Despite my deep and abiding fondness for Seinfeld reruns, Jerry Seinfeld's newest venture, Bee Movie barely even registered on my radar. I could blame a really busy fall and say that the PTA is taking up all spare room in my already taxed and aging brain, but that would be only partly true. I think my lack of interest had more to do with both taking bees for granted and, in an embarrassing lapse of imagination, not recognizing bees as particularly fertile territory for humor. Well, there is a reason Jerry Seinfeld is a wildly successful comedian and I am a stay-at-home, PTA mom.
Bee Movie is, in the words of my five-year-old son, "wonderful." I am not kidding. I am not sure that word has ever before passed the boy's lips, but it was the first thing he said when the movie ended. His reaction was so pure, and so immediate, that his word of choice is the one I am going to stick with regarding this film, partly to honor him, and also because I happen to share his opinion.
Initially, I wondered if I had made a mistake in bringing my Boy Wonder to this film. I just didn't think he would get it: a young bee graduates from school, looks forward to joining the work force, and freaks out when he realizes that whatever job he chooses will be IT, the first and last job he will have for the rest of his life, until he drops dead. Literally, drops dead. But, within ten minutes B.W. climbed into my lap and was totally engrossed, laughing, concentrating and recoiling at all the appropriate places. The only part of the movie he didn't like was when an airplane gets struck by lightning, but that upset was short-lived. The bees came to the rescue, and all was well.
My 10-year-old daughter also enjoyed Bee Movie, particularly the animation. (She is an artist herself. Her specialty lies in writing and illustrating comic books, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see her graduate to animation one day.) Careful attention was paid to the visual details in this film, facial expressions, shadows and light, texture, shades of yellow. The wardrobe details alone were a feat of fashion ingenuity worthy of, oh, I don't know, Italian Vogue, which is a killer fashion magazine, for sure.
Bee Movie called to mind, in various ways, other animated creature movies I have enjoyed before, including A Bug's Life, Ratatouille, and even, a tiny bit, The Lion King. Barry B. Benson, Bee Movie's main character, is a bee that just can't fall into line and behave in the expected way: he is a non-conformist, a free spirit, and a troublemaker. He dares to leave the hive, break bee law and change, for better and for worse, the bee/human relationship. He also learns a valuable lesson about the "Circle of Life." Bee Movie is, in the best sense of the word (and the pun is deliberate), sweet. Not the make your teeth hurt, cavity and vomit inducing sweet, but nice, a pleasure, smile-inducing kind of sweet. It's a rare treat (like Tupelo Honey) to go to the movies and find something accessible, funny, and smart that works for the whole family. Bee Movie is just that kind of treat.
Sue "Mom on Film" Harvey is a mother of three who shares her passion
for film with bi-weekly, family-friendly movie recommendations.
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