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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Animated Movie Characters Spotlight: FernGully's Batty Koda & The Ant Bully's Hova

In this post, I take a look at 2 animated characters from 2 notable box- office animated bombs in 1992's FernGully: The Last Rainforest & 2006's The Ant Bully.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest's Batty Koda is voiced by Robin Williams and later by Matt Miller in the direct-to-DVD sequel, whereas Julia Roberts lends her vocals to Hova from The Ant Bully

Batty Koda                                    Hova                                   

(Koda and Hova... they rhyme you know)

Batty Koda is the deuteragonist of the duology and acts as the comic relief of Ferngully. He is a fruit bat, who was used as part of a scientific experiment and according to him, he was abused & subjected to a series of painful and horrible acts, which is most likely to be the cause of his insanity. He also seems to be a bit unhinged. He has an electrode in his head and possible wires in his head and possible wires under his skin also and in possessing a set of wings, his main skill is flight. When he hallucinates, he picks up TV or radio signals, and in doing so, Batty quotes from various TV shows and movies, much like a TV antenna. He is caring towards his animal friends and the inhabitants of FernGully. When Batty Koda crash landed in FernGully, he quickly develops a friendship with Crysta - yet he is extremely distrusting towards humans, due to his abuse & mistreatment by them. However, once they gain his trust, he cares about them too. Zak is one of the few humans that Batty befriends and trusts. He can also be very sarcastic at times.

The film marked Robin Williams's first major animation-based role, and the third after Mork in The Mork & Mindy animated series spin-off in 1982 and A Wish For Wings That Work, but Batty Koda is credited as Williams's first animated movie character before he struck gold with Genie in Disney's Aladdin. Batty was created specifically for him. He provided 14 hours of improvised lines for what was supposed to be an 8- minute role. But director Bill Kroyer was so impressed with Robin's efforts, he extended it and thus, Batty ended up being one of the major characters in the movie. Robin accepted the role in FernGully because he agreed with the film's message.

Hova is a nurse ant, who is also the girlfriend of Zoc, an eccentric wizard. Based on what I have seen of this film, she seems sweet, kind-hearted and her heart is always in the right place. Not to mention, witty. Unlike Ferngully's Batty Koda, Hova is extremely trusting of humans, and thus she instantly takes a liking to Lucas. She is very accepting and forgiving and protective of the ones she loves and cares for and she can be a very influential figure. Her boyfriend, Zoc is a jerk, however, especially towards humans, yet she manages to keep him in check. Whilst with Batty, he can be brave in the face of adversity, Hova is a strong ally and she builds a strong rapport with characters in Lucas in The Ant Bully, of whom she sees the good in them. In the film, her goal is to stick up for and support the likes of and communicate with Lucas and learn to get along with him. I can picture Hova complimenting Batty Koda each other, & in some ways, they are very similar in their traits: caring, sensitive, good-hearted & being witty & playful.

Hova was the first/second animated voice-over stint for Julia Roberts, with the other being Charlotte the spider in the live-action Charlotte's Web film of the same year in 2006. 


Similarities that both movies share:

Film-wise, The Ant Bully borrows/references the plot line from FernGully: The Last Rainforest of the lead character being a would-be aggressor, who learns to walk a mile in the victim's shoes by being shrunk down to their size. In FernGully, it was Zak & Batty and in The Ant Bully, it's Lucas & Hova and with each film, they interact with the smaller creatures & inhabitants. Both films are also set in the great outdoors with FernGully in an Australian rainforest and The Ant Bully on an innocent ant hill.

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