER ANT

               Yesyesyesyesyes —

     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.

                         MANDIBLE

               Talk to me.

                         COMMANDO #1

               I’ve got a read on the Princess —

               but target Z isn’t accounted for.

                         MANDIBLE

               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

     the song.

                         CRICKET

               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?

                         LADYBUG

               Man…that’s so deep…

     At that moment Ant Team Six rapels down from the top of the

     garbage bin, landing amongst the insects.

                         MANDIBLE

               EVERYBODY DOWN!

     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.

                         MANDIBLE

               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.

                         BALA

               Stop!  You don’t understand!

                         MANDIBLE

               I don’t have to understand, Missy —

               I’ve got orders.  Now where’s Z?

                                              CUT TO:

     INT. INSECTOPIA – NIGHT

     Z, the termite, the beetle and the fly are happily carrying

     a huge M&M back to the feast.

                         FLY

               Man, your girl is fly, know what I’m

               saying?

                         Z

                      (overdoing it)

               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

               inadequate.

     They throw down the M&M, which lands with a THUD.  Z notices

     that the rest of the insects look spooked.

                         Z

               What’s the matter?  This place is as

               cheery as a Roach Motel at check-out

               time.

     Z looks around.

                         LADYBUG

               Bala’s been kidnapped!  Some flying

               ants took her back to the colony!

                         Z

               She’s been kidnapped?!  But I can’t

               live without her!

     Z just stands there, heartbroken.

                         Z

                      (determined)

               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.)

               I’ll go.

     The male wasp is hovering nearby.

                         Z

                      (surprised)

               You?!

                         MALE WASP

               I know what it’s like to lose

               someone…I keep hearing the sound of

               Muffy’s flapping wings…so I’ll take

               you.

     Z hops on the wasp’s back.

                         Z

               Let’s go, pal!

     The wasp takes off, leaving the other insects looking a

     little chastized.

                         FLY

               Geez.  I feel like a real stinkbug.

                                              CUT TO:

     EXT. SKY ABOVE COLONY – MORNING

     The wasp and Z fly high above the colony…

                         Z

               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)

                         Z

               Things look so close together from up

               here…there’s the desert…and the

               lake…

                      (thinking about

                       something)

               it’s not far from the colony at all…

     Suddenly, the wasp bounces up and down in the air.

                         MALE WASP

               Sorry.  Turbulence.

     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

     insects.

     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.

                         FORMICA

               Princess Bala.  Good.

                      (with urgency)

               Where’s Z?

     Bala replies warily.

                         BALA

               He’s…he’s dead.

                      (covering for Z)

               You don’t have to look for him

               anymore.  He was eaten by a praying

               mantis.

                         FORMICA

                      (regretfully)

               It’s a shame he died prematurely…I

               was hoping to kill him myself.

                         BALA

               Well you’ll never be able to hurt him

               where he is now.

                      (sadly)

               I miss him already.

                         FORMICA

                      (surprised)

               You miss him?  Why?

                         BALA

                      (angry)

               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.

                         FORMICA

                      (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.

                         MALE WASP

               Good luck, Z.  For a wingless insect,

               you’re alright by me.

                         Z

               Thanks, Chip.

     They shake hands and the wasp flies off.

                         Z

                      (to himself)

               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.

                         SOLDIER ANT

               You there!  Worker!

     Z’s caught — it’s over.  He turns around with his hands up.

                         Z

               Don’t bite!  I surrender!

                         SOLDIER ANT

               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.

                         Z

                      (heading inside)

               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

     cut.

                         QUEEN

               Very impressive, General.

     Behind her, hundreds of thousands of workers are crowded,

     looking confused and expectant.  Some of them clutch little

     flags and noisemakers…

                         MANDIBLE

               Wave that flag, you maggot!

     …which we see are being handed out to them by Ant Team Six.

                         FORMICA

               Is there anything wrong, your majesty?

     The Queen is looking around unhappily.

                         QUEEN

               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.

                         FORMICA

                      (falsely supportive)

               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.

                                              CUT TO:

     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.

                         Z

               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.

                         TRACKER ANT

                      (sniffing)

               Z!  Z!  I smell Z!

     For a moment, Z’s afraid.  Then he sees the small Tracker Ant

     doesn’t seem hostile.

                         Z

               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.

                         Z

                      (getting it)

               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.

                         TRACKER ANT

                      (enthusiastic)

               Bala!  Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeah!  Find

               Bala!  Yeahyeahyeahyeah!

     Z picks up the tracker ant.

                         Z

               Just remember, I met her first.

     Z, carrying the little tracker ant, heads out, following its

     lead…

     Through this and that passage, as the Tracker Ant gets more

     and more insistent…And finally straight to a blank wall.

                         TRACKER ANT

               Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeah…

                         Z

               Bala’s through there?

                         TRACKER ANT

               Bala…Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeah…

                         Z

               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,

     awaiting instructions.

     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

               Bala!

     Z unties Bala and undoes her gag.

                         BALA

               Z!  You came back!

     They HUG.

                         Z

               Why do they have you tied up here?

                         BALA

               There’s something going on, Z —

     From here, Z can see far down the tunnel to where the crowd

     is gathering.

                         BALA

               They’re having a ceremony to open the

               Megatunnel…

     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…

                         Z

               Bala, that — that lake we found —

               I think the tunnel’s right underneath

               it!

                      (horrified)

               — Formica’s going to flood the

               colony!!!  That’s what he meant when

               said there were too many ants!

                         BALA

               Oh no…

     Bala looks too shocked to move.  Z starts pushing her into

     the tunnel he made, and starts heading down towards the crowd.

                         BALA

               Z!  what are you doing?

                         Z

               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.

                         Z

               Head for the surface, Bala.  If I

               don’t make it, well…we’ll always

               have Insectopia.

     Z kisses Bala.  Then he starts running down the tunnel

     towards the crowd…

                         BALA

                      (following him)

               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.

                         FORMICA

               Your majesty, I’m afraid matters of

               state keep me from attending the

               ceremony.

                         QUEEN

               But General — this tunnel is your

               baby!  You’re sure you can’t stay ?

                         FORMICA

               ‘Fraid not, your majesty.

                      (with regret)

               Goodbye, your majesty.

                         QUEEN

               Very well, General — I know you —

               all work and no play!

                         FORMICA

               Alright, let’s move out!

     Formica, surrounded by his bodyguards, hurries off as the

     Queen readies to cut the ribbon…

                         QUEEN

               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…

                         Z

               Stoooooop!

     — and then pull back to see Queen cut the ribbon — she

     looks up and sees —

                         QUEEN

               Bala!

                         BALA

               Mom!

     Z calls out to the crowd.

                         Z

               Listen up!  We’ve all got to get out

               of here!  This place is going to

               flood!

     The workers are unconvinced.

                         WORKER #1

               Are you nuts?

                         Z

               You’ve got to believe me!

                         WORKER #2

               Oh yeah?  What makes you so special,

               Mr. Know-It-All?

                         Z

               I’m Z.

     The workers are even more sceptical.  A laugh goes up from

     the crowd.

                         WORKER #3

               You’re Z?  Gimme a break!  Z’s ten

               milimeters tall!

                         WORKER #4

               — and he can kill termites with his

               bare hands!  You’re just some scrawny

               worker with a mental problem!

                         Z

               I am Z!

                         WORKER #1

               No you’re not!

                         WEAVER

               Yes he is.

     Weaver steps out of the crowd.

                         Z

               Weaver!

     Weaver runs up to Z and hugs him, starting to cry.

                         WORKERS

               Hey…it is Z…listen to what he

               says! [etc].

                         WEAVER

               Z…I’m so sorry!  I —

                         Z

               Don’t worry about it, pal.

     Nearby, Bala and the Queen hug.  The Queen looks over at Z.

                         QUEEN

                      (distastefully)

               Oh…it’s that social-climbing worker

               again — what does he want?

                         Z

                      (in response)

               To save you all!  Now we’ve got to go!

                                              CUT TO:

     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

     throat…

                         MANDIBLE

                      (talking into his

                       antenna)

               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…

     Then…

     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

     tunnel —

                         AZTECA

               Listen!

                         WORKER #1

               He’s right!!!

     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…

                         Z

               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.

                         QUEEN

               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

     babies…

     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

     them up…

     And we…

                                              CUT TO:

     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.

                         AZTECA

               There’s no way out!

                         QUEEN

               We’re all going to drown!!!

                         BALA

               Z…what can we do?

     Z clenches his fist…he feels utterly powerless…then he

     shouts…

                         Z

               Dig!

     The workers turn to look at him questioningly.

                         Z

               We’ve got to dig a trench around us!

     — But one of the workers raises his hands.

                         WORKER #1

               Uh…we don’t dig any more.  We’re

               individuals.

                         WORKER #2

               Yeah.  We’re too important to dig.

               You taught us that, Z.  You hate

               digging!

                         Z

                      (at his wits end)

               Yeah, but I hate drowning more!  Now

               dig!

                         WEAVER

               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

     dry ground.

     — 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…

                         Z

               That’s it!  Pass the dirt back to the

               center!  Go on!

     Nearby the Queen stands there, looking squeamish.

                         Z

               Your highness…time to get your

               hands dirty!

     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 —

                         Z

               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…

                         Z

               Now climb!

     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

     container…

                         Z

               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

     ceiling.

     The entire structure collapses into the angry waters below,

     which seem furious to have missed their prey…

     EXT. ANT MOUND – DAY

                         WORKER

               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.

                         FORMICA

               Z.  I should have known.  All that

               work, all that preparation, come to

               nothing.  All because of one stinking

               ant.

     He steps forward to address the surrounded, trapped workers.

                         FORMICA

               ALRIGHT.  WHICH ONE OF YOU IS Z?

     The workers, trembling but silent, cower inside the unbroken

     circle of soldiers.

                         FORMICA

               WHAT ARE YOU, DEAF?  I ASKED YOU,

               WHERE’S Z?

     Formica laughs, shaking his head.

                         FORMICA

               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.

                         FORMICA

               But if you don’t hand him over,

               you’re all going to die, each and

               every single…”individual” one of

               you.

     The workers all look at each other.

                         FORMICA

               What shall it be, workers?

     The workers remain frightened but silent.  Z trembles,

     terrified.

                         FORMICA

               Have it your way.

     As Formica raises his swagger stick to order the attack, a

     lone figure steps out from the crowd.

                         Z

               Wait…

     Z stands there, shivering with fear.

                         Z

               …I’m Z.

     For a moment, Z stands alone, under the glare of Formica’s

     gaze.

     Then another figure steps out from the throng of workers.

                         WEAVER

               No, I’m Z.

     Z turns, astonished, to see Weaver, still and unwavering,

     bravely risking his life for his friend.  Then, AZTECA also

     steps forward.

                         AZTECA

               I’m Z!

     Next, Bala comes forward.

                         BALA

               No, I’m Z.

     More and more ants step forward.

                         WORKERS

               I’m Z!  I’m Z!  I’m Z and so is my

               brother!  I’ve been Z for weeks now!

                         QUEEN

                      (regally)

               We are Z.

     Now, the workers are all shouting the same declaration.

                         ALL

               I am Z!  I am Z!  I am Z!

     Z is plainly flabbergasted.  Formica is outraged.  He gives

     the signal.

                         FORMICA

               ATTACK!

     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.

                         FLY

               Hey, guys!

     THE WASP appears on the other side of the horizon.

                         WASP

               It’s them!

     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.

                         WASP

               Are these hooligans giving you

               trouble, Z?

                         FLY

               Say the word, Z, and we kick their

               butts.

     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.

                         FORMICA

               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!

                         CARPENTER

               Uh, actually, we are outnumbered

               sir…

     Formica turns towards the insects gathered against him.  With

     his chin raised pridefully, Formica steps forward, and

     CHARGES Z!

                         FORMICA

               AHHHHHHH!!

     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.

                         FORMICA (O.S.)

               Help…help me…

     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.

                         FORMICA

               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

     him.

                         Z

               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…

                         FORMICA

               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

     general.

                         CARPENTER

               Sir, if it’s any consolation, I still

               think you’re completely worthless as

               an individual.

                                              FADE TO:

     CLOSE UP OF Z

     As he addresses the audience, stand-up style.

                         Z

               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

               and everything…

                                              CUT TO:

     INT. TOWN CENTER – DAY

     A HUGE ASSEMBLY OF ANTS applauds as Z who is given a medal by

     the Queen.

                                              CUT TO:

     GENERAL FORMICA’S FACE, looking extremely dispeptic.

                         Z (V.O.)

               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.

                         Z (V.O.)

               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.

                                              CUT TO:

     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.

                         Z (V.O.)

               Weaver cut the defense budget in

               half.  Now we only have an army of

               five million.

     cut back to

     Z, ADDRESSING THE AUDIENCE.

                         Z

               And me, I guess you could say that I

               lived happily ever after.

     Bala enters the frame, embraces and kisses him.

                         Z

               I mean, I’ve got the whole package,

               right?  A great life, a beautiful

               wife, and a few kids.

                         BALA

               A few?

     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,

     and shrugs.

                         Z

               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.

     FADE OUT.

THE END

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