Friday, November 2, 2007

Bee Movie

A courtroom drama may sound weird for an animated film. Sorry, but it is weird for an animated film! Although cute, and with a few moments of wit, there isn’t much memorable about this film about bees which doesn’t quite measure up to recent bug-themed filcks like Antz and A Bug’s Life.

After graduating college a disillusioned Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) leaves the hive and travels into the outside world. Barry isn’t ready to buckle down to one job for the rest of his life. His adventure goes awry, as these things do in movies like this, and Barry finds himself staying with a florist named Vanessa Bloom (Renee Zellweger). Barry falls hard for the beautiful human and breaks the bee’s taboo never to talk to people.

His friendship with Vanessa leads him to learn of humans consumption of honey, which in turn leads Barry, with the help of his pal Adam (Matthew Broderick) to sue all of humanity for stealing honey.

The film includes many colorful characters Barry meets on his journey, all voiced by well-known actors including Vanessa’s jealous boyfriend (Patrick Warburton), a mosquito named Mooseblood (Chris Rock), the famous Bee Larry King (Larry King), a sneaky Southern attorney (John Goodman), and Ray Liota (playing himself as the owner of a huge honey business).

Although there are a few moments that may make you smile and the film has an important message about the environment and how all living things are tied together, it is also lacking in many areas. First there are some puzzlers, like why are there so many female bees in the hive? The Queen Bee is elected? Why is she called a queen? I could go on and on about little nagging problems like this but there are bigger fish to fry. There are no memorable jokes or big laughs, nor does the story ever elevate itself to the level of a feature film. Instead what we get, though well done, feels like a straight-to-DVD release or something you’d see on Nickelodeon. While many might enjoy this, mostly young kids, I don’t know how happy parents will be paying $10 a pop for it.

Bee Movie will keep your interest, make you smile now and then, and when it’s over you will completely forget it. Is it better than whatever is showing on Nickelodeon? Probably not. Kids should have a fun time, though young ones might not understand the legal process any better than these writers do. The question is, is it worth you time? Maybe, if you’ve got time to kill, but I’d suggest waiting until you can see it on cable (where it really belongs).

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