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Laramie Movie Scope:
Bee Movie

Curiously flat animated comedy

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 12, 2008 -- This curiously flat animated comedy simply doesn't have the sparkle one expects from a Jerry Seinfeld project. Sure, there are some funny gags in it, but not as many as you would expect from a script co-written by Seinfeld (who also provides the voice for the film's main character), one of America's most beloved comedians. Seinfeld was the star of his own self-named TV comedy series that was one of the most popular in the history of television.

The “Bee Movie” story concerns a bee, Barry B. Benson, who doesn't want to be stuck with one job in the hive for the rest of his life. The jobs are rather dull, like cleaning the impurities from honey. Most of these jobs are done inside the hive. The bees which collect the pollen get to see the outside world. Even though Barry isn't the right body type (big and beefy bees are born to the task), he decides to go on a flight with the pollen collectors just to see the outside world. He has to sign a legal waiver of liability to be allowed to fly with the elite squad of pollen collectors.

On this excursion outside the hive, he meets a pretty human woman and learns that humans have been stealing honey from bees. According to the movie, all Bees can talk, but have a rule against talking to humans. He breaks the rule. He organizes a lawsuit to get the honey back, with unexpected ecological results. The courtroom scenes go on for quite a while. Benson argues that the honey belongs to the bees and that the labor the bees provide is being exploited by the humans. He argues the Bees are working like slaves. He demands that all honey on all the human store shelves be returned to the bees. The judge's ruling and its unexpected worldwide implications are interesting, but not really very funny.

The characters in the film are not memorable and the jokes are weak. If the comedy had been more character-based, rather than simply based on bee jokes, jokes about human society and hip cultural references, it might have been more effective. With the amount of comedic and artistic talent that went into this film is is surprising it wasn't better. It is a major disappointment in a year which saw few good animated films. There really was no competition this year. “Ratatouille” was head and shoulders above everything else. Other animated films of note were “The Simpson's Movie” and “Beowulf.” I've heard that “Persepolis” is pretty good, but I haven't seen it yet. Then again, it may be overrated because it is more of a serious film. Meanwhile, “Bee Movie” makes "Antz" look awfully good by comparison. This film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2008 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)