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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Jerry Seinfeld
Renee Zellweger
Uma Thurman
Alan Arkin
Patrick Warburton
Rip Torn
Oprah Winfrey
William H Macy
Robert Duvall
Kathy Bates
Matthew Broderick.
Directors
Steve Hickner
Simon J Smith.
Screenwriters
Jerry Seinfeld
Spike Feresten
Andy Robin
Barry Marder.
Running Time
TBC minutes

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Bee Movie
Seinfeld as animated Apoidea. What is the deal?


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Plot
Barry B. Benson (Seinfeld) is a bee. Fresh out of bee college and about to choose his lifelong career in honey, he longs for more. During an adventure outside, he breaks the rules and speaks to human florist Vanessa (Zellweger), and is outraged to discover that humans are stealing the bees’ produce for their own consumption.


Review

It’s been nearly a decade since Jerry Seinfeld ended his era-defining namesake show. Since then we’ve barely seen him, apart from the odd commercial, YouTube short or documentary on stand-up (if you have region 1 DVD). Many mistook the public ‘retiring’ of his show for retirement altogether, but the comic did still want to work. Never a fan of his own acting, Seinfeld wanted to a) perform new material, and b) not do it in front of a camera. The answer became obvious, and here we are, with a new animated effort from Dreamworks.

Wisely, we open on a nice piece of natural absurdity. A narrator points out that bees shouldn’t, by any human understanding of aerodynamics or logic, be able to fly, but that bees have never really cared. So we’re happily launched into Barry the Bee’s colourful, impossibility-free life, in a hive full of rollercoaster roads and colourful, vaguely Jetson-like homes. From there, it should be easy.

Bee ventures outside, bee meets girl (human). So far, so good. Bee discovers humans are harvesting honey from bee farms. Bee decides to sue. Cue courtroom drama, visions of slavery and upsetting the delicate balance of the ecosystem among the usual guest voices and pop covers of old songs. A strange brew indeed…

This sprawling tale creates problems with its characters. The more personalities that appear, the less time they have to develop, and it’s testament to the depth of talent in the voice cast that they remain even as memorable as they do. There are many enjoyable games of ‘spot the celeb’ to be had: Chris Rock is instantly recognisable as a mosquito, while those who know Rip Torn’s work will enjoy his ever-likeable presence as a flight commander. Strangely though, it’s the human characters who shine this time. Patrick Warburton – aka Elaine’s mechanic boyfriend Puddy in Seinfeld – is as great as ever, and John Goodman is good value as always, this time as an oily southern lawyer. But it’s Renee Zellweger who deserves special mention, making something out of nothing as Barry’s only human friend, getting by on pure sparkle.

Which brings us to the leading man himself. Initially there concerns whether Seinfeld could shoulder a whole movie, but those are answered early on, as his breezy manner gels with the bright colours and silly shapes. His style is as much a pleasure as ever it was – if you’re familiar with it. But what about the target audience?
Like its competition, Ratatouille, Bee Movie’s biggest hurdle is that it’s pitching to an older market. It’s more a ‘7 and up’ plotline, dense and occasionally dealing with rather sweeping issues. There are child-friendly puns, but it’s also crammed with Seinfeld’s trademark observational humour (making up for his loveable but limited acting range – even vocally). That will keep parents happy; five-and-under’s however, may get a bit antsy in the gaps between the simpler, but no less funny, gags (including a terrific mess-around with Dreamworks’ logo).

There, however, is where the similarities to Pixar’s movie end, and the ground to be caught up by every other animating studio becomes screamingly obvious. In terms of visuals, Bee Movie simply doesn’t cut the honey mustard, with a soulless, dated look. It’s a pity, and yet another reminder of how high the bar on the ol’ cartoons is these days. Don’t let that put you off altogether, but this is more a feast for the ears than the eyes.


Verdict
The depth of talent in the cast and gag writing shines through, but it’s only just enough to take your mind off of the flat animation.


Reviewed by Sam Toy

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Bee Movie
Empire Star Rating

Bee Movie Review

Bee Movie has humorous moments, but its awkward premise and tame delivery render it mostly forgettable. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 22:03, 02 January 2012 | Report This Post


Good Fun

iesolid effort from the makers of the great car crap e Hedgee Moviet be up there with pixar in terms of animation, in fact it, its a long way down. But then again, what is up to the standards Pixar has set for modern cinema. This was good harmless fun, and in this case, the animation does not matter as the jokes shine through. A good script and a good cast does iee, and it's fantastic for the kids. So in one word, brilliant. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Movieman Tom at 14:45, 19 January 2008 | Report This Post


RE: EMPIRE's Wrong Again

L: Arkduune This film is crap. Not even worth explaining my objections. Love Jerry. Loved Seinfeld (Still do) Utter crap film. Exactly my thoughts. Terrible film, I want my money back. ... More

Posted by sphincter at 19:39, 01 January 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Bee Movie

The script had a few chuckle worthy moments and Seinfeld and Zellweger make for good voice talent, but the film has more misses than hits and suffers from a story thats actually pretty dull. The CG wasn't groundbreaking eiether, Pixar have been making better looking productions for a few years now. Kids might dig it but adults will be dissapointed, the biggest indication of its failings are that is brisk runtime actually feels to lengthy. 4/10. ... More

Posted by Daniel Kelly at 18:40, 31 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Bee Movie

Alright. Effects were beautiful as you would expect. Jerry wasnt to flash hot but Rene was good and her friend.... i cant remember his bloody name.... was funny as well. I loved his line "WHY DOES YOGURT NIGHT HAVE TO BE SO DIFFICULT". Good stuff. Chris Rock was also funny (Jesus must be pleased with that miracle). All-round it was a decent film to watch as an adult and it will be a good way to get the kids to tick off for awhile (thats if your letting go by themselves)... ... More

Posted by scarface666brooksy!! at 09:43, 18 December 2007 | Report This Post


looks like a stinker, count me out ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by yaqman at 18:07, 14 December 2007 | Report This Post


looks like a stinker, count me out ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by yaqman at 18:07, 14 December 2007 | Report This Post


EMPIRE's Wrong Again

This film is crap. Not even worth explaining my objections. Love Jerry. Loved Seinfeld (Still do) Utter crap film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Arkduune at 13:12, 11 December 2007 | Report This Post


Bee +

As a huge fan of Seinfeld I found Bee Movie like meeting an old friend for a pint. Jerry is great and the gags are littered all over this one. Do youself a favour if your a Seinfeld fan and take the kids, then sit back and enjoy it yourself! Now, if only Jerry would hurry up and make Sack Lunch...... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth statto at 13:48, 10 December 2007 | Report This Post


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