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Bee Movie: A confused and unfocused film.

It's common for movies to get a second life after their initial theatrical release. Even animated movies have been known to get a second life and become widely respected when they were either initially criticized by critics upon release or failed at the box office. A few examples include "Lady and the Tramp", "A Goofy Movie", and "The Princess and the Frog". Though one of the strangest cases of a film getting a second life was "Bee Movie". I could make a whole review describing the random second life this film had, but I'll keep it short. When it came out in 2007, the animated film from DreamWorks wasn't a huge critical or commercial hit. The movie came out and then afterward was mostly forgotten. Then nine years later, the Internet turned it into a meme and it became a crazy phenomenon. It exploded and was the talk of the Internet for a while. While I can get some laughs from the phenomenon, the actual film itself isn't very special. To put it lightly, it's a mess. A bee named Barry (Jerry Seinfeld) has just finished school and he and his best friend Adam (Matthew Broderick) are about to get jobs in the hive. However, Barry learns that he is about to get a job for the rest of his life and work until he drops dead like other bees, a practice that has been done for millions of years. Wanting to do more before going to his job, he ventures outside the hive and ends up encountering a human named Vanessa (Rene Zellweger), a florist from New York who has a crazy boyfriend named Ken (Patrick Warburton). After a violent encounter with Ken and Vanessa saving his life, Barry decides to talk to the latter which is a major bee law that cannot be broken. However, Barry's trouble gets bigger when he discovers humans have been taking honey from hives and selling it. Angered at this, he sues the honey industry in hopes to get justice for bees and from there, a string of wild and miscalculated events unfold. The internet has been known for giving movies a second life and this film is no different. It emerged as something huge which really came to a surprise to Jerry Seinfeld who not only starred, but also produced, and wrote the film. He even brought onboard several cast and crew members from his hit TV show, "Seinfeld" to work on the film. However, despite the film's resurgence on the Internet and the talent behind the film including "Prince of Egypt" director, Steve Hickner, this film didn't work for me. The story is a huge mess. I have no idea what it was trying to go for. At first, I was interested as I liked the creativity of the hive Barry was in and what he was trying to do for his job. Even when he ventured outside the hive, I was on board as the idea of being a bug reminded me of "A Bug's Life". However, once Barry meets Vanessa, it all went downhill fast. At first, it seemed like it would evoke themes that "The Graduate" did and would pull parallels to that film, but then the lawsuit happened and I just lost all interest. There's no concrete theme or storyline in this film as it seemed to have a limited attention span. Even the jokes were lame with most being bee jokes including ones featuring cameos from Ray Liotta and Sting. It was just so obvious. As far as the animation goes, it doesn't hold up. While it boasts fantastic character designs from Nico Marlet, they aren't very well utilized as the animation comes off looking like plastic. The human animations, in particular, are very jarring and honestly look like they were made back in the 90s. Even the sets don't hold up well. The hive is still fantastic and is creative and eye-popping as ever, but New York City looked so bland and fake. It just looked like an average city as if there was nothing special about it. As far as the characters go, none stand out as memorable. Barry is essentially Jerry Seinfeld playing himself except he's a bee which really doesn't work out well. Unlike his co-stars on "Seinfeld", Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who were able to make the roles in films like "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "A Bug's Life", and "Onward" their own and different from George and Elaine, Seinfeld makes Barry like himself as he did on his own show. It doesn't really work very well and it got old very quickly. Vanessa is also a bland character and has nothing that stands out about her. She's just there for moral support for Barry and nothing more. Adam doesn't stand out as well since Matthew Broderick basically plays a Cameron Frye like character which is the only thing interesting about him since Broderick is playing the opposite character that he didn't play in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". The worst character though was the defense attorney Montgomery played by John Goodman. I love Goodman as an actor and he's been in a lot of animated movies I love, but this role was completely wrong for him. He was incredibly over the top and did not work at all. I guess the only character I liked remotely in this film was Ken, but that's because of Patrick Warburton's over the top performance which really works in his favor. Other than that, there's not much else I like about this film. Overall, "Bee Movie" is a huge mess. The story is unfocused and confusing, the animation has aged and looks like plastic, and the characters don't stand out and are very unmemorable. All this film showed me was that 2007 was a bad year for DreamWorks which badly stumbled earlier in the year with "Shrek the Third" though thankfully, "Kung Fu Panda" put them back on top in a huge way. While this film may live on as an Internet meme, I think as a film, it's not really anything special. It's best to treat this film like any other honey bee, leave it alone and it won't hurt you.


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