Film review: Bee Movie (2007), directed by Steve Hickner and Simon J Smith
In the busy world of a beehive, there’s very little else in life than being involved in making honey. As soon as you graduate, you choose a job, and that will be your career for the rest of your life. For Barry B Benson (Jerry Seinfeld), things aren’t all that easy. Choosing a job for life sounds too final, and while his friend Adam (Matthew Broderick) is fine with playing his part in the great circle of life, Barry wants more.
After a dare with the “pollen jocks” (the beefy pollen collectors), Barry gets to come along on one of their missions outside of the hive. There’s a whole new world waiting for him! Due to some rain he gets separated from the other bees, and ends up in Vanessa Bloome’s (Renée Zellweger) apartment, where he’s nearly killed by Vanessa’s bee-hating boyfriend. Vanessa saves Barry, and when everyone has left, he decides to break rule number one of bees: never talk to humans.
Bees can talk and as unlikely as it seems, Barry and Vanessa strikes up a great friendship. On a trip to a supermarket Barry discovers an ugly truth: humans are bottling up honey and selling it. This has got to stop – after all, the bees work so hard to make their honey and then the humans just come along and steal it! Together, the two friends put together a court case – bees versus humans.
Bee Movie also features the voice talents of John Goodman (as a sleazy lawyer), Chris Rock as a mosquito, Kathy Bates as Barry’s mother, Oprah Winfrey as a judge and Sting as himself.
It’s a funny animated film. It’s lighthearted yet deals with a serious subject – humankind’s exploitation of other species. The let-down of the film is that it stretches credibility just a little too thin toward the end, but maybe I’m just beeing [sic] too “boring adult” about it. I can take the whole “bees can talk” thing and then “bees can sue people” as well, but trees and flowers won’t magically perish overnight from not being pollinated for a day, nor will they magically spring back into full blossom in an instant just because they get pollen strewn on them again. And it’s also flawed from the point of the court case being in the US, so everywhere else it’s business as usual and the flower show can’t be the only place left in the entire world that still has flowers.
However, without that contrived conflict, the heavy-handed message of “work pays off and if everyone’s a lazy bum the world will stop working” wouldn’t work. But it’s for the kids, man, chill, stop being such a wet blanket, it’s supposed to be a comedy, you know, for kids. Sure, fine, whatever. I appreciate the message about humans taking advantage over nature too much, but can’t there be other ways of showing kids how to co-operate instead of just making shit up? And I haven’t even mentioned the whole “if the underside of a plane is covered in bees, the bees can land the plane if both the pilots fall unconscious” yet.
Well, at least it was amusing, and very nicely colourful too. Wonderful animation from the Dreamworks folks.
3 beehives out of 5.