In a secluded valley in the French Alps, war has broken out. On the side of good, a nest of friendly black ants and one slightly confused ladybird. On the side of evil, a vicious tribe of fire ants bent on domination. Their shared objective? A tin box full of sugar cubes, abandoned by careless picnickers.
The outline of this clever cartoon, expanded from a popular TV series shown on CBeebies, is pretty basic – and at 90 minutes, it’s definitely overstretched. But the sheer craft and precision on display are extraordinary. This immersive and beautiful world is created by moving photographic images overlaid with digitally animated characters. Imagine an Attenborough documentary graffitied by Pixar.
The replacement of dialogue with buzzing, beeping and farting noises can leave the character motivations a little obscure, but the action scenes are terrific and it all moves at a pleasingly swift pace. Take the toddlers. But don’t be surprised if they get a bit restless.