Bee Movie (review)

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If your idea of comedy gold is really terrible, awful groaners of puns, look to Bee Movie, which can’t get enough of every obvious and unfunny play on insect words imaginable. Guy bees wonder whether a potential lady friend is a “wasp,” or is she “beeish”? Problem is, none of the bees buzzing around here are particularly beeish. Like those other toon headscratchers Robots and Cars, the bees of Bee Movie are tiny humans who wear black-and-yellow sweaters, and by the time it dispenses with even pretending that the bees aren’t bees — as with “Bee Larry King,” who is Larry King playing himself again — I was about ready to throw up. (Speaking of throwing up… How freakin’ lazy and pointless is this dumb flick? You know how, in the real world, forager bees ingest nectar from flowers and then regurgitate it in the hive, where the workers turn it into honey? The “pollen jocks” here use machine nectar-collection devices: there’s no puking involved at all. This movie is so base that it is utterly blatant about the “let’s build a theme park ride from this bit” stuff that is inevitable in animated movies these days, yet it bypasses a chance for a vomit joke.) Not only are the bees nonsensical, so is the plot, even grading on the fantasy curve. Jerry Seinfeld the bee wants to sue us humans for stealing the fruits of beekind’s hard work, but the movie is unable to create a world in which humans and bees believably coexist in the first place. From this absurd premise spins a story so simplistic only very young child will be amused by it. Seinfeld wrote this thing, and that’s plain too: it’s like one of his standup routines — “What’s with these aerodynamically impossible bees, anyway?” — that goes on waaaay too long.

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Bzero
Fri, Nov 02, 2007 3:07pm

Aw. That’s a shame. My GF loves bees, so I’ll be seeing this either way. It’s too bad, then, that isn’t awful.

Count Shrimpula
Fri, Nov 02, 2007 4:10pm

Oh crap. I’m going to have to see this with the girlfriend too, and I don’t think there’s any getting out of that. I was really hoping it wouldn’t bee so terrible. (Ha! Get it!)

JSW
JSW
Fri, Nov 02, 2007 6:25pm

So they’re still repeating the myth of aerodynamically impossible bees? That’s almost annoying as the people sho say that it’s the Earth’s rotation that determines the direction water spins as it goes down the drain (hint: the Coriolis effect is far too weak to have any noticeable effect on something as small as a sink or toilet, especially in the time it takes to drain.)

SailorSerena
SailorSerena
reply to  JSW
Tue, May 04, 2021 3:26pm

I know, right? Did they even fact check before writing that nonsense line? It doesn’t even make sense. If bees weren’t supposed to fly, then they wouldn’t, plain and simple. Otherwise, they’d just plain rip apart time and space with their flying. Geez Louise, people.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Nov 02, 2007 7:23pm

Yes, they’re still repeating it…

Joanna
Joanna
Sat, Nov 03, 2007 12:07am

Shouldn’t the main characters (heck, most of the characters) in this movie be female? Since they’re, you know, bees, and drones are a pretty small segment of the hive population? Oh wait, I forgot, girls have cooties (even when they’re animated, even when they’re bees), and we can’t possibly expect our wee man!children to sympathize with a female lead. Again.

Sigh. Hollywood makes me tired.

SailorSerena
SailorSerena
reply to  Joanna
Mon, May 03, 2021 1:29pm

Yeah, this is the same thing we see all over media starring anthropomorphic(and even not-so) animals. Even if it would make more sense for them to be female, they’ll stubbornly and stupidly make them male. The Improbably Male Animal is what I call it.

Take The Lion King for example. Almost all of the hyenas serving under Scar are male, except for maybe the Whoopi Goldberg one. Problem is? Hyenas are female-dominated. Male hyenas don’t do crap. They’re the lowest of the low in the hyena matriarchy. It’s the female hyenas who are dominant, aggressive, and bloodthirsty, while the male ones are meek and submissive. So why did they go out of their way to make these zealous and evil hyenas…male? Because Hollywood can’t conceive of a female character who is vicious, dominant, and tough, or females being the prominent ones doing all of the work. Even when it’s the reality!

And Home. It’s enough that the pinkish-purple alien just had to be male, but they made the calico cat male too! In real life, most calico cats are female. In the original source material, the calico cat is female. In the movie adaptation, the calico cat is male.

And even though it’s not a movie, the bee on the Honey Nut Cheerios cereal box is also an Improbably Male Animal(Insect, in this case). Why? Male bees are practically drones! But I guess nobody would want to buy a product with a female mascot on it, even though the UTZ crackers, Benson crackers, Lactaid milk, Sun Maid raisins, Butterworth, and Colombia pictures productions are doing just fine, and so was Progressive before they had the audacity to replace Flo with Jamie and an anthropormorphic male box(ugh) who thinks he’s a ladies man(DOUBLE ugh!)(I understand the controversy behind Aunt Jemima and Land of Oakes, really, I do, but STILL.). So they chose to stick with their Improbably Male Animal.

Hollywood is sexist and afraid to have too many women in one place(that’s why they’re always killing off the mother rather than the father!), even when it would make MORE sense to make them female than the other way around. Simple as that.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  SailorSerena
Tue, May 04, 2021 5:00am

https://smektacular.tumblr.com/post/115586696569/the-seven-magnificent-boov-genders

And, of course, in the book, the main character is a Black girl, and the boy alien is named J. Lo.

SailorSerena
SailorSerena
reply to  Danielm80
Tue, May 04, 2021 12:59pm

Yeah, I think she’s black in the movie too. Or maybe she’s mixed race. Can’t recall.

I think it would be cool if they included the Seven Boov Genders, but of course, knowing Hollywood, they’d probably play it for insensitive laughs.

Jurgan
Sat, Nov 03, 2007 11:38am

“Shouldn’t the main characters (heck, most of the characters) in this movie be female? Since they’re, you know, bees, and drones are a pretty small segment of the hive population?”

You’re fighting a losing battle. I’ve been railing against the concept of an “ant girlfriend” for years, with A Bug’s Life, Antz, and whatever that other one that was out last year was called. For some reason, people get freaked out by male cows with udders but don’t mind ignoring basic facts of insect biology. Probably just that insects are less well known.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Nov 05, 2007 1:42am

You know what’s even worse? The “girl” bees — who all, of course, have beehive hairdos — are unbelievably fucking stupid. So stupid that they are completely fooled into mistaking the scrawny, whiny “Jerry Seinfeld” drone for one of the pumped-up, square-jawed “pollen jocks” who look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and talk like Patrick Warburton merely because the Seinfeld bee smears pollen on himself.

Left_Wing_Fox
Mon, Nov 05, 2007 3:20pm

When I heard of a Bee Movie, i was hoping briefly that they made the “Clan Apis” graphic novel into a feature film. Oh well, I guess I’ll still have to hope.

Tonio Kruger
Tue, Nov 06, 2007 5:40pm

My late father was a “Seinfeld” fan and I’d ordinarily be tempted to see this in remembrance of him but I doubt he would have liked this movie’s hard-sell advertising campaign so I guess mi novia and I will be seeing “Hairspray” at the second-run theatre this week.

Mel
Mel
Thu, Nov 08, 2007 8:58pm

My grad advisor is a paleoentomologist, and so when one of my labmates told her about the movie today, we got a very entertaining rant about Hollywood and insect biology.

But I guess making the “pollen jocks” female would have confused the kids.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sat, Nov 10, 2007 3:19am

I guess making the “pollen jocks” female would have confused the kids.

Of course it would have. Everyone — even kids — knows that girls don’t do, you know, *stuff.* They just stand around looking pretty.

Christ, even the human Renee Zellweger character here takes a back seat in the human world to the male bee.

Steve Taylor
Steve Taylor
Sat, Nov 10, 2007 6:06pm

As a voting member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, I was sent a half-pound jar of Ray Liotta honey (it’s in the movie). The money they wasted trying to promote this thing should have been plowed into research. Maybe the bees are disappearing because of drek like this?

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Nov 12, 2007 2:09pm

No? Seriously? They sent you Ray Liotta honey? Good god…

Maybe the bees are just embarrassed to death? Yeah, I could buy that.

Mat
Mat
Sun, Nov 18, 2007 9:42am

This movie wasn’t bad. I liked the movie’s *fictional* take on the inner workings of a beehive. If you buy a ticket to this movie looking for a factual documentary on bee ecology, you deserve the disappointment you will get. It had several funny jokes dispersed throughout. The story line wasn’t the best – it kind of took a “Happy Feet” path (humans are evil) that was a bit annoying. It was nice to see the ignorant, self-important activist with a heart of gold come to realize that the “cause” she worked so hard for was actually a huge mistake, and she even went back to help repair the damage she had helped to cause. (Maybe it will make some people take a step back and think before they act). In this way, it was better than “Happy Feet”.

Jurgan
Sun, Nov 18, 2007 10:59am

“it kind of took a “Happy Feet” path (humans are evil) that was a bit annoying.”

I think you’re misrepresenting- Happy Feet was more “humans are ignorant” than “humans are evil.”

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Nov 19, 2007 1:51am

If you buy a ticket to this movie looking for a factual documentary on bee ecology, you deserve the disappointment you will get.

I don’t think anyone was expecting that. But it would have been nice if the bees were actually somewhat beeish.

Tonio Kruger
Wed, Nov 21, 2007 1:14pm

Ursula Andress honey, I could understand. And even Ava Gardner honey would be comprehensible. (After all, they both played characters named Honey at one point in their career.)

But Ray Liotta honey? Really? Really?

Is this supposed to be a reference to “Something Wild”?

allen
allen
Wed, Nov 21, 2007 3:37pm

It’s unbeeishness would be better than it being so beeish. If it were like all facts it ud be like an animated documentory. and it was pretty good-an-funny for an animation, like when they shot pooh down with the tranqualizer dart.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Nov 23, 2007 3:38pm

Allen, surely you understand that there is a difference between a documentary and a fictional movie that does not abandon all pretense of reality even when that actually works against that fictional story?

Krow
Krow
Sat, Nov 24, 2007 5:33am

You could tell this one was going to be a dog by the relentless advertisements. Pushing for that massive first weekend payoff before the word gets out.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Sat, Dec 01, 2007 11:14pm

Well i think bee movie was great U see the guy who wrote the first review wasnt realy looking at the movie in a childs point of veiw thats basically why these movies are made i thought it was a great movie it was a bit weird how Bees sued humans for taking there honey but its great definately getting it on DVD dont take one persons opinion dont take any have your own and go check it out!

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sun, Dec 02, 2007 11:58pm

Hey, Jeremy, I’m the “guy” who wrote the review, and you’re right: I didn’t look at it from a child’s perspective. I’m an adult, and I write reviews for adults.

Mark
Mark
Wed, Jan 23, 2008 12:52pm

I enjoy many of your reviews but honestly, what did you expect? You complain that the plot line was absurd but you disregard how the film makers and writers transition through the plot to maintain the logic of the storyline. Certain aspects of the invalidity of what is going on is addressed and others are not.

As soon as you see the bees driving in cars you have to understand that for the entire story to function many aspects of how bees function in actuality, and how all things function for that matter, is going to be completely fictional. You approached this review as a critic who has set a standard that could never of been met by the standards you set for this type of animated film, hence in my opinion you review is skewed to the point were any merit that the film may of had is lost in your quickness to judge the rational of the premise and not any other aspect of the film.

Granted the writing of Jerry Seinfeld is completely unaltered, and so far from fresh that new generations are unaware of it’s one-dimensionality. But that is to lose sight of the point: one dimensional as it may be, it is Jerry Seinfeld at his best. Now if you do not like his style of humor or find it repetitious as I do, that is on thing—but it does not change that it is some of his best work. Did you really expect Jerry Seinfeld to have vomiting jokes?

Mark
Mark
Wed, Jan 23, 2008 12:59pm

Please excuse the typos and grammar errors in my comment above; I wrote these posts from my Q and it is hard as hell to edit :)