Running Time: 90 minutes
Rated: Rated G
It is such a pleasure to recommend this film to the whole family. There is something here for everyone.
Created and co-written by Jerry Seinfeld, Bee Movie is a hive of interesting ideas and social commentary.
Barry B. Benson (Seinfeld) is a recent college graduate, but wants more out of life than the inevitable career that awaits him and every other worker in New Hive City - a job at Honex producing honey.
Barry ventures out of the hive, and encounters New York. There he meets a florist named Vanessa, who saves him from being killed by her knuckle-head boyfriend. Love blooms.
When Barry discovers that anyone can buy honey right off the supermarket shelf, he is shocked that people are stealing the bees' unique creation and making money from it. He decides to sue the honey manufactures for breech of copyright, but his case has consequences that Barry cannot forsee.
Bee Movie is Seinfeld's first venture into feature animation. He started out trying to make a live action film of his story. It did not work, so Stephen Spielberg is reported to have suggested it might work better as an animation. It does.
At just 90 minutes, younger children will be captivated by the infinitely likeable Barry, his family and friends. Older children, teenagers and adults will, at varying levels, be more alert to the social commentary behind so much of the film's narrative, on the dignity of work, enforced labour, nature of war and attack, natural versus modified food production, environmental concerns and the balance needed in creation. It's all there. And it is packaged in what is always an enjoyable vehicle, and which at times it is very funny indeed.
The moral of the film is strong too: we are all interconnected, and even the smallest task in the day-to-day world has significant ramifications for our quality of life.
My only criticism of the film is that is a tale out of Boy's Own Annual. The story and its setting lend itself toward a much greater role for women, but here they are only seen as a mother and the love interest. Where is the Queen Bee? While she is referred to, she is nowhere to be found in this film. Sinfield seems to want steer clear of matriarchy.
That is why, against the scientific facts, Bee Movie would have us believe the males bees contribute to the manufacture of honey, while the females just hang around the hive. The opposite is true. The men are called drones for a reason. It is the girls who do most of the work.
But this reservation in no way takes away from the delight you and your family will derive from Bee Movie. It gets an A from me.
Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the director of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting