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Sacrifice. To some, it is just a word. To others, it is a code. A soldier knows that the life of an individual ant doesn't matter. What matters is the Colony. He's willing to live for the Colony. To fight for the Colony. To die for the Colony. At 0800 hours, we received word that the Termite enemy has mobilized. We have no choice but to launch a preemptive strike. You are the Queen's finest. I know you will all do your duty. I am proud to send you into battle. Dismissed.
~ General Mandible intentionally sending the Queen's troops on a suicide mission to attack the termites.
You useless, ungrateful maggot! I AM THE COLONY!
~ General Mandible's last and most famous quote.
General Mandible (simply known as Mandible) is the main antagonist of DreamWorks' 1st full-length animated feature film Antz. He is the former leader of the Queen's army, the former boss of Colonel Cutter, and the former fiancé of Princess Bala.
General Mandible is an ant who serves as the leader of the Queen's army alongside with his accomplice, Colonel Cutter. He is a war-hungry insect with little regard for the colony as a whole (especially the army's battle against the Termites), which becomes evident when he ultimately betrays every ant, including the Queen but excluding his own army, by flooding the anthill in an attempt to "wash away the past".
In his first action, he sends the soldier ants most loyal to the Queen to fight a termite colony, knowing fully well that they wouldn't survive.
He intends to marry Princess Bala, making her his queen and the mother of thousands of larval children and make a strong colony with workers. After Bala is "kidnapped" by a worker ant named Z (who was the sole survivor of the termite battle), Mandible attempts to find their whereabouts. He has some of his soldiers beat up Z's soldier friend Weaver to get information out of him, but he refuses to talk. However when Mandible has Z's other friend Azteca (whom Weaver has feelings for) tortured, Weaver says that Z went to Insectopia. Mandible sends Cutter to retrieve Bala and kill Z.
After Bala is brought back to the colony, she demands that Mandible tells her what is going on, to which Mandible replies that he will explain afterwards. Outraged, Bala calls off the wedding and rejects Mandible after she learns of his plans. Mandible nonetheless reveals to Bala his evil scheme to drown all the workers during the MegaTunnel ceremony along with her mother, while sparing the princess herself to make her his queen of his colony of soldiers. He then locks Bala in his office to stop her from interfering in his plan.
After successfully flooding the anthill, the would-be-dictator's scheme is foiled when Z, Bala and the other ants form a ladder with their own bodies to escape from the rising waters. Mandible grabs a spear to kill Z, but Cutter, fed up with Mandible's evil ways, turns against him, and instead tries to help Z, stating that is what's truly "for the good of the colony". Enraged, Mandible snaps and screams, "I AM THE COLONY!" Mandible charges at Cutter, but Z pushes Cutter out of the way, and he and Mandible fall into the flooded anthill. While Z lands in the water (where he is saved by Cutter), Mandible ends up smashing against an upturned root, killing him on impact.
Mandible is an overconfident and proud ant general who is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish his goals including sending hundreds of solder ants to their deaths to root out those loyal to the queen. He also holds a strong belief that the strong should survive and the weak element should be washed away, meaning killed. And what Mandible means by the weak are all the worker ants and even the royalty. Mandible is aggressive, ruthless, cruel, and overall insane in nature.
Despite this, he is still a charismatic and persuasive leader, able to convince the rest of the colony that Z was an enemy. Mandible appears a definite physical match, but he prefers to manipulate a situation to his advantage and tricked the most loyal soldiers into attacking a termite colony which was a definite suicide mission.
Mandible is definitely xenophobic, egotistical, and manipulative, so he possesses an impossible, nonsensical, extemporaneous, and indescribable hatred of the worker class of the ants; he even believes that their deaths would benefit the colony. Mandible knows that the life of an individual ant didn't matter, just an insignificant sacrifice. He also has an extremely high self-importance, describing himself as the colony before attacking his former second-in-command, Cutter. Mandible is also shown to be very chauvinistic and contemptuous towards the termites.
Workers. They are weak. They lack discipline. They lack commitment.
~ General Mandible, speaking about the worker ants.
It's in your nature. But in spite of your limitations, you are going to finish this tunnel on schedule. Come hell or high water.
~ General Mandible.
DAMN!! Good. Damn good. I'll handle this.
~ General Mandible about to take action himself.
I mean if this Z is so important, the why isn't he here? I'l tell you why: because Z doesn't give a DAMN about us!
~ General Mandible about Z.
(General Mandible's guards bring Princess Bala into his office) Ah, Princess, you're just in time. (Princess Bala: Take your hands off me! General, what exactly is going on here? I demand an explanation.) I'll explain everything afterwards. Is the Southeast entrance secure? (Soldier: Yes, sir!) (Bala slams her fist on the table.) (Princess Bala: Not afterwards… NOW. [she glares at Mandible] I don't like the way you think. And I don't like the way you run this colony. And I don't like YOU. The wedding is off. Things are gonna change around here.) You're right, Princess. Things ARE gonna change. Why don't we make her more comfortable? (They force Bala into a chair.) She'll be here for a while. (Princess Bala: What do you think you're doing?! My mother will have your head!) I doubt that. (chuckles) Ah, you've got a fighter spirit, Bala. And that's just what we need to start our new colony. We'll rinse away all the filth from our gutters, and start anew… with you by my side as my queen. (Princess Bala: You're crazy!) (Mandible smirks) I believe history will see things differently. Alright, gentlemen, time to take your positions. Someday… someday you'll thank me. (Leaves his office and locks the door behind him.)
~ General Mandible explaining to Bala his evil plan to drown all the ants before locking her in his office.
General Mandible is the second main antagonist of a computer-animated film after Sid Phillips from the Disney/Pixar film Toy Story, which was the first computer-animated film ever.
He is also the first main antagonist of a computer-animated film who is not a grey zone and the first main antagonist of a computer-animated film to die at the end.
Mandible is the only DreamWorks villain to use profanity.
General Mandible symbolizes Adolf Hitler due to a desire to commit genocide in the name of a "perfect" society run by a superior kind of individual (for Hitler the Ubermensch, for Mandible the Soldier Ant).
Due to his voice mannerisms and jingoistic personality, Mandible has some similarities to George C. Scott's portrayal of American general George S. Patton.
In the early drafts of Antz, an ant named Formica served as General and Bala's fiancé, whilst Mandible served as a major and the one who brought Bala back to the colony. Unlike Mandible in the final film, who locks Bala in his office to prevent her from being drowned, Formica would have left Bala to die along with the Queen and the workers, claiming that there are more princesses were she came from. Also, unlike Mandible in the final film, who died after landing hard on a root, Formica (whilst trying to attack Z) would have fallen into water and nearly drowned, but was saved by Z and the others and would have been made a honeydew keg whilst Weaver would have replaced him as General.