Saturday, January 19, 2008
Bee Movie; CGI animated fantasy comedy, USA, 2007; D: Steve Hickner, Simon J. Smith, S: Jerry Seinfeld, Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, Larry King, Ray Liotta, Sting, Oprah Winfrey, Megan Mullally
Barry is an average bee living in a bee hive. After 3 days of elementary school, high school and college, he and his friend Adam are asked to decide which job they will do for the rest of their lives. But Barry decides to explore the world and meets Vanessa Bloom, who saves him from getting squashed in her apartment in New York, and he falls in love with her. He talks to her and finds out people have been taking honey from bees for centuries without paying any compensation. So he and Vanessa start and win a court battle, but since the bees now have too much honey, the stop pollinating flowers which could cause mass extinction. So Barry decides to reverse his decision and return everything back to normal.
Even though it was received lukewarm by many, "Bee Movie" is a surprisingly good, fresh, sweet and charming little CGI film that at first starts off as a typical "individual questioning his perfect society" concept seen already in "Antz", but already some 20 minutes into the film it takes a completely different turn and becomes something rather original. Even though the decision that the main protagonist, bee Barry, starts talking with the human Vanessa seems like an odd step at first, it actually works and proves as a polygon for a whole bunch of gags - even though many are childish, they ares still great - many of which are surprisingly subversive: from Barry getting stuck on a tennis ball during a match, through his trial against people for "stealing bee's honey", his questioning of the witness Ray Liotta and congratulating him for winning an Emmy two years ago up to the fact that there was even a "bee Jesus", the whole film is filled with satisfying satirical jabs that are at the same time interesting for the adults and gentle enough to entertain kids, and of course, Jerry Seinfeld's charismatic voice is great and suits the mischievous hero, who hereby returned to the screens after a long pause. There are some exaggerations and cliches seen already in other CGI films, and some have criticized the surprising 'totalitarian turn' on the (overstretched) ending, yet all in all this is definitely not a B-film, but an A-film.