Bee Movie

Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie (2007) is quite watchable, although a strange choice of project to follow up Seinfeld with. The character and set design is fun, and the storyline less predictable than most animated kids movies. The only thing I didn’t like was the running joke about being “Beeish”. Once you think of the bees as being Jewish it adds an unpleasant subtext to them being gassed and having all their honey stolen. Still, true satire has many levels, so what do I know?

After watching quite a lot of popular computer-animated movies at once it’s interesting to see what the different studios are specializing in. Pixar would appear to have it all: great, pioneering design which advances the art form every time, carefully constructed stories which have been honed without becoming bland, and films which resonate with the joy of digital artists doing what they obviously love. Probably the only thing that could go wrong for them would be the loss of their talented founders, or mismanagement by Disney in the pursuit of more money. This might be inevitable.

Dreamworks have made some nifty films with reasonable stylistic variety (Bee Movie, MadagascarKung Fu Panda), but the decreasing quality of the Shrek series shows what happens when money becomes the motivating factor behind a film’s creation*. Sony Animation’s films look cheaper (Open Season, Surf’s Up) and in this genre that counts against them. They haven’t established an all-conquering franchise like the others, but because their animation is clunkier, it’s useful to study!

*The teaser trailer for Shrek 4 reveals nothing about the plot of the film, choosing to showcase its 3D sequences instead, which just looks dumb in 2D, like an ad for a video game.

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