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A Bug's Life (1998)
When a lowly ant Flik mucks up his colony's food supply, a menacing grasshopper threatens to destroy the community of ants. Flik goes on an adventure to recruit stronger insects to defend his creepy crawly colony.
(Also: An objective truth in this world is that Bug's Life is not as good as Antz. Bug's LIfe might have the color and jokes of a feel-good family movie, but Antz was gritty and nuanced.)
George of the Jungle (1997)
"George George George of the jungle, strong as he can be / George George George of the jungle, watch out for that tree!"
Forget Tarzan. The undisputed king of the jungle is hapless George of the jungle, who battles to save his ape friends from bozo poachers. In the spirit of get you a man who can do both, George can swing through the jungle on hanging vines and also rock a black turtleneck.
Mighty Joe Young (2000)
Pre-Harambe and post-Kong, there was the 15-foot tall Joe Young.
Jill Young (Charlize Theron) and Joe Young (the genetically modified ape) are a pair of orphans who have sworn to protect each other. Jill's mom rescued Joe from poachers just before her death. As a result, the pair share a close bond. Now that Jill is an adult, the poachers have returned, and she's looking for a new place to house her friend.
Monsters Inc. (2001)
Take a tour of corporate scare-merica. (A corny joke, but come on.) Sulley and Mike are the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen of making children scream at Monsters, Inc., a scare factory in Monstropolis. When a little girl named Boo accidentally follows them through the closet portal and into the world of monsters, the duo make a mad dash to return her home.
Boy meets girl. Boy is neurotic ant voiced by Woody Allen; girl is princess ant voiced by Sharon Stone. In retrospect, everything about this animated flick is a little random (Anne Bancroft in a movie with Jennifer Lopez? Danny Glover in a movie with Woody Allen?), but it's a sweet, underdog story about overcoming a stiflingly classist, homogenous city of ants.