I’ve mentioned this before; movie companies should pay me a lot of money to review their movies because I love most of ‘em. When my buddy BC and I used to review movies for our University paper, we couldn’t write a bad review if our jobs were on the line (which, of course, they always were, and which also, of course, is why we were asked to stop writing reviews for the paper — “You’re fired,” I believe, were their exact words).
Yet, before we headed out for a surprise trip to the movies with the three little VWs, I had to do a search for the movie and check out the reviews (I was curious, too, about the PG rating).
Every review I read was harsh, and nearly every one of them compared Seinfeld to the comedy shtick he would do on his series a decade ago.
I was sucked into this attitude, unfortunately, and when the movie started, I was looking at the lead bee, voiced by Jerry Seinfeld, as the guy who ran a sitcom about nothing for nearly a decade. I was disappointed. It wasn’t George’s buddy in the black and gold costume. I, like everybody else–for some reason–wanted it to be.
Then I stopped. I realized that wasn’t fair. Fair to Seinfeld, fair to the movie, even fair to me. I don’t get out much anymore to see movies, and so when I do get the chance to see anything–even a movie made primarily for kids (let’s not forget that little fact, folks–this one was for the kids; the PG rating was given for a short scene where two adults were smoking…that’s about it), I don’t want to spend the time thinking critically how bad it might be. All I want to do is enjoy myself.
And that’s just what I did. I let go of Jerry the sitcom king and enjoyed Bee Movie for what it was: an entertaining, visually stunning movie made for a younger audience, with a nice run of subtle jokes that the moms and dads could appreciate as well. It was never Jerry’s intention to do an encore episode; to assume so only cheats you out of a pretty fun experience.
Now, there were some agendas that seemed to be running under the conflict (these, of course, went completely over the younger heads in the auditorium, but that’s nothing new. Try watching some of the Merrie Melodies that we enjoyed so many years ago. When we were kids, we just laughed and laughed and laughed till tears filled our eyes. We never thought about possible allusions to issues concerning racial tensions, international conflicts, or even the threat of nuclear war. We just laughed.
Any commentaries on white guilt, slavery, and cultural diversity that might have been apparent to us in the seats (if they were even intended in the first place) are there for us to do with them as we wish. They weren’t the focal point of the movie, they didn’t disrupt the flow at all, and they didn’t affect the overall quality of the final product. They certainly were invisible to my three children. So what’s the big deal? Writers (including the likes of Dr. Seuss and C.S. Lewis) used writing as a soapbox all the time. Why should directors be held to a different standard?
That’s why I give Bee Movie an A. Forget about the sitcom that’s been off the air for a decade. Think only about a bunch of bees who fight for what they believe is right.
And sometimes, even when you think you are doing the right thing, it’s hard to remember that it’s not always about winning the battle; it’s about understanding the complexities and the effects that are put into action when we fight those battles.
For this movie, leave your battles at home and just go and enjoy the 90 minutes of BEEautiful cinematography, good-natured fun, and humorous dialogue. You won’t be disappointed.