It is rare to consider nostalgia as a tool to deploy on films that may have fallen out of favour with generations older than ours. Rarer still it may be to actively fight against it, hence why there is currently a cult of Robots fans defending that Ewan McGregor masterclass to their dying breath. With that, though, the Blue Sky Studios feature is deserving of its acclaim. Sharp writing, an ensemble like no other and sleek animation, it is everything Dreamworks could not provide with Shark Tale, a feature that relies on the popstar variety that plagued early-2000s comedies. From David Bowie appearing in Zoolander to Britney Spears in Austin Powers: Goldmember, the cameo construct was inescapable. To place rap artist and actor Will Smith at the heart of this made sense, but there are hopes buried deep that it did not.
Albert Camus once said: “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” My mind, ravaged by alcohol and deprived of rest, associated this quote with the rise, fall, and second coming of Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld). Bee Movie follows Benson’s struggle as he simply tries to fit in. He is teased by the outer world of the hive and what it has to offer. You could say he is not “beeing” the ideal bee. Bee Movie is now a great meme machine and a culturally notorious piece for a generation, not through quality, but because of character and heart. It is difficult to evaluate the true merits of innovation and craftsmanship here. Everyone is quick to mock a 150 million dollar movie until they realise that’s the budget for Bee Movie, a movie about bees reclaiming their rights and their honey.
The comedy genre is one of the few strands of film that ages dreadfully. One little slip up, cultural appropriation or timely nod to a no longer relevant media personality and you’ve nearly crushed the entire build-up of the film. Some are rather timeless, like Chuck Norris’ brief cameo in Dodgeball, or Adam Sandler’s little role in Dirty Work. Nothing kills the pace of a film quite like a comedy that feels very much a product of its time. It can’t be all that bad though, especially since Me, Myself and Irene cements itself into the “Jim Carrey is a zany fun lover” brand of moviegoing. I couldn’t imagine a worse time if I’d tried.