Written by Jerry Seinfeld and Spike Feresten
& Barry Marder & Andy Robin
Directed by Steve Hickner, Simon J. Smith
Running Time: 1:30
for mild suggestive humor,
and a brief depiction of smoking.
Bee Movie was a lot of fun, filled with fantastic animation and Seinfeldian humor.
Barry B. Benson doesn't want to be another bee in the hive, spending his entire life doing one job. He wants to explore the world, so the first chance he gets after graduation, he flies out of the hive and into Central Park. Unfortunately (or fortunately), he gets caught in a rain shower and lands inside a house of humans where he meets the lovely Vanessa and Barry is immediately smitten. As Barry and Vanessa spend more time together, they learn about each other's worlds and one day Barry makes the discovery that humans are stealing honey from the bees! He files a lawsuit against the honey industry to get back all the honey they've taken. But what seems to be a great day for bees everywhere, turns out to be something bad for the world.
From the opening frame, I thought Bee Movie had some pretty spectacular animation. Everything was extremely sharp and clean and flowed from one shot to the next. The sequences weren't as perfect as Ratatouille, but they were pretty amazing. But as always, once the amazement over the animation fades away, you need something else to hang you hat on, and Bee Movie had all the necessary hooks.
The story was reasonable for this kind of film. If you're willing to accept that bees drive around in cars and talk to humans, then whatever story they throw at you is going to be worthwhile. Having a bee sue humans for stealing honey is kind of a funny notion, especially when you think about the slippery slope effect this would have on other creatures (which they do explore briefly towards the end.) Barry's main problem - not wanting to spend his entire life doing one thing - is something a lot of people can relate to. That need to escape, if only for a while, and see the world before settling down. And finding love across species. And before I get letters, I am only kidding. Yes, things get a little absurd, but come on! It's a kids movie. And all the kids in the audience when I saw it were completely enthralled. I can't remember the last time I went to one of these kinds of films and there weren't a dozen kids bored out of their minds, talking the entire time. I heard maybe one child near the end of the film start to talk. Otherwise, their eyes were on the screen soaking it all in.
The biggest question for us adults though has to be, is this movie funny? And in my humble opinion, it was. I imagine it'll help if you enjoy Seinfeld and his brand of humor, but there were times during the movie where I would be laughing for a good 10 seconds after the joke hit. Chris Rock has a hilarious turn as a mosquito that is guaranteed to make even the stuffiest of you laugh out loud. There were some expected (and unexpected) cameos that led to some of the funniest scenes in the film. And there was one joke that came from out of nowhere and took almost the entire audience a second to understand before we burst out laughing. This was one of those films where I don't think people were expecting much and were pleasantly surprised by what they got. I was certainly one of those people. After being inundated with commercials for the last couple of months, I didn't think Bee Movie could live up to the hype, but in my mind, it certainly did.
The 2-Disc Special Edition comes with a ton of extras. Disc one focuses more on Jerry Seinfeld. It has all those TV Junior spots he did in promotion of the film (which I found hilarious) along with all the live-action promos he did. There's some extra scenes and a behind-the-scenes doc on the voice cast. The second disc is more about Barry B. Benson and includes a music video, a video game and a bunch of other stuff. What amazes me is how much effort Seinfeld personally put into this film and that it didn't make as much money as I thought it would. As spectacular as it looked on the big screen, it looks just as tremendous on the small screen. If you haven't seen the movie, I highly suggest picking it up because I think it was very underrated when it was in theaters. It really is a lot of fun.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I really enjoyed Bee Movie. There are one or two slightly off-color jokes, but otherwise it is definitely a film the entire family can enjoy.
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