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Bee Movie is a CGI-animated film starring Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, and Patrick Warburton. Produced by DreamWorks Animation, it is directed by Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner.

Bee Movie is the first motion-picture script to be written by Seinfeld, who co-wrote it with Spike Feresten, Barry Marder, and Andy Robin. The film was produced by Jerry Seinfeld, Christina Steinberg and Cameron Stevning. The production was designed by Alex McDowell, and Christophe Lautrette was the art director. Nick Fletcher was the supervising editor and music for the film was composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams.

The cast and crew include some veterans of Seinfeld's long-running NBC sitcom Seinfeld, including writer/producers Feresten and Robin, and actors Michael Richards (Seinfeld character Cosmo Kramer), Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld character David Puddy), and Larry Miller (who plays the title character on the Seinfeld episode "The Doorman").

Plot

Barry B. Benson is "just an ordinary bee" in a hive located in Sheep's Meadow in Central Parkmarker in New York Citymarker. Barry recently graduated from college and is about to enter the hive's Honex Industries (a division of Honesco Corporation and owned by Hexagon Group) honey-making workforce. Along with his best friend Adam Flayman (voiced by Matthew Broderick) Barry is initially very excited, but his latent, non-conformist attitude emerges upon finding out that his choice of job will never change once picked. This prompts Barry to leave the hive and see the world on a daily run with the macho, elite "Pollen Jocks", though Adam tries to talk Barry out of it. He thoroughly enjoys his new freedom, and is impressed by the process of nectar collection and pollination, but after being stuck to a tennis ball during a game and flying through a panicky family's car he decides humans are crazy and that he should go home. Unfortunately, it begins to rain and he crash lands on a windowsill. The apartment's occupants have just come home and they close the window before Barry can escape. After freaking out the people inside and nearly being squashed, he is rescued by a female human named Vanessa Bloome and gently put back outside. This unexpected act of kindness intrigues Barry, who goes back in to thank the woman even though doing so would violate Bee Law #1 - "Don't talk to humans". Despite both of their expectations they develop an instant bond - bordering on attraction - and start hanging out together frequently. Of course all of their friends and family are completely upset by this relationship.

While they are going through a grocery store Barry is shocked to discover that the humans have been stealing and eating the bees' honey for centuries, and after venturing to Honey Farms and witnessing the artificial process by which the honey is gathered, he ultimately realizes that his true calling in life is to set the world right by suing the human race for stealing their precious honey. This is later shown on Bee Larry King via Hive at Five. The trial initially goes well, until the main defense lawyer goads Adam into stinging him by accusing Barry of several things which are insultuous to the bees (having a pet-like relationship with Vanessa, being an ilegitimate son, since all bees are sons of the queen bee and having incestuous flirtings with the female bees, since all bees are siblings) in order to show the less lovable side of bees, but Barry counters by producing the smoke-machine used by Honey Farms to drug and subdue their bees.

Barry wins the lawsuit, and all honey in the world is confiscated and returned to the bees. However, the defense lawyer warns them they are disrupting nature's balance, which Adam comments to Vanessa that it might be true since bees had been living their previous lives over 27 million years. Too late, Barry and Vanessa realize that they were right: the sudden, massive stockpile of honey has put every bee out of a job, including the vitally important Pollen Jocks. Without bees pollinating the flowers, all plant life begins dying with the entire food chain close behind. To set things right, he and Vanessa find a way to save all the flowers by going to the Tournament of Roses Parade in California and bringing back with them all the pollen-filled flowers to re-pollinate the world. Barry and Vanessa fly the flowers as luggage on a flight from Los Angeles International Airportmarker to John F. Kennedy International Airportmarker. The flight begins to take a detour which would be fatal to the flowers, and in trying to intervene Barry accidentally knocks out the terrified pilots. Vanessa joins him and tries unsuccessfully to fly the plane, but in the meantime millions of bees have rallied together and arrive at the last minute to help them safely land.

Armed with the pollen of the last flowers, Barry and the Pollen Jocks manage to reverse the damage and save the world's flowers, also restarting the bees' beloved honey production. Nothing is mentioned about the fate of the existing honey or companies like Honey Farms, though humans and bees are seen treating each other visibly better. Barry becomes a member of the Pollen Jocks, helping to pollinate the plants while also running a law firm inside Vanessa's flower shop, as well as helping Vanessa, switching the name from "Vanessa's Flowers" to "Vanessa and Barry: Flowers; Honey; Legal Advice". As the film closes, his office door reads "Insects at Law." Mooseblood also works in his office with him, shown when Barry is interviewing a cow.

Cast



Megan Mullally was originally voicing the Queen of the Hive and had even recorded her lines, yet due to film cuts, her character was cut. Jerry Seinfeld still wanted her to have a part in the movie, so he gave her the role of the Honex Tour Guide. At one point, Uma Thurman, Rebecca Soler, Lisa Kudrow, and Raven Symone were all attached, yet they dropped out for various reasons.

Cultural references

The movie contains several references to film classics. For instance, the scene in which Barry is floating in a pool of honey, while his parents ask him what his plans for the future are, is a direct reference to The Graduate in which Dustin Hoffman in a swimming pool faces the same questions from his parents. A scene where Barry is trying to chase a honey truck has Barry mimicking movements of Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark. When Ray Liotta is at the stand in court, Barry says, "This isn't a good fella. This is a bad fella!", referring to Liotta's role in Goodfellas. In the courtroom Mr. Montgomery is reading The Secret Life of Bees. Winnie-the-Pooh can be seen with Piglet as Pooh is tranquilized and his honey (spelled "Hunny") is confiscated. When Barry questions the owner of Honey Farms (the honey company in the movie), it appears that the owner also owns the fictitious companies "Honeyburton" and "Honron". which parodies Halliburton and Enron. Vincent The Bear of Over the Hedge made a cameo but with no voice. It also contains a reference to George Lucas' company THX. Sting makes a cameo appearance- he is accused of "casually stealing bee culture"- referring to his stage name "Sting", and is also noted that he isn't a policeman, either. When it is time to shut down honey production, the plant supervisor instructs one of his underlings with the statement "Turn your key sir!" - this is reference to "Sir, we are at launch, turn your key! Turn your key, sir!" from the movie WarGames (coincidentally Matthew Broderick who plays Adam Flayman portrays David Lightman in Wargames).

The part where the bees overthrow the bear honey bottle is a reference to the destruction of the large Sadaam Hussein staue in Iraq. The scene where Barry and Vanessa continually slap each other and repeatedly state "Snap out of it", bears a striking similarity to an episode of The Adventures of Lano and Woodley "Tonight you die" where Australian comedians Colin Lane and Frank Woodley do exactly the same thing. Near the end of the film, a flight controller in the JFK Airport control tower exclaims he is "kuckoo-ka-choo", in response to the aircraft oddly hovering above ground. Barry's parents are watching BeeNN, a direct parody of CNN.

There is a scene where there is a reporter named Bee Larry King, who is obviously a parody of Larry King. When he interviews Barry, Barry mentions that there is human who's just like him, having the bright dots in the background too, referring to Larry King and his show, Larry King Live. Larry King actually voice acts Bee Larry King.

In the beginning of the film, Barry is asked to sign a waiver before flying out with the "Pollen Jocks". Barry signs with his left hand. Jerry Seinfeld is actually left-handed.

Soundtrack



Marketing

Trailers

Two teaser trailers were released for the film that feature Seinfeld dressed in a bee costume, attempting to shoot the film in live-action. Eddie Izzard portrays the director, and Steven Spielberg suggests to Seinfeld in the second trailer to just do it as a cartoon. Upon the release of the first trailer, it was announced that three of the live-action teasers would be released in total.

In the second trailer, Steven Spielberg is taking a picture of himself and a pretty female Assistant Director, referencing the camera gag Ellen DeGeneres pulled on him during the 79th Academy Awards. Also in the second trailer, the bear that jumps out at Barry is Vincent the Bear from Over the Hedge, another DreamWorksmarker movie.

The third trailer was released with Shrek the Third, but this was an animated teaser. The fourth trailer was released on the Bee Movie official website, and revealed most of the film's plot.

In addition, two weeks before the release, NBC aired 22 behind-the-scenes skits called "Bee Movie TV Juniors," all of which are staged and tongue-in-cheek in nature.

The popular internet site Gaia Online featured a great deal of promotional material for the film.

Books

  • Bee Movie: The Story Book ISBN = Paperback: 0061251798, Hardcover: 978-0061251795
  • Bee Movie: The Honey Disaster ISBN = Paperback: 0061251666, Hardcover: 978-0061251665
  • The Art of Bee ISBN = Paperback: 0811859517, Hardcover: 978-0811859516
  • Bee Movie: Deluxe Sound Storybook ISBN = Paperback: 0696233843, Hardcover: 978-0696233845
  • Bee Movie (Ultimate Sticker Books) ISBN = Paperback: 0756632145, Hardcover: 978-0756632144
  • Bee Movie (I Can Find It) ISBN = Paperback: 0696233851, Hardcover: 978-0696233852
  • Bee Movie: The Junior Novel ISBN = Paperback: 006125178X, Hardcover: 978-0061251788
  • Bee Movie: What’s the Buzz? ISBN = Paperback: 0061251771, Hardcover: 978-0061251771
  • Bee Movie Mad Libs ISBN = Paperback: 0843126752, Hardcover: 978-0843126754
  • Bee Movie: Bee Meets Girl ISBN = Paperback: 0061251747, Hardcover: 978-0061251740


Home media release

Bee Movie was released on DVD on March 11, 2008 in both Fullscreen and Widescreen formats and a 2 Disc Special Edition DVD. The single-disc extras include Inside The Hive: The Cast of Bee Movie featurette, Tech of Bee Movie featurette, "We Got The Bee" Music Video, Meet Barry B. Benson feature, interactive games, and more. The special edition DVD Extras will include all that, along with a filmmaker commentary, alternate endings, lost scenes with commentary, the live action trailers, and Jerry's Flight Over Cannes. HD DVD version was cancelled after the demise of HD DVD. Paramount released the movie on Blu-ray Disc on 20 May 2008.

Reception

Critical reception

Critical response was mixed, with 53% on Rotten Tomatoes and 54/100 on Metacritic. In a lackluster review, People magazine said, "Much of Bee is gently funny, the vocal performances are distinctive and the digital animation glistens, but in the end the characters and story lack — wait for it—sting."

Bee Movie was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 65th Golden Globe Awards.

Barry B. Benson was the announcer for Best Animated Short on the Oscars for 2008. But beforehand, he showed the audience some of his "prior" roles, including every bee in the swarm in The Swarm.

Box office

The film opened at #2 with a weekend gross of $38,021,044, behind only American Gangster. On its second week, it surpassed American Gangster with a $25,565,462 weekend gross appearing as #1. As of July 6, 2008, it has grossed $126,631,277 in the USA and $160,449,285 overseas for a worldwide total of $287,080,562.

Awards and nominations







Lawsuits

Beebylon vs. DreamWorks

Bee Movie is alleged to be similar to a concept developed in 2000 by a team of Swedish animation students, which they claim was presented to DreamWorks in 2001 under the name "Beebylon". The animation students say DreamWorks rejected the idea, on the basis of it being "too childish." When Bee Movie was announced in 2003, the students claim they once again contacted DreamWorks to make sure the movie was not similar to their original concept, and was given a reassuring answer. When one of the members of the "Beebylon" team saw a trailer of the movie in 2007, he found it to be extremely similar and attempted to find a U.S. lawyer who could represent them.

Jerry Seinfeld rejected the plagiarism claims during his PR tour for Bee Movie in Sweden. "I'm doing my best not to laugh and I'm taking it as serious as I can. But it's a little bit hard. It is entirely possible that somebody else came up with an idea about making a movie about bees. I knew nothing of this until this very morning and I hope they are not too upset."

Beeceuticals vs. DreamWorks

A Florida based cosmetics company called Beeceuticals has filed a lawsuit over the use of their trademarked phrase "Give Bees a Chance". However, the suit between the parties was settled out of court.

References

  1. Forum :: Main Index | Gaia Online
  2. Paramount Cancels Majority of HD DVD Slate (UPDATED) | High-Def Digest
  3. Paramount officially rejoins the Blu-ray camp on May 20th - Engadget HD
  4. Rozen, Leah (2007-11-12), "Bee Movie". People, 68 (20):42
  5. Translated from Swedish (original quote not given): "Jag försöker att inte skratta och tar det så allvarligt jag kan. Men det är lite svårt. Det är fullt möjligt att någon annan kommit på en idé att göra en film om bin. Jag visste inget om detta imorse och hoppas att de inte är alltför upprörda. De borde försöka göra en egen film." Seinfelds skämt blev film (Swedish)
  6. Seinfeld förnekar plagiat av filmidé (Swedish)
  7. Har Stephen Spielberg stulit en svensk filmidé? (Swedish)
  8. Svenskar anklagar Spielberg för stöld (Swedish)
  9. Henrik anklagar Spielberg för stöld (Swedish)
  10. Seinfeld ler av svensk søksmål (Norwegian)
  11. 'Bee Movie' Makers Sued Over Use Of Slogan - Entertainment News Story - WRTV Indianapolis
  12. “Bee Movie” Hit With Not-So-Sweet Lawsuit // Archives // ecorazzi.com :: the latest in green gossip
  13. Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Settle `Bee Movie' Slogan Suit Retrieved Sept 20, 2008


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