Friday, November 9, 2007

Bee is for Bad

I may be digging a bit too deep, because it is just a kid’s movie for God’s sake, but the Bee Movie is BAD.

I feel pretty qualified to make this assessment. First of all, before I became a wife and mother, I went to graduate school for film and after graduate school, I taught a few film courses for several semesters at Temple and Loverman currently teaches film at the same university. Hell, I even met my future husband at the Cannes Film Festival.

Since having my babies, our visits to art film houses have been replaced by a Netflix queue and frequent visits to the local metroplex to check out the latest animated offerings with the kids. In April, Loverman and his partner even released their first feature-length kid’s animated film, The Adventures of Teddy P. Brains. So, when I heard Jerry Seinfeld convinced Steven Spielberg to spend $150,000,000 to make the Bee Movie and another $150,000,000 to market the flick, I wanted to check it out and since the kid’s school was closed today, it seemed like a today was the day.

Well… it was a total bust. I guess the filmmakers did a good job in conveying the invaluable role of the bee in our eco system, but beyond making that point, the movie isn’t engaging at all. Over the years, there’s been several animated films released that engage both children and parents, like the Shrek franchise, A Bug’s Life and my all-time favorite, The Incredibles.

What makes these films stand out is the filmmakers understanding that the devil is in the details, not only in the character development, but also in crafting the story and this is what The Bee Movie lacks. You’re not given enough of a back story to really care that “Bruce the bee” has fallen in love with a human or why a “drag queen” has sold out her colony and that colony is now resigned to producing honey for the pleasure of humans. The film doesn’t even have a banging soundtrack and everybody knows that when the credits roll, the booties should shake.

But, should I really expect Seinfeld to pay attention to the details? For years he created a NYC where again, he ignored the diversity and nuances that make the city so dynamic.

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