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Steve Hickner, Simon J. Smith
Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, Barry Levinson, Larry King, Ray Liotta, Sting, Oprah Winfrey
Writing Credits:
Jerry Seinfeld, Spike Feresten, Barry Marder, Andy Robin

Born to bee wild.

Bee Movie is a comedy that will change everything you think you know about bees. Having just graduated from college, a bee by the name of Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) finds himself disillusioned with the prospect of having only one career choice - honey. As he ventures outside of the hive for the first time, he breaks one of the cardinal rules of the bee world and talks to a human, a New York City florist named Vanessa (Renee Zellweger). He is shocked to discover that the humans have been stealing and eating the bee's honey for centuries. He ultimately realizes that his true calling in life is to set the world right by suing the human race. That is until the ensuing chaos upsets the very balance of nature. It is up to Barry to prove that even a little bee can spell big changes in the world.

Box Office:
$150 million.
Opening Weekend
$38.021 million on 3928 screens.
Domestic Gross
$126.597 million.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 11/30/2010

• Audio Commentary with Directors Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner, Producer Christina Steinberg, Editor Nick Fletcher, Co-Writer Barry Marder, and Actor/Writer/Producer Jerry Seinfeld
• “Barry’s Trivia Track” Subtitle Commentary
• “The Animator’s Corner” Picture-in-Picture Feature
• “The World of Bees” Interactive Program
• Lost Scenes and Alternate Endings
• “Inside the Hive: The Cast of Bee Movie” Featurette
• “TV Juniors”
• Live-Action Trailers
• “Jerry’s Flight Over Cannes”
• “Meet Barry B. Benson” Featurette
• “Tech of Bee Movie” Featurette
• “We Got the Bee” Music Video
• DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox
• Trailers
• “The Buzz About Bees” Featurette
• “The Ow! Meter” Interactive Feature
• “That’s Un-bee-lievable” Quiz
• “Build a Bee” Game


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Bee Movie [Blu-Ray] (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 25, 2015)

After his eponymous series ended in the spring of 1998, we didn’t see a ton of Jerry Seinfeld. He did stand-up and a few specials but not much else to keep him in the public eye. He attempted to change that with 2007’s Bee Movie, a much-hyped animated flick that came out in the fall.

That sounded like an odd venue for his return to the big-time public eye, but in my opinion at least, it succeeded. Seinfeld plays the voice of Barry B. Benson, a bee about to start his career at Honex Industries. At first Barry greets his future with optimism and excitement, but when he realizes how restricted a life he and his fellow buzzers lead, he rebels.

What does Barry do? He flees the hive and decides to see what’s out in the rest of the world. He meets a human named Vanessa (Renee Zellweger) after she saves him from the impending doom of her obnoxious boyfriend Ken’s (Patrick Warburton) boot. The rest of the movie follows the unusual relationship between Barry and Vanessa along with other connected quests as Barry tries to find his niche in life.

On the negative side, Bee comes with an awfully muddled story. At times you want to shout at the screen and force the filmmakers to settle on one plot thread. Instead, the flick jumps about from one topic to another with abandon and doesn’t coalesce into anything terribly sensible and clear.

Granted, it’s probably dopey to criticize a film about a talking bee for its lack of logic. I will wax somewhat negative about the flick’s animation and design, though. In the disc’s supplements, we’ll hear a lot of puffery about how much computing power went into the movie’s creation.

That’s all well and good, but the basic work seems lackluster at best, particularly in terms of the humans. The characters show floppy, over-gesticulated movements, and too many of the designs look a lot alike; you’ll feel like you see the same people over and over again.

Despite the iffy story and the animation drawbacks, Bee is just too darned funny for me to care. Seinfeld does absolutely nothing to stretch his well-established acting personality – ie, himself – and as depicted here, that’s just fine with me. He plays an insect version of Jerry Seinfeld to solid comedic effect and creates a lot of amusing moments.

The same goes for the rest of the cast. Zellweger combines well with Seinfeld to make a likable couple, and Matthew Broderick creates a good contrast to Seinfeld as Barry’s straight-arrow pal Adam. Plenty of celebrity cameos come along the way as well. Some play themselves and others take on movie characters, but all add fun to the proceedings.

Bee Movie doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. As a film, it suffers from a mix of moderate problems that probably should render it ineffective.

While the critic in me wants to harp on those issues, I just think the flick’s too much fun for much of that to matter. It throws tons of jokes at the wall and plenty of them stick. This is a consistently amusing and entertaining movie.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus B+

Bee Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. No issues cropped up here.

Sharpness seemed excellent. No softness materialized, so the flick was concise and tight. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occur, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws were also non-existent in this clean transfer.

Colors also excelled. In the hive, the movie went with a golden look, while the rest of the world showed natural, dynamic tones. The hues always looked bright and vivid. Blacks appeared deep and firm, while shadows demonstrated nice clarity and delineation. This was a consistently terrific picture.

Any flick that involves as many flying scenes as Bee Movie should boast a pretty lively Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, and the results followed the expected trends. From start to finish, the flick used the soundfield in an active and involving manner. As I alluded, the many flying sequences opened things up in a dynamic way, but plenty of other elements also created a great sense of space and place. Elements were placed accurately in the spectrum and they meshed together in a smooth way. The movie kept the action intense and involving.

I also thought the quality of the sound was excellent. Speech appeared natural and concise, as the lines suffered from no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess. Music seemed dynamic and lively, and effects were well-rendered. Those elements came across as accurate and vivid, with clean highs and deep, tight lows. This was a strong soundtrack.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio demonstrated better range and fidelity, while picture appeared better defined and more vivid. I felt pleased with the DVD but the Blu-ray worked better.

This release mixes extras from the DVD and some exclusive to Blu-ray, and we begin with an audio commentary from directors Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner, producer Christina Steinberg, editor Nick Fletcher, co-writer Barry Marder, and actor/writer/producer Jerry Seinfeld. All of them sit together for this running, screen-specific piece that looks at alternate/abandon scenes, production, set and character design, cast and performances, and a few animation specifics.

With all those participants, you might expect a lively, involving chat. Unfortunately, this commentary tends to be heavy on praise and light on information. Especially during the discussion’s first half, we get tons and tons of praise for the flick and all its elements.

Matters do improve as the session progresses, though; Seinfeld throws in some funny remarks and we get more substantial material. I like all of the statements about altered/cut sequences too. Unfortunately, these aren’t enough to make the commentary a winner. It has enough decent facts to be worth a listen, but it remains a disappointment.

New to the Blu-ray, The Animator’s Corner offers an unusual way to watch the movie. It adds a picture-in-picture box in the screen’s lower right corner that displays a rough version of the flick. This mixes storyboards with crude computer animation. It’s fun to see the film’s early stages and compare these to the final product.

A subtitle commentary, Barry’s Trivia Track runs alongside the movie. This gives us info about cast and crew, the movie’s creation and bees. It provides a good array of details.

Another running feature, The World of Bees lets us learn more info. We locate notes about 15 characters/actors, with an emphasis on details connected to the movie’s roles. This is a cute but insubstantial extra.

Three Lost Scenes and six Alternate Endings appear. Taken together, these last a total of 19 minutes, 39 seconds. In the first category, we find “Barry Interview” (2:12), “The Queen” (1:48) and “Liotta on a Plane” (1:12). For the “Endings”, we get “Barry and Vanessa Fly Off Together” (2:43), “Tragic Love Triangle” (1:34), “Spanish Fly” (2:46), “Outer Space” (3:52), “Ken Flies Ultralight” (2:16) and “The Eagle Has Not Landed” (1:56). All of these come with introductions from Seinfeld, and they all appear as storyreels.

Of the three “Lost Scenes”, “Interview” is the least interesting just because it incorporates a lot of gags and info in the final flick. “Queen” is a decent tangent but not one that would’ve fit well into the story. “Plane” is the most fun of the lot, just because it brings back the hotheaded Liotta.

As for the “Endings”, the first four are variations on each other in which Barry addresses the weird romantic triangle of himself, Vanessa and Ken. “Outer Space” is the oddest of the bunch – and Seinfeld’s favorite – but I don’t think any of them are satisfying.

The same goes for the final two, which are also similar. In those ones, Barry tries to arrange his wedding to Vanessa. It’s more than a little creepy, and neither would have ended the flick well. I’m happy with the current conclusion.

Some promotional spots called TV Juniors show up next. We locate 16 of these with a total running time of 23 minutes, 20 seconds. They purport to offer behind the scenes glimpses of the film’s creation, but they’re all staged vignettes created for comedic purposes. And they succeed in that regard. We get cameos from folks like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Brad Garrett in these amusing and clever pieces.

More ads show up under Live-Action Trailers. We get two of these: “Windshield” (1:56) and “Steven” (2:16). They show what Bee Movie would’ve been like as a live-action flick and include cameos from Chris Rock, Eddie Izzard and Steven Spielberg. Like the “Juniors”, they’re quite entertaining.

To see more movie promotion, we check out Jerry’s Flight Over Cannes. This three-minute and three-second clip shows Seinfeld as he takes a zip over water to get attention for the flick. It’s a pretty goofy stunt, so it’s interesting to see documentation of it.

For a look at the actors, we head to the 14-minute and 41-second Inside the Hive: The Cast of Bee Movie. It features comments from Seinfeld, Steinberg, Hickner, Smith, Fletcher, and actors Matthew Broderick, Renee Zellweger, Patrick Warburton, Chris Rock, Megan Mullaly, and Larry Miller. We hear a little about the flick’s genesis but we mostly get notes about the characters, the actors, the story and the recording process.

Make no mistake: this is essentially a long promo piece. However, I like the shots of the actors at work, and we get a few decent tidbits along the way. Don’t expect a lot from it, but it keeps us interested.

Tech of Bee Movie lasts seven minutes, 33 seconds and includes notes from Seinfeld, Smith, Hickner, Fletcher, Steinberg, head of digital operations Derek Chan, technology executive Kate Swanborg, DreamWorks Animation CTO Ed Leonard, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of layout Nol Meyer, head of research and development Jeff Wike, visual effects supervisor Doug Cooper, and head of effects Mahesh Ramasubramanian.

As indicated by the title, this one looks at the technical aspects of making Bee Movie. Unfortunately, it’s way too brief and superficial. The participants discuss the challenges but only offer a cursory discussion of the solutions. It ends up more as a promotional piece than anything else.

Next comes an interactive feature called Meet Barry B. Benson. This lets you select from a list of 11 questions to ask Barry; when you choose, you’ll get the “answer” from a compilation of movie clips and some basic in-character comments from Seinfeld. It never develops into anything very interesting.

A music video arrives after this. “We Got the Bee” offers an update on the old Go-go’s song – complete with altered bee-centric lyrics. It’s a pretty dreadful cover, and even though the video includes some shots of Seinfeld, it’s no better.

For material from other films, we can move to the DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox. This allows you to watch clips from the three Shrek flicks, Shark Tale, Flushed Away, Madagascar and Over the Hedge. This lets us hear some musical numbers from the films. It feels like an ad to me, honestly, as it serves little real purpose. Trailers includes ads for Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar: The Crate Escape and The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Under “DreamWorks Kids”, we find more components. The Buzz About Bees gives us a seven-minute and eight-second featurette about those critters. It provides a basic overview of the facts and figures that relate to our buzzy little friends. The notes stay simple but it’s not a bad summary.

A weird informative piece comes via The Ow! Meter. If you select “Human”, you’ll learn the relative pain inflicted by the sting of five different bees. Choose “bee” and find out how much various swatting methods would hurt a bee. You can also discover “how to avoid being stung by a bee”. We get some decent basic facts here.

We find a quiz with That’s Un-bee-lievable. It provides a smattering of questions about bees to test our basic knowledge of bees. You can learn a bit more info here, though the piece gives you no reward for completion.

Finally, Build-a-Bee lets you create your own “bee avatar”. Kids might like this but it seems pretty dull to me.

No one will mistake Bee Movie for a great animated film, as it suffers from a few concerns. However, it delivers the laughs it promises, so it succeeds in the end. The Blu-ray provides excellent visuals along with good audio and a bunch of supplements. Bee Movie becomes a fun experience.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of BEE MOVIE

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main