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I think some replies here were a little bit harsh on the movie. Mind you,
this is a movie critic's haven, so I can understand. But let's try to level
First of all, I knew when starting this movie that it was going to be an indie, low-budget, sort of film, so I wasn't expecting some kind of Lord of The Rings or COlor Purple. I also knew not to expect anything too complex--in my experience with movies such as these, there is more there than just a simple, plausible plot that appeals to everybody. I knew going into it: Hey this is an Elijah Wood movie. Now everything I have seen him in, with the exception of Flipper, has been in some way great, and always told a great or complex story. Summing up all of those conclusions, I went into the movie knowing I shouldn't try to apply any other movie criticisms to it until I had seen it all the way through twice in order to fully catch the drift of the movie.
That being said, the movie was fair. I don't think it is the greatest thing he has ever done; it in no way compares to the Ice Storm or Lord of The Rings. However, I think the end of the movie sort of pulls everything together and helps me to see why Elijah might've chosen to do this movie.
Here is what I liked: The ending, the one that leaves everyone questioning a few things; the sarcastic kid, Billy, and his acerbic sence of humor; the thought processes of Barney Snow (Elijah Wood seems to have mastered the subtlety that is required for this role; Most people here complained that Barney was too apathetic for someone who knew nothing about his past or future, but I think it reflects some of Elijah's character in there too. At the end you see Elijah's happiness restored, when he is able to let go of everything (the very last scene), but throughout the movie it is quiet, subtle nuances; the introvert in Elijah shines through, and I think it is fantastic, and almsot mysterious.) I also liked Mazzo, I think he was a great actor in this movie, and the role worked well with him.
Here is what I disliked: The romantic scene with Rachel Leigh Cook when he finds out she is leaving for Europe...I think their chemistry is terrible, and I don't think the actors are to blame--I think the casting directors are to blame. EW and RLC can both be great, Elijah much more so than Rachel Leigh Cook, but I don't think they worked well together at all.
Suprisingly, I think he and Jordana Brewster from the Faculty had a better chemistry. Also, I think there was too little effort put into the love story. It was like...out of nowhere...they were in love...which is okay sometimes, as long as the characters' feelings are out in the open, but their feelings weren't out in the open. It made it seem strange that the cover of the video box was Elijah and RLC hugging; to me that wasn't the greater message of the movie. THe cover should have been Elijah as the central figure, and then, perhaps, the supporting characters behind him, sort of blended into the background.
Overall, I rate it an 10 for Elijah, Billy,and Mazzo. I rate it a 7 for Rachel Leigh Cook, and I rate a 5 for that silly romantic scene that just didn't flow well with the movie(though I rewound and rewound a few times there...). I give a 9 to the ending because I like enigmatic things but it didn't flow perfectly either. Overall, that's about an 8.
The Bumblebee Flies Anyway is a mysterious maze of a movie, twisting and
turning throughout its hour and a half time span. What you see is what you
believe, and what you believe is what becomes reality. This is mind over
matter. Despite the laws of aerodynamics, bumblebees can fly. These concepts
are the basis for an experiment involving Barney Snow.
Barney Snow (Elijah Wood) is a young man with amnesia. He cannot remember anything prior to his arrival at a small experimental hospital, and some days, he even has trouble remembering his own name. He is the only amnesia patient in a hospital for terminally ill children, so the doctor warns him to remain detached.
Such a warning is hard to heed when Barney's home (and all he remembers) is the hospital. Naturally, the other patients become friends, even family to him. His new friends include Billy (George Gore II), a boy with a kidney disorder inherited from deceased parents, and Mazzo (Joe Perrino), a young man with bone cancer. Mazzo's twin sister, Cassie (Rachael Leigh Cook), comes to visit her brother, and meets Barney.
Barney's relationships are truly beautiful. He is not rude or condescending to the others in the hospital-nor does he seem to pity them. He takes them for their personalities, looking beyond face value. Even though Mazzo is constantly angry about his disease and projects this at Barney, the two share an amazing bond. Barney won't stop trying with Mazzo. When Mazzo gets mad at Barney, Barney doesn't pity him-he exchanges tense banter. They are real characters; they have human traits, beliefs, and struggles. Billy, the boy with the kidney problem, is a stoic, sarcastic, and even humorous child with something to say about everyone and everything. He ignores his own disease, but he doesn't deny it. His sarcasm provides a way of dealing with his problems. Finally, there is the element of romance, coming into play with Cassie and Barney. This is a subtle, effective romance, one that makes sense and moves at the right pace. Both Cassie and Barney are at crossroads in their lives, and this is reflected in their time together.
The film itself is a pensive piece. The maze that it is must be solved before it makes sense, but then it does. Every twist and turn are accounted for finally. The last approximately twenty minutes are truly outstanding. It shows something about human nature and the reality of life.
When I first came across this movie at the video store, I had previously
heard nothing about it; however, the storyline interested me, and I was
familiar with both Elijah Wood and Rachael Leigh Cook.
As indicated in others' comments, the storyline depicts Barney Snow [Elijah Wood], a young man who is the only "non-terminal" patient in an experimental hospital for terminally-ill youngsters. He is initially advised by the doctor [Janeane Garofalo] to remain "detached" as he encounters the other patients. However, before long he develops friendships with several of them --- Allie, a young kid who stutters and has some sort of brain disease; Billy, a wisecracking but honest kid (he appears to me that he is in his teens) with a kidney disorder; and Alberto a.k.a "Mazzo", who appears to be around Barney's age, acts somewhat hostile and has bone cancer. Barney especially develops a close bond with Mazzo's fraternal twin sister Cassie [Rachael Leigh Cook], to whom he regularly reports Mazzo's condition as Mazzo won't see her when she visits.
The title comes from the notion that a bumblebee is able to fly even though scientifically its wings are too small, and this is the basis of the experiment being done on Barney.
Although I found the movie somewhat slow-moving, and the storyline sometimes unrealistic as he learns the truth of why he is there, I still enjoyed it. I like sensitive storylines, and even though I generally prefer they be a little less serious than what this was, this movie still ranks as one of my favorites. It was also the first time I had seen Elijah Wood in a role other than in a "cute little kiddie" or "teeny-bopper" movie, and I thought he did an excellent job. He and Rachael Leigh Cook seemed to work well together.
I wouldn't recommend this to everyone --- if you prefer something more upbeat, you probably would not like this movie. However, I would advise anyone who thinks this seems even remotely interesting to give it a chance.
The Bumblebee Flies Anyway was certainly a drama. People die, sad things
happen, and the viewer is blown away by the stunning storytelling. That's
what it's supposed to be, right? And was it, in this case? Sort of.
plot points came and went without much surprise from me. But I still
it interesting and entertaining. The title comes from the fact that
bumblebees are actually too big for their wings, and shouldn't be able to
fly, but they do. The acting was fine, but it's funny to see that Elijah
Wood did better than Janeane Garofolo. The script was similarly passable.
Soundtrack: Pretty good, and sometimes quite effective.
On the plus side, some awesome questions are asked, and that's what makes this so powerful. I can't go into detail without giving away the plot. Overall, it's not a waste of time, but there are probably better movies out there. I'd recommend it for people who like to ponder philosophically.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I admit to initially being interested in this film because of Wood, but
Gore, Perrino, Garofalo, and Cook were strong, as well. Cook's role is
muted; some of her fans may be turned off by the quietness of her
performance, but I felt the portrayal entirely within reason, since her
character is tied to the film mostly because her brother is dying. Her
character was displaced and knew it, and her friendship with Wood's
character was very much one of mutual comfort. They were basically just
content to be in each other's presence; there were no unneeded theatrics
between them. I thought it was cool.
The film began slowly and the pace it picked up to was not in action but in psychology. The premise (which you don't discover until the end), is that cancer may be put into remission if the mind forgets it must support the cancerous cells; mind over matter, so to speak. This "cure" comes at the expense of your memories of who you are, however. You have a sort of amnesia--the painful part is when you are faced with going through the procedure again when the cancer reappears, and you will probably loose all of the memories of the friends you made, and the things you learned, and once again, who you are.
It took me a few minutes to understand the premise after it was revealed, but the painfulness of what it would be like to live like that did not sink in until the scene where Wood's character effectively said good-bye to Cook's. They were two young people who were thinking and serious beyond their years. They were faced with death and illness when most of us are out partying.
When he is facing losing himself and his memories of their friendship, he grabs on to the lapels of her coat as if holding on to them will keep him there. You can see that she knows what she's loosing, as well: a friend who has just listened and not demanded. Someone who took the time to know her as a person, who she felt could understand when she expressed her own pain and frustration.
When they kiss, you realize with a start that they are both barely out of their teens. They somehow feel older until you see the innocence and the inexperience evidenced in their kiss. I've never before seen a moment quite like the one Wood portrayed there--a young man, desperate and saddened in the knowledge that he will lose what he holds in his arms, yet unwilling to let her go and trying to express his need for her for the first time. The moment that really struck me was not the initial feeling of desperation, but rather the expression that immediately followed it, of "wow" and relief and release of tension and a breath of stunned virginity, for lack of a better term. And then, immediately following on the heels of that, a desire for more--and then a moment of simply being held. It was young, it was old, it was poignant, sweet, painful, and very well acted.
I've seen my share of film kisses, but this one was different. Just go and watch this movie! It's under-appreciated, and it is not your usual sick-ward sort of movie. It was effective, but like Connie Willis' "Bellwether," you don't realize it until you reach the end--which in some sense is its brilliance. You are just as disjointed and in a fog as Wood's character, only finding definition as he does, as he builds friends and experiences. That is why it is so painful by the end, because you have begun to treasure what he does, and it will be gone.
I found the title to this little known classic while scanning through Elijah Wood's filmography. It was, in fact, the title that jumped out at me the most. I decided I had to see it. After searching through two different rental places in my area I finally found it. I must admit I didn't know what to expect. There were many aspects of the film which intrigued me. Most of all I loved the fact that for 75% of the film you're very unclear as to what Elijah Wood's character is experiencing. This actually mirrors his character's whole role in this film. Both viewer and character are confused and disoriented, thrown into a strange world where dying and terminally ill children are the only company. This brings a unique bond between audience and Barney Snow (Wood) because we are forced to experience his incomprehension. I thought that the acting in this film was on target. Everyone from Elijah Wood to Jeffrey Force was just brilliant. Both Joe Perrino and Elijah Wood have the most expressive eyes and they utilize this gift to really tug the viewer's heart. Though some parts of this film came across a little on the cheesy side, I really found it spectacularly done and completely captivating.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Since seeing LOTR: The Two Towers, I've been on an Elijah Wood kick,
to see as many of his films as possible. I first saw him in "The Good
almost 10 years ago and immediately saw his talent, as he upstaged the
Macauley Culkin in that film. I knew this was an independent, low-budget
film, so I didn't expect much. The movie was so strong in some areas, but
very weak in others, making it an odd viewing experience.
All the characters in this film were incredibly well played. The acting was top notch. The actors playing the kids in the hospital did such a fine job, that I really fell in love with their characters. In my head, I chastized Mazzo for being so mean to Barney, but came to like him in the end. These are the kinds of feelings any great actor tries to elicit in his viewers, and in this case, they all succeeded. The big names, Elijah, Rachael, and Janeane, were just as good. Especially Elijah, who has this incredible gift of conveying emotion with a simple glance. I was so impressed with the acting, overall, that I could go on forever.
Now it's time for the not so good things, mostly due to the film's low budget. I wasn't thrilled with the film's environment. The hospital looked so cold, I felt like shivering. I'm sure that was the point, but I wish we could have seen more than just the hospital, the junkyard, and the little park outside. There only seemed to be 3-4 patients, including Barney, so the hospital felt really empty. I won't take extras for granted again, because tossing a few in this movie would have added so much. I can come up with symbolism for everything in this movie, but at first glance, the film is just "cold".
Another "low budgetism" is that rush to get everything filmed and in the can. One of the most annoying mistakes was mentioned by another user, the way Mazzo's name was pronounced "Mazzo" by everyone except Elijah, who said "Matzo" every time. Things like that shouldn't happen.
The romance between Barney and Cassie just wasn't working. Not that they're incompatible, but the story made it a rush job. The kiss at the end was so awkward and it was hard to watch. It looked like someone was behind Elijah, pushing him onto Rachael.
My biggest problem is with the story itself. SPOILERS! Barney is an amnesia victim, staying at a care center for terminally ill children. The only things Barney can remember are his name and a red convertible. He is subjected to some form of treatment that affects his memory. Mazzo, a terminal cancer patient the same age as Barney, is extremely angry at him for invading the kids' "turf". The other two kids befriend Barney for the most part. When Mazzo's twin sister, Cassie, comes to visit, she and Barney meet and start a rather unrealistic romance. All is well until Barney finds out who he really is - a cancer patient who was cured by having his memory erased. This theorizes that if a patient doesn't remember his cancer, his body won't recognize it, either. He had agreed to take part in the experiment, the stupidly titled "Bumblebee Project", but obviously can't remember. In the meantime, he manages to build a car out of junkyard parts and helps Mazzo in his longing to go out (die) in a blaze of glory. There is something so horribly wrong and ludicrous about pushing a dead person out a window. It may be symbolic, but geez was it wrong. I'll stop with that, because there is more to the ending, but I just about had it with the wheelchair going over the roof.
It probably sounds like I hated this movie, but I really didn't. It's a great film for die-hard fans of any of the castmembers. As a drama, it has excellent acting and a good setup, with the storyline developing at a good pace. The story manages to skip around the medical mumbo jumbo that could have killed it, so thank goodness for that. It just wasn't a captivating story for me. But the acting was great, so I'll give the film a 7.5/10.
Really, there isnt much to say about this one. So why say anything at all? I don't know. What I do know is that I felt nothing for this film. It contained an incredibly awkward kissing scene between Elijah and Rachel Leigh Cook. I had to look away. I still don't understand why their characters felt so passionately about one another. This kiss seemingly came out of nowhere. Boom. I cannot comprehend why people like Janeane G. and Elijah W. would sign on to it. Perhaps the script changed mid-shoot, or the script looked like a good idea on paper. For some reason I don't want to assign blame to anyone but the writer and director. Correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure this is the third movie with Elijah Wood in it that involves a) a junkyard and b) building something from that junkyard (see The War and Radio Flyer for further examples of this). Perhaps his character also jumps on or off a bicycle mid-pedal too (cf. Deep Impact, Radio Flyer, Flipper). Why have I seen so many EW movies? I have deep respect for Frodo. But I have to say, I wouldnt even rent this one.
It was a flat movie that didn't take the opportunity to tell a very deep and emotional story. It was too short. However I love Elijah Wood in any movie, so that was a plus. He needs to learn how to kiss on film. I also liked Rachael Leigh Cook. A good match for Lij. Hope they do other movies together.
I really tried to like this movie because I really like some of the
in it. But - it had so many flaws that any thinking person should have
This film is so full of confusing and implausible scenes and especially reactions that it's hard to accept almost any following scene without wondering what the heck had just happened. Or why it happened. And the cinematography was uneven. Some of the shots were nice, where others were shot so badly that I wondered if they had handed the camera to Forrest Gump himself.
Okay, to start, the Elijah Wood character is supposed to be stricken with amnesia, which would be profoundly disturbing and worrisome for any real person. Elijah does stress over this, randomly, now and again, in brief and obvious shots. But it's amazingly understated. That's just one example of how all the players under-react (or badly act) to every situation in Bumblebee.
As much as it tried to be different and, I guess, 'artsy', this film is as chock full of obtuse emotional manipulation as any mainstream, big budget, Hollywood piece of crap: feel sorry for the dying kids, understand the detached but not-really-detached doctor, ache for the long-shot romance, laugh with and love the funny kid, but worry about his health. Please.
The worst things about this terrible piece of work were the dialogue and the acting. I honestly don't think the actors are to be entirely blamed for their bad performances. There's only so much one can do with a botched script and bad directing. There are many moments when you feel like you're watching a teeny-bop romp (albeit, a depressing one) or a watch-by-numbers after school special.
It's all very confusing how the movie slaps scenes together which don't fit, and barely explains things which clearly need more definition.
The idea wasn't bad. It could have been an okay film, at least. But they screwed it up all the way through.
Thumbs (and other ligaments) down.
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