Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, January 15, 2010

Animated Film Catch-Up: Bee Movie

For those just joining us, every couple of years I rent every animated movie that I missed in the theatre that I had a mild interest in seeing, and watch them all in an insane lost weekend. I call this my "Animated Film Catch-Up".

Alright, the first in this latest animated film catch-up....

Bee Movie

Animation Studio and Best Known Franchise: DreamWorks Animation, Shrek and Madagascar

Directed by Steve Hickner and Simon J. Smith

Starring the voices of Jerry Seinfeld, Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, and Ray Liotta

The Source of My Mild Interest: Bee Movie. An animated film written by, produced by, and starring Jerry Seinfeld. Having been a college kid in the 1990s who watched a lot of Seinfeld in the dorms, this just seemed like an interesting proposition. However, my interest was mild as it was another talking animal animated epic. Besides, insects trying to break out of the mold and be an individual? Didn't we see this in Antz and A Bug's Life? So let's see what we've got going on here.

Plot: Our hero is Barry B. Benson, a young honeybee just graduated from college and ready to take on the world. But, he seems somewhat wary of the bee philosophy of choosing one job and being stuck with it for the rest of your life. So, before he chooses his one job, he manages to go along on an expedition outside of the hive to gather nectar. While out there, he soon becomes enamored with Vanessa, a human, and a florist. But soon, Barry discovers that humans actually enslave bees and harvest the honey from them! Barry then decides to sue all of humanity so bees can regain their freedom and earn back all their hard-made honey! But the trial has some unexpected consequences....

What I Liked: There are some spectacular animated flying sequences as we watch the bees flying over New York city. There's a few clever gags going on, and it does get quite self-referential, such as Barry pointing out to Bee Larry King that the humans have a Larry King too.

What I Didn't Like: OK, you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel for pop culture references when you're cracking wise about Ray Liotta winning an Emmy for a guest shot on ER. And the whole "celebrities doing little more than playing themselves" thing that plagues a lot of animated films really goes overboard here.

Final Verdict: It's Jerry Seinfeld, doing one long bit about bees. Just a little too hip for the room.

2.5 Nibs

One down, four to go. Kung Fu Panda is getting tossed in next.

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