LIFF27 - Antboy - Cinema Review

'As comic book heroes move increasingly towards the dark side, it's worth remembering that a core target audience of the source material is potentially being left behind. Antboy is the film which makes an effort to note that down'

The first thing to note about Antboy is that it is not too far removed from being Spider-Man.

A boy in a school longs of being noticed and is subsequently bitten by an insect which transfers appropriate super-powers to him. Finding himself in a position he craves, he struggles with great power and responsibility whilst, in the background, the head of a mega-conglomeration struggles with some problems.

The differences between Peter Parker and Pelle Nøhrmann's stories though are key. For a start, despite the use of the phrase 'pissant' a couple of times, and a villain (Nicolas Bro) who needs to feed on blood to function, I'd wager that most parents would be comfortable showing this to the, say, 7-10 age group, where perhaps a 12A rated film might not prove suitable. As comic book heroes move increasingly towards the dark side, it's worth remembering that a core target audience of the source material is potentially being left behind. Antboy is the film which makes an effort to note that down and then do something about it.

With that in mind, it's easy to forgive director Ask Hasselbalch's film some of its failings, though if you're feeling harshly minded, they are noticeable. This has got every superhero cliché in the book going for it; from running out of power at the most inappropriate moment to remembering just in time that it's wrong to sacrifice one's friend. Perhaps even worse; Antboy sees the return of the 'costume montage', as Pelle (Oscar Dietz) and Wilhelm (Samuel Ting Graf) engage in some distinctly unbelievable sewing, before coming to their senses, realising they're young male children and ordering an outfit off the internet.

This and many other of the film's problems though are the type of things that youngsters just won't care about. Dietz is fantastic in the lead; equal parts wide-eyed wonder at and dedication to his powers. He's easy to sympathise and identify with, ditto Graf, who does though have the look a nerd designed by committee. Amalie Kruse Jensen may have typically little to do as the female lead - a comic book problem even Antboy can't solve - but she does well with what she gets, making the young cast a good enough reason to see this if you aren't quite of the age to be wowed by the premise.




Antboy screens again at LIFF27 on Sunday 17th November at 11.30am.

The 27th Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) takes place from the 6th-21st November at cinemas around the city, including Hyde Park Picture House and Leeds Town Hall. Tickets and more information are available via the official LIFF website.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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