Plot: Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) is about to embark on adulthood, as he has graduated from college. He and his friend Adam (Matthew Broderick) now have to look to the future and that means a job, but the choice is a tough one. After all, whichever job they choose is the one they’ll have for life, so they need to be wise with their decision. But Barry doesn’t agree with this one job scenario, so he wants to experience life and by life, he means life outside the hive. So he joins a squadron of pollen jocks and takes a trek into the outside world. There he finds danger, excitement, and yes, even romance. He is smitten with a beautiful woman, but she is a human and bees aren’t supposed to talk with humans. This is all pushed aside when Barry discovers that humans steal the honey from bees, but can one bee make a difference in such a big world?
Entertainment Value: Bee Movie is a fun, offbeat animated feature that launched a small armada of memes, but still has entertainment value beyond the few oddball moments that sparked those memes. “Do you like jazz?” is indeed an odd, but hilarious line, however Bee Movie has a consistent level of humor as well. I mean, the movie centers on a bee that is not outraged over honey theft and takes mankind to court, but also pursues a romance with a human woman. The human/bee romance is so strange, but it works or at least the idea works in the narrative, how the dynamics of the actual relationship works are another issue. The story is solid and brings up some universal topics, like finding your place in the world and the value of teamwork, while also having your own pursuits. The characters are quirky and fun, the pace is brisk, and the sense of humor is just offbeat enough, as you’d expect with Jerry Seinfeld in the central role, with his usual brand of comic barbs. This one doesn’t have the emotional depth or cultural value as some of Pixar’s best movies, but Bee Movie is fun to watch and just weird enough to make it stand out. So if you have younger audiences in need of a movie or you just like eccentric animation, give this a shot.
The animation in Bee Movie looks terrific, especially in the earlier scenes that take place within the bee world. I love the designs in the bee realm and how those environments are crafted, such a cool and unique look. I find myself wanting to know more about the details of life in the bee communities, so the visual design elements more than do their job in this one. Once the movie shifts to the human world, the uniqueness fades and the visuals are more traditional, though still impressive. But the human world has a less creative, less memorable presence, so I still think the bee world is where the animation really shines in Bee Movie. That’s a general issue I have with the film as well, as more time in the bee atmosphere would have been quite welcome. The voice cast is led by Seinfeld, who as I said before, has his signature style of humor on showcase and brings a lot to the movie. Renne Zellweger has a manic, offbeat performance that stands out, while Matthew Broderick has a straight man role and Patrick Warburton plays to his strengths as a big lug. The cast also includes Larry Miller, Kathy Bates, Chris Rock, Megan Mullally, Ray Liotta, and John Goodman.