Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
The cover of DreamWorks’s Bee Movie is a yellow and black homage to all things bee, and it includes a shot of the main character of the film, Barry B. Benson. Barry is played by Jerry Seinfeld, and for some unknown reason (well unexplained reason) there is a real shot of Jerry Seinfeld’s face at the top of the cover, just in case you didn’t know who he is just by his name. Jerry is the driving force behind Bee Movie, as he apparently wrote and produced the movie. The cover is decent enough, but the inclusion of Jerry’s face just seems a bit much.
The menus are really well done. They are an artistic, colorful mix of bee hives and a small bee in motion. I liked them, and they were not static or dull by any stretch.
Bee Movie includes the classic commentary done by none other than Jerry himself. It is nice to hear about the direction and thought that Jerry put into the film, especially since animation is a bit of a new territory for Jerry. He really tried to make everything fit his dream, and he put a lot of hard work into this film. The commentary also includes other who were intricately involved in making this big production animation film.
Also included as extras are rough storyboard alternate endings, and story board lost scenes. They don’t really add much to the film, and you can see why they were left out.
There is a large section on Jerry’s Flight Over Cannes, where Seinfeld himself donned an oversized bee suit and “flew” over reporters as a publicity stunt to promote the movie at the Cannes Film Festival. While short and not really funny, it is neat to see the mega star humiliate himself to promote the film if nothing else.
There are also live action trailers, which were brilliant and very funny that ran before the film’s release, as well as some short live action bits that were used to promote the movie on television. The shorts, titled Jerry’s 16 TV juniors are just plain silly, and not in a good way.
Also included on the first disk is a short entitled Inside the Hive: The Cast of Bee Movie. This 14 minute short is a great look at Jerry and his gang of accomplices as they recorded the voices for the characters. The interaction is fun and it is especially funny to watch Jerry Seinfeld laugh out loud as Patrick Warburton yells over and over again (but I have to say I didn’t find Warburton’s character nearly as funny as Jerry did). The short was well done and informative, and really explained the way that Jerry and the crew recorded together, instead of the classic way of recording pieces while isolated in a booth. The interplay between the actors really makes the dialogue work in my opinion.
The second disk includes more games and a music video that I suggest avoiding if you are prone to being “ear wormed” (where you hear a song and for some reason end up singing it for days). It is “We Got the Bee” which is a take off on the Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat”. By having read that last sentence that I wrote, I may have already ear wormed you without you hearing the song itself, and I apologize.
The games that are included are more trivia type games and bits about bees in general. Not incredibly entertaining unless you are a child, but there are a lot of extras included nonetheless.
Bee Movie is a film about Barry B. Benson, who is played by Jerry Seinfeld. If you like Jerry Seinfeld, you more than likely will like Bee Movie, because as Jerry states in the extras included with this disk, he basically just played himself. Barry sounds like, thinks like, and acts like Jerry, just in bee form.
Barry is in the bee colony and has just graduated from school and is anticipating getting his first job. Barry’s best friend Adam (Matthew Broderick) is excited about getting assigned the one job that he will do until he dies, but Barry feels that something is amiss, and he sets out to find out more about life before accepting his fate as a mere worker bee.
Barry decides to hang out with the “pollen jockeys” who are the top guns of the colony, as they get to leave the hive and fly around collecting pollen. The big, burly pilots end up taking Barry out with them, and after Barry loses his way, he ends up getting caught in a rain storm. As bees can’t fly in the rain (I didn’t know that) Barry ends up on a window ledge where he sees humans, and decides to investigate. This goes against the rules of the hive, as humans are most definitely the enemy. After coming close to getting squashed by a hiking boot, Barry’s life is saved by Vanessa (Renee Zellweger).
Barry decides that he has to say something to Vanessa, who cared enough to spare his life, and in doing so he strikes up a relationship with her. The two are able to talk to each other and relate, even though one is human, and the other is “bee-ish”. After spending time with Vanessa, Barry learns that humans are actually selling honey in supermarkets, and he decides that he has to do something, as the bees work too hard for their honey just to be taken and sold without the bee’s permission.
To right the wrong, Barry does what all good humans would do: file a lawsuit. (Damn attorneys). Barry ends up winning his suit against big business, but in doing so, he fails to see that bees are good at working, and without their jobs to keep them busy, they are lost. Not only are the bees out of work as the tons of honey is returned to them from the store shelves, but the bees are needed to pollinate the plants. Without the plants, the world slowly deteriorates, and Barry must realize his error, and with the help of Vanessa, he must get the bees to pollinate the world again by using the last flowers left on earth.
I liked the movie, and I thought the interaction between the characters was great, but to me this could have been a whole lot better. It wasn’t as funny as I thought it was going to be, and the story was (as you can read above) a bit too complex for the audience that Bee Movie seems to be aimed at. I know that most kids over the age of 6 or 7 are going to understand about attorneys and lawsuits to some degree, but perhaps the humor of bees suing big business is suited towards a more advanced audience. That is not to say that kids won’t like Bee Movie, as the majority of the story is pretty easy to follow, but I feel that it was a bit too advanced for the younger audience.
I feel like Jerry Seinfeld did a good job of getting his vision across in Bee Movie, but it just feels like it somehow misses the mark. It is as if he had all of DreamWorks’s tools at his disposal, as the film looked great, but the story just left something to be desired.
Video & Audio: 8/10
The video is really well done on this DVD. The DVD is presented in widescreen, and it looks incredibly sharp. The colors are amazing, and it was hard for me to not think that this was in high definition (it was not). As is the case with most new animated films, the clarity is just superb.
The audio was also well done, with nice use of the 5.1 surround sound Dolby Digital. The mix was even, and the effects were solid.
I would definitely recommend renting Bee Movie, but I personally don’t think it is a film that will be watched in my house over and over again, as some of the animated films have been recently. I have kids, and while we watched this one, I was repeatedly asked “what is he doing” over and over again, which is not a good sign. If you have younger kids, this one, while still worth a watch, is a bit too complicated to keep them coming back. That being said, it is a good solid release, but perhaps you should rent instead of buy Bee Movie.
Overall Score 6/10