Bee Movie My Reviews 19 JAN 2008

Bee MovieHold on to your honey!

Barry B. Benson is a bee who just graduated from college and is somewhat disillusioned with the rather bland, job-for-life career choice in making honey that he has before him. However, a naughty trip outside the hive leads to a rather exciting meeting with the very human Vanessa, a florist in New York City. Slowly he gets to know her and just when everything appears peachy, Barry makes a horrid discovery: humans are actually stealing and eating the bees’ honey!

So just what is a wronged bee to do in modern day America? Sue us for all our honey!

Bee Movie (a play on the term B-Movie) is the first motion-picture script to be written by comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who co-wrote it with Spike Feresten, Barry Marder, and Andy Robin. The cast and crew for the movie include quite a few veterans of Seinfeld’s long-running sitcom Seinfeld, including writer/producers Feresten and Robin, and actors Michael Richards (Cosmo Kramer), Patrick Warburton (David Puddy), and Larry Miller.

The movie was is produced by DreamWorks Animation, fresh off their Shrek the Third outing, and is directed by Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner. And for an animated movie, you couldn’t ask for a more star studded voice cast, featuring amongst others: Jerry Seinfeld, Ren’e Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, Eddie Izzard, and Patrick Warburton.

The story of Bee Movie comes straight out of modern day American society: If you think you are being wronged, sue the pants off someone. However, try as they might, one can’t help but feel that it doesn’t really translate into much of a kiddy story, which is exactly one of the problems that I have with the movie. And viewed as adult entertainment, Bee Movie doesn’t have all that much to offer either unfortunately. There isn’t enough humour to make it perfect for adults to enjoy as was the case with the smash hit Shrek and Shrek 2, while the storyline and lack of cute character aren’t really enough to make it a smash hit with kids. Instead, Bee Movie kind of straddles the two demographics which is a huge problem for any movie that is trying to make a killing for itself.

The writing on Bee Movie is very Jerry Seinfeld style, from the puns to the general feel of the situations, and because Seinfeld himself voices the main character, you can’t help but sometimes feel that you are in fact watching an animated episode of Seinfeld (though maybe this isn’t such a bad thing for all those grieving Seinfeld fans out there). The pacing of the story is pretty quick and you almost feel rushed along as the movie hurtles from start to finish. Still, the situational comedy that you have come to expect from Mr Seinfeld is all there and you will be forced into a chuckle more than once. Of course, as with all movies aimed at kids, there is a message to be learned from this story, though I am not quite convinced that it is the most wonderful stories to be told. Telling someone to not do something for themselves and be an individual and rather fit in with the crowd and do things as they always have been done because that is how it is meant to be done is perhaps not the most motivational of messages out there. – :)

Still, although rushed, Bee story does tell a interesting story and manages to bring something new to the world of storytelling in animated movies, perhaps a lot like the atrociously bad Hoodwinked! did a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I really don’t see any kids falling in love with this one, young or old and I’m pretty sure that apart from Seinfeld diehards, there aren’t going to be too many adult fans either.

On the graphics side of things, Bee Movie certainly doesn’t disappoint. DreamWorks have done a good job in producing a fun, colourful and brightly lit world for the story to explore and in terms of the animation itself there certainly is nothing to complain about. The visuals lean towards a slightly cartoony look which fits the story and feel of the movie perfectly in my opinion. Of course, a person has to realise that these types of graphics are pretty much the norm nowadays with everyone doing it as well as the next guy, you can’t really base your film’s success on the graphics itself as earlier movies in the CGI genre have done.

In terms of voice acting talent though, Bee Movie can do no wrong. An absolutely stellar cast of stars lent their voices to this movie, and no one put a single foot wrong. Okay, you have to be a Seinfeld fan for his whiney voice not to get on your nerves, but apart from him everyone else was spectacular. Chris Rock and Eddie Izzard stuck out for me, but if there was one voice that stood out the most, it has to be good old Patrick Warburton, a man who has now become synonymous with all animated, loud-mouthed buffoons ever to grace out screens! Heck, if you want to talk celebrities, even Larry King played a caricature of himself in this movie!

The music for Bee Movie was composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams, this being his second animated movie composition, the first being his score for Over the Hedge. Nothing spectacular that blows your mind away, but it does the job and does it well. The soundtrack itself is also filled with a host of classics that will instantly put you in a good mood anyway.

All in all, Bee Movie isn’t a great movie or a movie that stands out of the crowd, but it certainly isn’t a bad movie and the fast pacing means that it holds your attention for its entire duration without ever feeling too long or boring. Cute, colourful graphics and two levels of humour means that both you and your kids can safely sit down and enjoy it, so in that respect it achieved exactly what is set out to do’ entertain you (and steal you hard earned bucks).

If you are looking for wholesome family fun, Bee Movie won’t lead you astray, but in my opinion this might be one better left to DVD rental night.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.