BEE MOVIE ($37) is a very cute and rather funny computer animated film that features the talents of Jerry Seinfeld. In BEE MOVIE, Jerry Seinfeld takes on the role of Barry B. Benson, a young, recently graduated bee looking for his place in the hive. However, the thought of picking a single job that he will have to face for the rest his life leaves Barry wary of the process, and longing to see the world outside the hive. Fortunately, Barry gets his opportunity to see the outside world, when he goes on a fly along with the superstars of the hive- namely the pollen jocks.
Of course, Barry becomes separated from the pollen jocks and encounters a human woman named Vanessa (Renee Zellweger), who saves him from being swatted by her boyfriend Ken (Patrick Warburton). A relationship blossoms between Barry and Vanessa, but it becomes sidetracked when Barry discovers that the human race has been stealing the honey that bees work so hard to produce. This leads Barry off on a wild legal tangent, where he sues the human race for their theft of the fruits of the bee’s labor. Courtroom capers feature a blustering John Goodman, as well as a hilarious self-parody from Ray Liotta. BEE MOVIE also features the wonderful vocal talents of Matthew Broderick, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, Barry Levinson, Larry King, Sting, Oprah Winfrey, Larry Miller, Megan Mullally, Rip Torn and Michael Richards.
Dreamworks Home Entertainment has made BEE MOVIE available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Visually, BEE MOVIE is a delightful looking film, both bright and colorful, but Pixar is still king of this territory. Image clarity and detail are pretty much first rate for this type of standard definition release of a computer animated film. Colors are deeply saturated and beautiful to look at. Blacks are pure, the whites are crisp and the contrast is wonderfully smooth. Digital compression artifacts are never a concern.
BEE MOVIE comes with a high quality Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The sound design does make good use of the outlying channels, although by the nature of the storyline, much of BEE MOVIE is dialogue driven. Still, the flying sequences are well rendered and very engaging. Fidelity is top of the line; with the music having a great sense of presence and sound effects being relatively convincing. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. The bass channel keeps everything well grounded. A French 5.1, plus English and Spanish 2.0 channel tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread across both discs of this set. Disc one starts with a running Audio Commentary with actor/co-writer/producer Jerry Seinfeld, plus directors Simon J. Smith & Steve Hickner, producer Christina Steinberg, editor Nick Fletcher and co-writer Barry Marder. Next there are three Lost Scenes, six Alternate Endings, which are presented in rough form. Inside The Hive: The Cast Of Bee Movie is a fourteen-minute look at the faces behind the animated characters. Also included on disc one are fifteen TV Juniors (short skit/promos), two Trailers and Jerry’s Flight Over Cannes (Jerry in a bee suit). Previews for other Dreamworks/Paramount titles close out disc one.
Moving on to disc two, one will find the remainder of the supplemental programming. The Tech Of Bee Movie is a seven-minute interview based program. Meet Barry B. Benson is an interactive Q&A session. The Buzz About Bees is a seven-minute look at actual bees, while The Ow! Meter looks at getting or not getting stung. That’s Un-BEE-lievable! offers bee trivia. Pollination Practice and Be A Bee are games. A Music Video for We Got The Bee and Dreamworks Animation Jukebox close out disc two’s supplements.
As I stated above BEE MOVIE is a cute and funny computer animated film. Dreamworks DVD looks and sounds very great. If you are a Jerry fan, you’ll definitely want to check it out.
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