A professor in the University of Central Florida that taught me very well about cinema, submitted a wonderful script to different movie studios about two kids over the summer living with their father inside a boat, as they sail the western hemisphere for multiple reasons. But, despite the good script, had a major issue that did not allow for it to ever be filmed: it did not figure out its audience and failed to reach a demographic to aim for. The script was much too mature for kids to watch; yet the piece was about kids, which wouldn't interest the adults. It was a coming-of-age story that would have issues entertaining anybody, despite the rich material. This is the biggest issue of Bee Movie.
Bee Movie tries to entertain kids and adults yet has very little humor for the children, nevertheless a plethora of jokes for the adultsbut the cutesy factor becomes a turn-off for the parents. As a matter of fact, Bee Movie could have definitely benefited from edgier material and aiming the film towards an older audience. Jerry Seinfeld has a wonderful story to tell, but the kids would definitely not be interested. Bee Movie involves a major lawsuit, celebrity cameos, hidden humor about actors, and the typical Seinfeld humor that made the comedian a household name back in the 90s. The movie does have its laughs, does indeed contain its moments, but it could have been much better if it didn't try so hard to appeal to the kids.
In this movie, we follow a recently graduated bee by the name of Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) that decides to fly away from the hive to see the world prior to picking the one job he'll work for the rest of his life, whatever that may be. After an incident involving a tennis ball, a spunky florist Vanessa (Renee Zellweger) saves him. As his relationship with humans, especially Vanessa, improves, he learns that humans eat honey and decides to sue the entire human race. About a dozen of well-known actors and actresses are sprinkled in this movie, ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Ray Liotta to Chris Rock to even Sting (okay, so he doesn't act). The best vocal performances in this movie however come from Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller, adult Simba) and of course, Patrick Warburton (Kronk in Emperor's New Groove, The Tick, and Joe from Family Guy).
Unfortunately for Dreamworks, Pixar is once again raising the bar in animation with the incredible Ratatouille earlier this summer. So, with such competition, the animation department suffers a lot. Whenever the action slows down (the flying sequences, albeit not enough of them, were good) the lack of detail becomes obvious; the trees look the same, the buildings look the same, and some of the voices doesn't match the faces. For example, when Ken (Warburton again) screams and rants, his face does not match the explosion of rage. Even older flicks like Madagascar, Over the Hedge, and Ice Age looked better. Seinfeld's vision of the bee world was unveiled, but not with a rather lack of detail.
Where the movie scores its biggest points lies in the fast-paced, unpredictable humor of Jerry Seinfeld. This is a well-written story with an original plot and plenty of jokes to throw at everybody. The slapstick and physical humor rather misses more than hits, but the Seinfeld-humor (you whether understand this very well, or not at all) delivers most definitely. Whether it's the sidesplitting one-liners, subtle pop culture gags, or the hilarious cameos (Ray Liotta's scene was comic gold), the Master of Nothing still has the jokebug in his blood. The performances do indeed enhance the experience, but some are underused; best example is Chris Rock. The slow moments come whenever slapstick replaces dialogue, and it happens several times.
Bottom Line: Bee Movie is a decent flick for adults, but not that great for kids. Finding the balance between material for kids and material for adults is not easy yet in this film it becomes so one-sided, you wind up laughing a lot but feeling sorry for the kids watching at the same exact time. The story and dialogue are unique and refreshing, but at the same time it almost feels wasted because half the audience will get a kick out of it. Jerry Seinfeld once again delivers, but should probably try to stay away from making substance for kids, and remain with the witty adults. Animation isn't a big deal either, so the visuals will not astound you that much either. Instead, come in for the great dialogue and a potential step towards making more computer-animated flicks for just teenagers and adults---even though this genre is almost always marketed towards the "rugrats."
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