Review: Ant-Man (Disney Movies Anywhere Digital HD)

This review covers the digital copy of the film available through Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA).

THE SET-UP
A cat burglar (Paul Rudd) is given a super suit that allows him to shrink and control ants, in order to pull off a heist of an evil scientist (Corey Stoll). Also stars Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Pena.
Directed by Peyton Reed.

THE DELIVERY
Ant-Man may be one of Marvel’s better films, because it doesn’t feel like a superhero film. The similarities among the Avengers and Iron Man films have been nicely countered by the Captain America movies and Guardians of the Galaxy. Ant-Man is a heist film in a sci-fi wrapper with a superhero garnish. Such an obscure Marvel character with such a silly premise has no business being a major motion picture, but a strong script and Reed’s deft direction highlights the film’s strengths: a tongue-in-cheek tone and Paul Rudd’s engaging leading man.

Even director Reed mentions in one of the special features that the film has a bit of an Ocean’s Eleven vibe, and in that vein, Ant-Man keeps a lighter, fun tone, as opposed to the apocalyptic (no pun intended) tone of other Marvel films. It worked for Guardians of the Galaxy last year, and hopefully Marvel will continue to take chances with its future films.

The cast is excellent, led by Paul Rudd’s surprisingly entertaining turn as Scott Lang/Ant-Man. Rudd has always been good in his past films, but this role required much more, and he delivered an everyman who drifts naturally into the hero role. He meshes well with both Michael Douglas and Michael Pena, and their chemistry is a big part of why Ant-Man works.

If the film had to rely solely on the plot or the scientific logic, it would struggle. The whole idea of stealing the “Yellowjacket” technology doesn’t make a lot of sense: one would think Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym or Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne would have plenty of opportunities to undermine Darren Cross’ (Corey Stoll) plans from the inside. We don’t really get a reasonable explanation of how and why Ant-Man can control ants. And don’t even get me started on the physics of the “tiny tank.” Thankfully, this isn’t PBS’ Nova, it’s just a highly entertaining comic book movie, so focusing on the science of Ant-Man misses the point entirely.

Combining Rudd’s likeability, Douglas’ gravitas, and Pena’s scene-stealing ability makes Ant-Man a heck of a lot of fun, and like Guardians of the Galaxy, elevates an obscure niche of the Marvel universe to blockbuster status. Marvel Studios is turning out the kind of original films that defined 80s cinema. Some people may not think much of that statement, but to many of us, it is high praise. Ant-Man is unmitigated fun and highly rewatchable, with a goofy sense of humor and an action-packed pace.

DIGITAL COPY BREAKDOWN
Although I’m still a bit partial to Blu-ray discs, I’ve become a big fan of building my digital copy library. I have found it incredibly handy, and being able to watch anything wherever I’m at is a great convenience.

There are several major digital providers, including Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA), which I have found to be one of the more user-friendly digital content providers on the market. Besides being accessible through your web browser, DMA apps are available for most major portable devices and smartphones. The DMA app on my Amazon Fire tablet is especially handy, and the interface makes it easy to access the film and the special features.

While it is easy to pick through and watch the special features on DMA, the extras were not available on other digital providers that you can share your Disney library to, including VUDU and Amazon Prime. While your video and audio quality may be affected by your internet connection, at optimal speed, the presentation looks great. The video sports bold colors and excellent detail and the audio mix, a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 soundtrack, is active throughout the channels and offers nice bass.

SPECIAL FEATURES
A nice selection of extras is included. Among the special features are:

“Making of an Ant-Sized Heist: A How-to Guide” featurette. This behind-the-scenes featurette explores the Ant-Man character and how the actors brought the comic to life. The shooting of the film’s many stunts, including the climax, are also covered. Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and others are interviewed. Running time: 14:33.

“Let’s Go To The Macroverse” featurette. Director Peyton Reed and Paul Reed discuss the special effects process used to create the “shrinking” effects. A focus on the film’s macrophotography, which used very tiny cameras to capture the smallest details during Ant-Man’s shrinking scenes. Running time: 8:05.

Gag Reel. It’s gags. It’s bloopers. It’s improvisation by the actors during filming. It’s delightful. Running time: 3:24

“WHIH News Front” News Clips. Four fictional “news clips” provide a bit more backstory to the film. The “VistaCorp Heist” clip shows the break-in that sent Scott Lang to prison, and the “Darren Cross Interview” features Cross (Corey Stoll) being interviewed by a Wired reporter. The “Scott Lang Live” clip features a prison interview with Lang (Paul Rudd) as he discusses his upcoming release, which is shown in the film’s opening minutes. A “WHIH News Promo” clip makes several Avengers references, as well as sets up the Scott Lang interview. Total running time: 9.13

Deleted Scenes. Eight deleted scenes are included. They are: “Fixing the Cable,” “The Future of Pym Particles,” “Hank Vaults the Suit,” “Paxton and Gale,” Qubit Defense Matrix,” “The History of Ant-Man,” “Scott and Cassie,” and “Wish Fulfillment.” Each scene can be viewed with commentary by director Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd.  

DIGITAL COPY SPECS
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Rating: PG-13
Running time: 117 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English
Special Features: “Making of an Ant-Sized Heist” featurette, “Let’s Go to the Macroverse” featurette, Gag Reel, Four “News” Clips, Eight deleted scenes.



Victor Medina is a freelance writer based in Dallas. He is the editor of several websites, and his writing credits include The Dallas Morning News, Yahoo News, Cinelinx.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at vic@victormedina.com.

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