Movie Review: The Bee Movie

Bee Movie

Image by Daniel Semper via Flickr

Absolutely ridiculous. The only words that actually apply to The Bee Movie. Jerry Seinfeld is funny, as usual, but it’s hard to get around all the inaccuracies of his movie, especially when they are in complete violation of not only common sense (naturally suspended for an animated movie about talking bees) but also basic science (something that, oddly enough, I expect to be respected even in an animated movie about talking bees).

Let’s start with the characters. Or rather, their gender. All the main bee characters are male. Okay, yeah, Jerry Seinfeld is a guy, and it is his movie, but it seems a little odd, particularly given the fact that all the workers, and all the bees that gather pollen, in the usual bee hive, in fact in all bee hives, are female. The movie makes a real point of how manly the pollen-gathering bees are, and I just couldn’t get over their sudden sex change, especially when the female bees go all fluttery over them. Yeah, right.

The mark of a good movie is to allow us to suspend disbelief long enough to believe the improbable events of the movie, but not be so unbelievable that we snap out of the story. Take Rio, which I just saw this past weekend (gasp, yes, I actually went out and saw a new movie). Blu, the main parrot character, can brush his beak with a toothbrush, log onto a computer and do whole hosts of other improbable things. But you know what, he never stops acting like a parrot. Even when he is flying above the streets of Rio de Janeiro on a piece of tin roofing, fleeing the evil cockatoo, he never stops acting like a parrot.

Jerry Seinfeld’s Barry, on the other hand, doesn’t act like a bee. He acts like Jerry Seinfeld. And the other bees and insects don’t act like bees and insects. They act like human sidekicks and/or enemies of Jerry Seinfeld. If you go into The Bee Movie to see a Jerry Seinfeld movie, you won’t be disappointed. But if you go in to see a funny movie about bees, you are in for a shock.

Back to the gender of the characters. Not only are all the female bees these ridiculous fluttery characters, unable to make a serious decision if their life depended on it, and Barry ends up with a human, but we never see the queen, the lifeblood of a real hive. Honey production is controlled by male bees, in a very factory-like setting.

In a real hive, the queen is in charge of everything, and honey is bee vomit, made by the bees eating the pollen and then vomiting it back up. Just what you always wanted to know about your favorite sweetener, right? :)

Frankly, I think Jerry Seinfeld has a problem with strong females, since he removed them from this movie that is, essentially, all about him.

And finally, we are treated to an interspecies romance between a human woman and a male bee, Barry. The owner of a flower shop, Vanessa, has a jerk of a boyfriend whom she soon sends packing after meeting Barry. Nothing wrong with a sweet romance between two mismatched people, but I don’t really get the feeling here that’s what’s going on. I think it’s more Jerry Seinfeld’s way of saying, “Hey, look at me. I’m irresistible in any shape.”

All told, The Bee Movie is a tiresome mishmash of bad science, formulaic romance, and forgettable characters.

1 out of 5 stars.

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