With so many superhero movies running rampant the bar has now been set pretty high in terms of level of quality.  Thus smaller films with a slight hero slant find themselves taking a backseat at times to the bigger budget films that dominate the cinema.  But that’s why the new kid-friendly caped flick "Antboy" is such a rare surprising treat – it’s a film with a ton of heart, style and substance that proves that masked good guys and their movies can both still come in small packages.

Twelve-year-old Pelle Nohrmann is quiet and ordinary kid who has familiar dreams of beating bad guys and getting the girl.  But one day when the youngster gets bitten by a special ant he finds himself developing super powers.  At first his antics only catch the attention of observant fellow student Wilhem, but soon Ant Boy gets recognized by fans and a dangerous new villain known as The Flea.

What’s funny about this very simple story adaptation from a famed Danish comic series is how beautifully un-simple it is.  Told with a rich and layered skill reserved for someone like Christopher Nolan, Antboy director Ask Hasselbalch elvates this material way beyond standard kiddy fare.  (Zach Snider nothing - let Ask direct more Superman sequels!)  Mixing light comedy, deep dramatic tones, and even reflective moments (but all from a kiddie perspective!), his Antboy is a flick that defies the child-friendly genre and creates a real superhero flick pint size.  Of course it also helps that his "Antboy" of choice is the very cute yet very believable Oscar Dietz mixed with a perfectly stuffy sidekick via Samuel Ting Graf and topped off with the unconventional baddie Nicolas Bro.  (His kidnapping The Flea pushes a bad guy as far as he can go in this tot-ridden genre!) 

But in the end it’s the skilled handling of the material that burns brightest here and as a result Ask Hasselbalch is certainly going to be a filmmaker to watch.  Look, anyone can make a caped crusader flick – but making one that conveys the complexity of adult themes while still staying true to the tots is the work of someone that shouldn’t be ignored.   







   Title: "Antboy"

   Stars: 4

   Genre: Action/Adventure

   Cast: Oscar Dietz, Nicolas Bro, Samuel Ting Graf

   Director: Ask Hasselbalch

   Rating: PG

   Running Time: 77 Minutes

   Release Company: Cinedigm

   Website: http://www.cinedigm.com