In the not too distant past — the year 2017 — I actually did reviews.
...But I became so bored of summarizing the Enter HorrorLand subplot that I ended up putting it off for months. So, instead of abandoning reviews, I'll just review something that seems like fun.
"Awesome Ants" (TV review)
For more info on the episode, consider checking out the article.
Before I watch the episode...
I remember watching this episode once, but I don't remember it being particularly good.
The episode starts off at an ice-cream parlor. And, like with any classy establishment, there are ants crawling all over the counter and the food. As a matter of fact, there are hoards of ants everywhere!
The episode's production quality immediately begins to shine in two areas:
- Rather than using actual ants, the production team decided to put a bunch of round, black dots on the wall with CG. Rather than moving the dots individually, they just applied a ripple effect, and it looks bad.
- Ben (the protagonist's friend) says, "Look at those ants," while the camera is pointed away from him. When the camera cuts back to him, you can still hear him making the "ts" sound in "ants", but his lips aren't moving.
The ice-cream store owner apparently doesn't notice that his arm is covered with ants, so the protagonist, Dave, has to tell him. Naturally, the owner runs out of the store screaming. Everyone else in the store follows suit. Once outside, Dave is crushed by a giant ant that falls from the sky! It's quickly revealed that the ant is a decoration for an exterminator's truck. Evidently, it wasn't secured at all. The car is owned by a man named Mr. Lantz, who exterminates antz. Oh, he's also dressed like a Ghostbuster.
Lantz, being the professional that he is, takes the children back into the infested location. Lantz finds the ant-queen, and he crushes her in his fist (which produces an inordinate fistful of slime).
Mr. Lantz hands Dave a mail-order brochure for a company called "Awesome Ants". Lantz encourages Dave to buy a terrarium of ants from the company. As luck would have it, Dave is in need of a science fair project idea for school. Dave is skeptical of the company at first... But once he sees the gorgeous design work on the brochure, he can't say no!
Dave fills out the order form, and — to his surprise — his package arrives the next day. (Maybe he accidentally paid for the "Awesome Ants Prime" delivery.) Most shocking of all, the terrarium is huge! It's almost the size of a house... And it only costed 5 dollars. I guess inflation has gone up more than I thought it has since 1998. The farm comes with instructions and a bottle of blue food-pills for the ants. The instructions says to feed the ants one pill per day and nothing more, so Dave gives the ants one pill. Ben comes over, and he points out that the ants look hungry. The boys feed the hungry insects some hot dogs. Nathant's Famous, I presume. (I'm sorry.)
The next day, the ants are loose, and they've made their way into the kitchen. And Dave is... Happy about this? And he starts filming the ants. (If I accidentally let a hoard of ants into my house, I wouldn't be smiling.) Our protagonist goes outside, and notices that the hatch on the big terrarium broke. He closes it and puts a cinder-block over the lid to keep the remaining ants in.
At school, Dave gives a presentation, and he shows the video of the ants that he filmed earlier. Mr. Lantz, (for some reason) walks into the back of the classroom and gets to see the end of the presentation. I hate to break the flow of my review, but Lantz shouldn't have know about the presentation! Nobody invited him to watch. What's he doing wandering through a middle school???
Anyways, Mr. Lantz sees Dave's video, and he says that the ants look three inches long, which should be impossible. Lantz also hints that he believes that three-inch-ants would result in the destruction of mankind. Well, I sure am glad there are no bugs larger than 3 inches in the real world.
When Dave gets home, the terrarium's lid is open again, he closes it again, blah blah blah. His mom's making turkey for dinner. That night, he finds a dog-sized ant in his room, which he kills with a tennis racket. It appears that the ant came in through a hole in his wall. Much to his dismay, all of Dave's family members have seemingly gone missing, so Dave runs off in search of Mr. Lantz.
When Dave goes inside Mr. Lantz's business-headquarters, he finds a bunch of human-sized ants! I have to admit, the giant ants look much better than the swarms of ants at the beginning of the episode. A giant ant picks up Dave, and the scene actually looks okay. Right when things look hopeless for Dave, he wakes up. There's no hole in his wall and no terrarium outside; those were just elements of his dream. Dave goes downstairs, hungry for breakfast. He begins pouring some cereal into a bowl. But instead of Grape Nuts, Dave finds that his regular cereal has been replaced by blue pills! His sister gets mad at him for trying to increase his rations, which only confuses poor Dave. Dave quickly learns that all of the food in his house has seemingly been replaced blue pills. A loud beeping sound comes from outside of Dave's house, and Dave's family runs outside. Dave's mother tells him to grab a bucket.
Dave sees massive piles of blue pills piled in the street. Dave's neighbors are rushing to pick up these pills. The blue pills are food rations delivered by the giant ant overlords. Did I forget to mention that there were giant ant overlords and that Dave's entire neighborhood is in a terrarium? Woops. Dave is greated by Mr. Lantz, who isn't actually an exterminator at all. Dave tells Mr. Lantz that he dreamed ants were tiny. Mr. Lantz comforts Dave and tells him to grab some rations before they're gone.
The beginning to this episode was really goofy. Some of the editing, effects, and props seemed downright lazy.
The ending was pretty good, in my opinion. It was really bleak and depressing.
I think this episode was the Goosebumps show's rendition of an old-school monster movie. As an episode, "Awesome Ants" was far from perfect, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a little bit enjoyable.