Bee Movie (DVD)

Barry B Benson (Seinfeld) is a bee with a plan. Well, not so much a plan, more a plan to avoid the plan. As a bee graduate — with college being the hardest day of his short bee life — Barry is expected to take up a job at Honex. And stay there for the rest of his life.

But Barry wants more. He wants to see outside the hive and, after a run-in with the 'pollen jocks', he gets his chance. When things go wrong, he finds himself in an apartment owned by Vanessa (Zellweger). When she steps in and stops her boyfriend (Seinfeld regular Warburton) squashing Barry, Barry breaks the big rule: never talk to humans. As his friendship with Vanessa blossoms, Barry discovers a painful truth: humans eat honey but — and here's the rub — they don't pay the bees for it. Indeed, they EXPLOIT bee-kind for the stuff. So Barry sues and, this being a cartoon / family film, learns a few major lessons in the process.

Morally Bee Movie takes the predictable line but, thanks to Seinfeld's script, you don't really notice. There's a steady supply of good one-liners — stingers, perhaps? — and they're neatly delivered by the man himself, and the observations on bee-life are a lot of fun. Plus of course, you get Sting taking the mickey out of himself and Ray Liotta clearly having a great time as a honey magnate called Ray Liotta. There are flaws — the likes of Broderick as Barry's best friend gets very little to do — and the hint of romance between Vanessa and Barry is a little weird to say the least but there are more than enough good points to keep things, ahem, buzzing.

EXTRAS ** A commentary track with Jerry Seinfeld and a bunch of the directors, writers and producers of the film; a featurette on the technology used to make Bee Movie; a featurette all about the voice cast of Bee Movie; a game for kids called Ask Barry; a music video for the song We Got The Bee and trailers for other Dreamworks releases. What But if would have been nice to see have of the stuff that was also included in the Region 1 release - some alternate endings and deleted scenes; Jerry's promotional flight over Cannes dressed as a bee; and the original live-action trailers. But, as always, Region 2 misses out.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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