We had thought to go and see The Golden Compass but when we got there Bee Movie was showing sooner so that was that.
When young bee, Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld), graduates from college he's dismayed to discover that he's expected to choose a career in honey production and do that same job for the rest of his life. So, determined to break the mould he's been cast in, Barry ventures outside the hive along with a squadron of nectar gathering bees.
However, when an accident with a tennis ball separates Barry from the rest of the bees and he's in pretty dire peril, he ends up being saved by Vanessa (Renée Zellweger), a human. Barry decides that he has to break a strict bee law banning bees from talking to humans and thanks Vanessa for saving his life. She's a bit shocked to discover that bees can talk but the two soon become fast friends.
But, on a visit to a supermarket with Vanessa, Barry is horrified to discover that humans eat honey, honey they have to have stolen from hard-working bees. Determined to right this great wrong, he files a class action lawsuit against humans but the ramifications of his actions lead to serious problems for bees, humanity and the earth itself.
Okay so the concepts of talking bees growing up in little family units or of male bees doing any work at all is taking some liberties with nature but this movie really isn't about bees at all. It's a bit of a mix of a coming-of-age movie, a romance, a courtroom drama and an ecological disaster movie. The bees are just there to attract the kids as a animated movie with a teenager fighting against the establishment just wouldn't work as well.
That's not to say it isn't funny. it is and very much so in places but I think the writers have tried to squeeze too much of a plot into what should have been a simple animated comedy and it misses the mark a little with the younger audience. I never got into Seinfeld when he was on TV so have very little experience of his humour but it works here, especially for adults as the one-liners kept coming at a pretty fast pace.
The animation was pretty good, especially in the flying through the hive scenes, but it wasn't anything spectacular like the kind of stuff Pixar puts out. I got the impression that all those flying scenes and dodging stuff were crafted more with a video game franchise in mind than for the benefit of the storyline.
It also attracted a lot of well-known names to do the voices. Aside from Seinfeld and Zellweger, there are roles for Matthew Broderick as Barry's friend Adam, Kathy Bates and Barry Levinson as his parents, John Goodman as humanity's lawyer, Oprah Winfrey as the judge, Chris Rock as a mosquito, Larry King as bee version of himself, Ray Liotta and Sting as themselves as well as Larry Miller, Megan Mullally and Rip Torn.
All of the above concerns regarding the plot and animation aside, it's all about the humour and there's plenty of it. I'm not sure a younger audience would appreciate it but we enjoyed it and laughed quite a lot so it has to have something going for it.
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
My Rating: 7/10