Trapped in Seinfeld's nightmare
The first ten minutes was actually rather enjoyable as the Bee World was rolled out. The animation looks good. The bees were represented in a mildly amusing, satiric, anthropomorphic way but at least a coherent picture was forming.
All logic flies out the window once the main character, Seinfeld's Barry B. Benson, leaves the hive. He flies around New York City and falls for a human woman. See, it turns out that bees could always speak English but were forbidden from doing so. Barry crosses the line to speak with humans, the story loses its way.
The interactions between the bees and humans are not funny or enjoyable. I am not sure who this movie is really aimed at. I laughed a grand total of four times in the movie and my 8-year-old was puzzled by most of the pop-culture references. How many kids know who Ray Liotta is? How many adults think it's funny that he shows up as an arrogant actor-honeymaker with an anger management problem?
Barry B. Benson finds out that humans are taking the bees' honey, and sues humans in a protracted court case. Barry's discovery of the humans' treatment of bees felt like a nightmarish tour through Seinfeld's id. It was truly weird, with some scary random violence (Barry's human girlfriend dies in a fiery glider crash in a "dream" sequence), and strange allusions that made me think of the Holocaust, 9/11 terrorism, slavery, and the downside of Native American Casinos. Barry argues his case, wins, and almost causes the end of the world. Oops.
Am I crazy, or is Seinfeld? Hopefully not me. I can report with confidence that as far as the movie goes, it is not funny, it has little heart, and the story arc makes no sense. I really felt like the people who came up with the bizarre plot either did not understand kids or did not like them. Seinfeld himself basically said that he thought of the idea of a movie called Bee Movie and immediately got a green light without really knowing how to fill out the story. It shows. Seinfeld is a talented comedian but this effort to make a family film did not translate in the least.
This movie will make a lot of money but don't let that suck you in. After Shrek the Third it was clear that Dreamworks was going downhill fast, and Bee Movie is Dreamworks's storytelling at its laziest.