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Movie Review

Bee Movie

MPAA Rating: PG for mild suggestive humor, and a brief depiction of smoking

Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
All ages
Genre:
Animation, Comedy, Family
Length:
1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
November 2, 2007 (wide—3,500 theaters)
Copyright, DreamWorks
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, DreamWorks

Bees in the Bible

Honey

Lying and the Bible

Discover Amazing Insects of the Rain Forest!

Insects in the Bible

Food

Creation SuperLibrary.com
Top choice for accurate, in-depth information on Creation/Evolution. The SuperLibrary is provided by a top team of experts from various respected creationist organizations who answer your questions on a wide variety of topics. Multilingual.
click for Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Uma Thurman, Kathy Bates, Alan Arkin, Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Tim Blake Nelson, Patrick Warburton, Oprah Winfrey, Matthew Broderick
Director: Steve Hickner, Simon J. Smith
Producer: Jerry Seinfeld, Christina Steinberg, Cameron Stevning
Distributor: DreamWorks

“Hold on to your honey.”

2007 has been a disappointing year for animated family films. “Shrek 3” proved that it needed the master touch of Andrew Adamson, and “Meet the Robinsons” proved a little too offbeat for mainstream audiences. Only “Ratatouille” lived up to expectations, so does “Bee Movie” put animated films back on track? In truth, it depends on your age and expectations.

“Bee Movie” is the story of a Bee who tires of working the same old job every day and ventures out from the hive where he encounters and befriends a human florist. Eventually he finds out that humans are “stealing” the honey that they work so hard to make and decides to file a lawsuit against the human race.

Now, the plot sounds promising indeed, and the story is fairly well paced, but ultimately the film appeals mainly to children. When the movie was over, the children in the audience cheered while some parents awoke. In fairness, it is an entertaining movie, but with ticket prices as high as they are now you should probably wait for the DVD unless you have children who are dying to see it. I suspect the film will also appeal to Jerry Seinfeld fans as well. There are some good jokes and many pop cultural gags, including the appearance of “Sting” of the Police band.

In terms of warnings to adults, there are, as usual, some inappropriate gags and comments. There are references to “draining the stinger” (when a bee needs to use the bathroom), a sexual reference to a “bedbug,” “shacking up,” illegitimate children, a “drag queen,” and “lust” is mentioned as well. There is a reference to “bejesus” which is meant to be a play on Bees and Jesus, and some might be offended by the reference to Larry King as being “very Jewish” (although the actor who says the line is himself Jewish).

What may disturb some parents more than these elements are the subtle, and occasionally not so subtle, political and social commentaries that run throughout the film. Now, in fairness, I should say that the movie does not have a political agenda, but it clearly reflects the political and social agendas of its authors. The commentary is, therefore, either more subtle or more subversive depending on your point of view.

The most subtle reference is to Evolution. We are told repeatedly that bees have been around for 27 million years (which is refuted by Creation Scientists). There is no specific mention of Evolution, but the assumption is there. More overt is the ecological/mother nature mindset in which the human race is seen as a parasite. Throughout the trial, man is not only depicted as thieves and parasites, but the Creationist view of nature seems to be mocked. The lawyers for “Honeyburton” and “Honron” (which are slaps at Haliburton and Enron) are villains who speak of the “Creation God made,” but are shown as sort of leaches. The lawyer finally comments that the Bees’ victory is an “unholy perversion of the balance of nature.” Finally, the Bee protest becoming “honey slaves to the white man!” Now, it is to be admitted that the lawyer’s prophecy comes true for the Bee learns that nature was in balance before he filed the lawsuit, thus negating much of the very premise laid earlier in the film, but it does not change the fact that Creationists are not fairly portrayed. Still, the imagery is one that will easily pass over most people without a thought. Some might say this is the problem. Others will say that this is crying over spilled milk. After all… it is a movie about talking bees!

Overall, I felt that the story showed promise, but was not that well executed, despite some good humor and computer animation. It seemed to lack the charm of better animated films. Last year’s crop of animated films was quite good, featuring movies like “Hoodwinked,” “Cars,” “Curious George,” and “Over the Hedge.” This year only “Ratatouille” lived up to expectations. I believe that “Bee Movie” will be successful, considering the competition this year, and children will love it, but adults without children may as well wait for the DVD.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments available:
Negative
Negative—My husband and I saw this movie, anticipating it to be cute and funny. We were both very disappointed. Although the first 30 minutes of the movie were funny and very entertaining, once the plot developed, it was very obvious there was an agenda. This movie crossed that thin line from being entertaining to absurd. The message it was trying to send put bees far too high on the value scale, and the whole movie turned into a “bees have feelings too” story. Two separate groups of people actually walked out during the movie. As I said before, the first third was entertianing, but the rest became very boring and the storyline got too complicated. I’m just tired of seeing animated movies about animals/insects, and the humans are ALWAYS the bad guys.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Jamie, age 25
Negative—…we went to see the “Bee Movie.” We left half way through in total revulsion! The themes portrayed in this “KID” movie disgusted ME, the mom, and I am 47 years old.
A cross-dressing bee in a kids movie???
An insect dating a human?
A bee making out with a girl?
Sex, Sex and more perverted sex!
It was a total turn off even to my 13 year old son. I cannot believe the feedbacks that start off saying how cute and fresh the movie is and then proceed to talk about suicide, sex, perversions, human/insect dating, etc. Have we all lost our minds? Come on folks, let us show some discernment in these end times—or have we all let the Enemy darken our minds to what is appropriate, fresh, clean and innocent for the eyes of our youth? Remember, the eyes are the entrance to the soul. Do you really want your kid’s souls full of these types of themes? Garbage in, Garbage out.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Sue Reich, age 47
Negative—I tought this film would have been great, but really there were too many mishaps for me to forgive. Reference to “draining the stinger” and the sexual meaning to “bed bug” didn’t bother me, but then it just got worse and worse, but the thing that sent me over the edge was the comment about making a “suicide pack” had gone just too far, I am a very very open minded person, I like all sorts of movies, I’m not a prude by any means, but this is the first kids movie that I will NEVER buy for my daughter when it comes out, we own just about every kids movie out there, but this will never enter our house, they might aswell have put a scene in there where a Bee student runs into school and kills everyone, the comment about suicide pack was disturbing, if they remove that scene then I would consider buying it, but my daughter should NEVER know what a suicide pack is, she’s 4 so she’ll watch a movie 20 times in a row and memorize the entire movie, so this movie is a no go for this family and should be for any family who cares about the well being of their children’s innocence.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3½
—Sarah, age 23
Negative—…This is not a kid’s film. It is so frustrating to take your child to a film that is marketed to a child and have them exposed to inappropriate humor and issues that we have purposely refrained exposing them to in an effort to preserve their innocence. Consider the discussion about “a suicide pact”? How about the scene that demonstrates how to use an aerosol can and flame to make a torch? The scene where the girl jams a fork into her arm to see if she is dreaming? The drag queen? This is not even addressing all the sexual (not so subtle) innuendo. I was very aware that it was primarily adults laughing in the film. Parents, it is purposeful that these films have this sort of content—it is to keep us entertained! But I ask you at what price?
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Kim, age 48
Negative—I didn’t like this movie for both quality and content. Usually I find myself torn—good morals, low quality, or vice versa. Not this one, so much. There isn’t really much to hate: Barry’s a cute little guy, just trying to find his place in the bee world. Unfortunately, it gets muddled in the storyline, weird twists (they constantly infer that Barry is attracted to Vanessa, for no strong reason plotwise) and constant jokes/slapstick. There’s definitely good in the story, but too much bad. I’d save my money to rent it, at least.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2½
—Allie, age 18
Negative—I took my Youth Group to see this movie after reading positive reviews. However, I was quite disappointed to hear the Lord’s Name spoken in vain. Somehow this was not mentioned in the reviews. The main character, during an interview with Bee Larry King refered to “bees that had made a difference in the world” and listed “Bee Ghandi” and “Bee Jesus.” I believe this was totally inappropriate and would not have taken the youth to this movie had I known this reference would be made. Lord willing, we will have a fruitful discussion about it next week.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3½
—John Tucker, age 38, Canada
Negative—Disappointing. Considering “Bee Movie” was written by the comic Jerry Seinfeld, it is surprisingly unfunny. The few jokes are either groaners are bad puns. The story drags, and overall this underwhelming film just does not meet the writing standards of other animated films. “Hoodwinked,” “Shrek 3” and “Surf’s Up” are just a few examples of better choices. I thought the moral rating of the film was average about en par with the “Shrek” films (for older children only) but with a couple of unnecessary unfunny inappropriate comments such as a drag queen and a suicide pact. The graphics were a plus, but the story had little to say other than honey bees are important (which is true).
My Ratings: Average / 2½
—Todd Adams, age 40
Negative—I watched this movie with my two daughters ages 4 and 10, and my Husband. The movie started out well and was very interesting at first. I noticed a clear anti white male agenda. All the white males were portrayed as being stupid and child like, or shysters. There were no good white male role models that I noticed. The courtroom scene where the bee said '…if nature had intended for them to be honey slaves to the White Man' was way over the line to me. The black man sitting at the table with the white men then pushes himself away, as to not be associated with them. The second half of the film was leaning toward a Sponge Bob type mentality, and the pace seemed much faster with shorter scenes and more action. The film got more and more far fetched toward the end. We weren’t about to walk out, but we were glad when it ended.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2½
—Maria, age 31
Negative—I’m sorry but this movie is sending some horrible messages. The most deplorable of them all is that the movie tells us that we should be happy with our lot in life, never think for ourselves, rock the boat, or try to change society because it causes nothing but trouble and could possibly end all life on Earth!? We should be happy with a life of work and never hope for adventure or try make life more enjoyable? Ummm… I believe this country was founded on the principles: life, liberty and the pursuit of HAPPINESS. This movie is an outrage! Don’t let your kids watch it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Dean, age 27
Negative'Let’s make a suicide pact…', says the bee to his human girlfriend. Need I say more? I regret renting this movie and allowing my children to watch it. Avoid it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Matt Brackin, age 33
Negative—I entirely agree with the other comments posted that were negative on this movie, therefore I will not repeat what they already stated. There were two things that I was surprised that people did not mention earlier (and if they did… sorry I must have missed it). The first thing was the reaction of the main character (the Bee… I forget his name) and the woman when see slapped (extinguished) a mosquito that bite her. She slapped it, they both realized what happened and then they both proceeded to laugh about it… At this point I thought it was a little awkward but I have slapped my own share of misquotes in Indonesia… either that or some disease that I did not want… The part of the movie that made me reflect on this scene was when the main character (the bee) has a conversation with another mosquito indicating, that like the bees in this movie, the mosquitoes were also considered to intelligent and human-like(to a certain extent). So… they essentially squished a thinking being and laughed about it…

The next issue that really struck me was the notion that if you have a problem with someone… then just sue them… it’s the American way… which unfortunately, is true… This movie… or CGI “cartoon” basically introduces children to the concept that suing or taking people to court is always the right thing to do… I personally believe that this is a large problem with America where there are more lawyers per person than any other country in the world. And probably the main reason for this is greed. We need lawyers to help people who cannot defend themselves, not lawyers who chase ambulances with no concern for the person inside it. And this movie promotes the ladder.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Josh Lawson, age 22
Negative—I wathced the BEE movie with my daughter. I didn’t watch the whole thing but I watched parts of it. I heard a part where the lady says to the bee “Let’s make a suicide past.” My daughter is 3½ years old. Now I hope that she never knows what this means but at three and a half I sure don’t want her knowing what it means. I was shocked. How could they put this in a kids movie and how could they think this was funny or cute or even appropriate. They advertised it as a cute kids movie, I never thought I would hear this type of thing in a kids movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sonia, age 27
Positive
Positive—I think the “Bee Movie” was very good. It is for an audience of children but has an underlying message that we should not all want our way because it just may not be the best way. It’s always best to pray for God’s will rather than ours. The closer we are to God, the more our will is going to match up to God’s will. It was a little unusual for a insect and a human to have a romantic relationship. Other than that, I think it was a great movie and definitely recommend the movie to everyone!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Cherlyn Varnes, age 38
Positive—My seven year old daughter and I enjoyed the movie. It was very fresh and had a good moral overall. The jokes were corny but cute. It gave a view on how bees are really needed in our world so it was educational in that regards. I disliked the reference to suicide and several sexual inuendos. The movie would have been fine with out it. When all of the flowers die due to the lack of pollination Barry and his human girl friend said they needed to make a suicide pack. Also mentioned in the movie was making out. There was a few more suggestive sexual comments that might make your seven year old ask, “What does that mean.” Overall, I would recommend the movie.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Gina Rider, age 39
Positive—Cute, mostly clean fun with a relevant and timely lesson about the value of honey bees. Very enjoyable with some slapstick and enough action to keep everyone entertained. Some mild adult humor caused the PG-rating, and unfortunately because of the PG-rating we were forced to sit thru a truly awful preview of “The Golden Compass” which seems to be occultish and had several younger children crying before the preview was over—so go late, miss the PG previews and enjoy the “BEE Movie”!! Overall, the Bee Movie was very enjoyable and entertaining without being offensive biblically. Good work ethic message that shows the value of even the most menial job and discusses how bees all work together to make the community, and world, thrive.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Pat, age 47
Positive—The movie shows how God created every thing for a reason, and every thing has a purpose. He created the bees to pollinate the flowers and plants, and without them we would eventually die off. God’s creation is awsome.
My Ratings: Good / 3
—Lou, age 33
Positive—This movie was a great time, I laughed out loud many times. My 7 year old son enjoyed it. I enjoyed Jerry Seinfeld as the main character; it was like seeing a 80-minute Seinfeld stand-up comedy routine. The premise is, of course, absurd, and I took it as more a cynical satire of PETA then as propaganda for them, if it was intended to foster a save the insects movement that makes it even funnier, considering how absurd that would Bee. Great movie to take everybody to for a laugh out loud good clean fun time. God Bless
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Joe Granitelli, age 53
Positive—This movie was hilarious! It was the best animated movieof 2007 hands down. See it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sam, age 11
Neutral—This movie is incredibly well made. Although, my 9 and 10 year old girls did not like the movie and storyline as much as I did! haha!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Shane Dodson, age 32
Neutral
Neutral—I saw this with my husband and two adult friends. We were looking for a clean movie and thought the Bee Movie might be cute. That’s what it was, “cute.” I had to fight to stay awake during most of it, and found that I laughed only 2 or 3 times during the entire movie. Save your money and rent the video. I was disappointed. It was quite clean (a few little things but they would go right over a child’s head), but lacked the humor and wit that I expected. Just ho hum.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—L J, age 45
Neutral—First, let me say that my family and I are God-fearing devout Christians, as well as animal rights activists/vegetarians. Contrary to the opinion of many, there is no need to choose one or the other. It is entirely possibly to love God, value humans as created in God’s image, and also care about the suffering of those “lower on the food chain.” For us, it makes little sense to be Christian and NOT CARE about all of God’s creatures, big and small.

That said, we liked certain points in the movie and disliked others. The initial presentation of the somewhat seeming “PETA agenda,” as mentioned by another reviewer, appealed to my family and me. NOTE: My husband and 3 kids (ages 11-13) are all very happy, healthy vegetarians who truly love animals, and so we were actually quite sad that in the end, the movie flipped the message, as if to say, “Yes, we steal the bee’s honey, and yes, bees have to suffer for us to enjoy their honey, but if we didn’t steal their honey and make them work so hard, they would all get lazy, stop pollinating, and then all the plants, animals, and people in the world would suddenly become extinct, all because we silly liberal tree-hugging hippie humans, in our naivete, decided to be nice to the bees.” Come on! Clearly, that would not be the case! My kids are smart enough to know this, but other children may not be. I found this message a bit disturbing.

However, despite the disappointing twist at the end, I found the movie to be mostly cute, visually stimulating, and quite entertaining. There were some social/political commentary and sexual innuendos not suitable for young children, but I think most comments would go over the heads of very young children, and most older kids (like mine) who have good values, but aren’t overly-sheltered, can dismiss the comments as silly and rather harmless jokes.

Aside from the plot twist at the end, I really liked the movie, and I’m glad, at least, that it stressed the point that we should value bees (and other creatures) for their contributions to our modern way of life. It’s good to give thanks for the sacrifices animals make every day in order for us to live the way we do. It’s also wonderful to marvel at the awesome way in which all of God’s creatures are so interconnected and interdependent on one another for their very survival. Nature is a wondrous and splendid thing indeed!
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Mia Wheaton, age 30
Comments from young people
Positive—This is a great movie to see. It has no cuss words or any sex or kissing in it like a lot of movies. You can take kids from age 3 to senior citizens. I recommend it, but some of it was weird in the middle of the movie like when the big man was in a baby seat and rolling around in court. Overall, it is a fantastic movie, and yes I am Christian. Usally my dad won’t let us see a lot of movies, just by comments people post on this Web site, and my dad approves, big time.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Sydney, age 12
Positive—This was a great movie. I don’t know why so many people hate it. It taught sevreal good lessons. 1. It taught that if a society is to be successful EVERYONE needs to work together. 2. It taught everyone has feelings. 3. It taught teamwork. 4. It teaches that if one single person in the comunity is to lazy things will fall appart. 5. It teaches that every single living thing has a purpose. So as you see this is a great movie that everone should see. It was not boring for either my parents who are 50 and both Seinfield fans. I think you will find it a lot more funny if you are big fans of Seinfield.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—C., age 12
Negative—The bee movie was horrible! I went to see it with my younger sister and cousin, and I was shocked with what they put in the movie. The joke on Larry King Live “Bee Jesus” turned me off completely. The whole idea of a bee and a woman going out was sketchy, too. The sexual reference with “bed bug” was completely unneccesary. It also seemed to take the form of aan environmentalist movie or something. Movie could have been much better with a better storyline and better lines.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Zingroff Semaj, age 15
Positive—Funny! Funny! …Larry King as Bee Larry King! Hilarious! I went with my dad to see it, and it was soooooooooo funny! I love this film! It is a must-see!!!…
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Nathan Thomas, age 13
Negative—Okay, I had high expectations when entering the theatre to view this film with two siblings, yet I left with much dissapointment. Hollywood seems to (quite) often mistake childrens movies with adult movies. I was shocked that there was many comments about the bee and female florist growing more and more’intimate'. True, compared to friends I am sensitive about this issue, but being a Christian, I feel it is important to be not “of the world.” I felt that this movie was badly done.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Mellissa, age 15
Neutral—This is a good movie, the first one I’ve seen this year that has no sexual content. I think it’s a good kids movie, though slightly cheesy but not enough to really notice. At least it’s no Seinfeld. Any movie with sexual content makes me shiver a little.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ivy, age 13
Positive—I thought this was a very funny movie. It was clever and thought provoking. Although I don’t think all beekeepers are as evil as the movie portrayed them!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Katie Hervey, age 16
Positive—This was such a cute movie. I love animated movies like Open Season, Over The Hedge, Ratatouielle… etc. I expected this movie to be not as good just based on the previews, but it was really good. It’s about this bee that breaks the law of not talking to humans. Him and this human then become friends and he discovers that humans have been taking the bee’s honey and goes to court over the issue of humans stealing the bees’ honey. Then when he wins and human’s stop taking the honey, he realizes that the bees don’t have to work so hard since they don’t need to make as much honey and then flowers die and everything goes wrong and he has to save the day. I’d recommend this movie for anyone who likes computer animated films.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ashley, age 15
Positive—Wow. It is really suprising how sensitive people are. Really. “Bee movie” is the polar opposite of offensive. It’s my 2 year old sister’s favourite movie. My mom and dad are christians,and they don’t have a single problem with it. Vanessa and Barry don’t date, they’re just good friends. There’s no violence,no sexual content,and no profanities.I really think that Bee movie is a film every one will enjoy!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Lili, age 11 (Canada)