Review by Jack Foley
THE pairing of Jerry Seinfeld and Dreamworks Animation ought to have been as sweet as honey but as enjoyable as Bee Movie remains, it does carry a bit of a sting in its tale.
The jokes, as you would expect, fly thick and fast, while the animation is as impressive as ever – but the film struggles to find a consistent tone and continues to exist in Pixar’s shadow.
The story begins as Barry B Benson (voiced by Jerry Seinfeld) emerges from bee college to embark upon a lifelong career in honey.
Determined to seek out more from life, Barry manages to get himself on an outside adventure and swiftly breaks the rules by speaking to human florist Vanessa (Renee Zellweger), who informs him that humans are ‘stealing’ the bees’ produce for their own greedy consumption.
Outraged, he sues the human race and promptly sets in motion a chain of events that ultimately has dire environmental repercussions for everyone concerned.
To be fair, Bee Movie begins brightly amid some smart jokes and wonderful visuals, including an aerial sequence over Central Park that’s sure to appeal to younger sensibilities. But it comes a little unstuck once the drama kicks in.
Seinfeld’s script struggles to find the right balance between keeping the youngest viewers entertained and playing to older audiences. Hence, once the courtroom politics take centre stage and issues of consumerism, capitalism and the environment rear their head, interest starts to wane as a lot of the material will undoubtedly fly over the youngest heads.
That’s not to say that the film falls apart completely, merely stutters to an unconvincing finish.
On the plus side, there’s still plenty to enjoy, including laugh out loud cameos from Ray Liotta (as himself) and Chris Rock (as a fast-talking mosquito), some razor-sharp one-liners (including a terrific gag at the expense of lawyers) and some well choreographed set pieces.
But there’s also the suspicion that Bee Movie sometimes feels as though it is trying too hard to appeal to everyone and lacks the spontaneity or easy appeal of films like Pixar’s Ratatouille.
By therefore attempting to be too clever, Seinfeld and co miss out on generating the kind of buzz that would really have generated some lasting appeal.
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD release date: May 19, 2008
- Buy the 2-disc collector's DVD (Amazon)
- Buy the 1-disc DVD (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Jerry Seinfeld interview
- Renée Zellweger interview
- Jeffrey Katzenberg and Simon J Smith interview
- Bee Movie photo gallery
- Bee Movie UK Premiere photos
- Read our preview and watch 4 minutes
- Jerry Seinfeld performs Cannes stunt
- Jerry Seinfeld's Cannes stunt in photos