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Movie Review: Bee Movie

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Author/Source: Brett Richmond

Topic: Movie Review

A review of Bee Movie including a description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>Bee Movie</i>

Overview

Imagine if the society that bees operate in was a mirror of our own, just with everything "beeish". Bee Movie begins with Barry Benson (voiced by Jerry Seinfeld) getting ready for his Bee College graduation. Berry then discovers that the job he chooses at Honex will be his job forever. Dissatisfied with the prospect of being stuck in the same job for the rest of his life Barry ventures outside of the Hive where he explores the outside world.


WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Click to skip spoilers

Barry's out flying, something by aeronautical standards he's not supposed to be able to do, when a rainstorm begins. In his search for shelter Barry flies, or more accurately crashes, into the apartment of Vanessa (voiced by Renee Zellweger), a florist, and finds himself in the guacamole dip where he's scooped up and is about to be eaten. Vanessa ends up saving Barry from certain doom and releases him back outside the window he came through.

As a bee, Barry has one major law that he's not supposed to break: never talk to humans. Barry's overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude towards Vanessa for saving him that he breaks the cardinal rule and talks with Vanessa, which becomes the beginning of their friendship. The friendship blooms into a kind of infatuation between Vanessa and Barry, which leads into some relational conflicts between Barry and Vanessa's current human boyfriend, Ken.

In his adventures outside of the hive, Barry discovers that the human world has tapped into the bee's greatest resource, honey. Seeing it sold in stores and then discovering a honey farm where bees are routinely "smoked" to harvest their honey production. Appalled at the working conditions at the farm, Barry sets out to sue the human race to give bees equal rights, to halt the production of honey, and to eliminate all negative or harmful bee references or likenesses. Winning the case, the bees take sole position of all the honey in the world and strip the musical artist Sting of his stage name. With more honey than they can ever produce, the bees stop working. They stop producing honey, they stop collecting nectar, which means they are no longer helping to pollinate the flowers, trees, and shrubs resulting in a worldwide shortage of foliage.

The sudden absence of flowers begins to take its toll on the relationship between Vanessa and Barry. Vanessa is forced to close up her flower shop and tries to leave Barry behind as she goes to visit the final Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Faced with the extinction of all plant life on earth, Vanessa and Barry seek to bring back a float full of flowers so the bees can begin to re-pollinate the earth.

END OF SPOILERS


Concerns

Like many modern animated films, the plot and dialogue are targeted to both children and adults. While there is some adult themed dialogue and imagery that might be perceived as mildly offensive, the humor is vintage Seinfeld and is considerably less obnoxious and "in your face" than the Shrek films.

The relationship between Barry (a bee) and Vanessa (a human) is somewhat odd. It might be harder to explain to a child. Although the attraction between the two is based on their character and personality rather than a physical attraction.

Overall, Bee Movie is one of the more "safe" films that have been released and marketed to families in the past several years.


Teachable Themes

  • The Work of Every Bee Matters / Serving is What You Were Made For
    By far the most obvious teachable theme is that the work of every bee is important. In the hive, every bee's contribution to the hive is valued; there isn't one job that's more important than another. The scenes within the hive contain multiple clips that could easily and obviously be used to illustrate the truth that every gift in the body of Christ is important. When the bees stop doing their jobs the collective hive begins to lose its purpose and effectiveness.

  • Taking Care of God's Creation
    While the movie doesn't seem to have an obvious "environmental agenda," the message of treating bees right and the importance of the bees in nature are clearly evident. The usefulness of the bees in nature and the common "kill it" mentality of the humans in the film are well contrasted. The film depicts the interdependence of God's creation well. Without the bees to pollinate the flowers, the flowers end up dying out. Additionally in a very subtle way, the film helps to communicate the importance of not just humans in taking care of creation, but also the benefit of creation to the human race.

Biblical References

  • The Work of Every Bee Matters / Serving is What You Were Made For:
    • Romans 12:4-8 - "Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." (NLT)

    • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 - "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." (NIV)

    • Colossians 3:14-15 - "Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful." (NIV)

  • Taking Care of God's Creation:
    • Matthew 10:29 - "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." (NIV)

    • Genesis 1:28-29 - "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." (NIV)

Discussion Questions

  • The Work of Every Bee Matters / Serving is What You Were Made For:
    1. What does it mean to be a part of a body? Family? Church? Community?
    2. What gifts or talents has God given you to serve others?
    3. What would happen if you were a bee and all the "Pollen Jocks" decided to stop working? What about in your community, what would happen if all the police, firefighters, teachers, or store clerks decided not to work anymore?

  • Taking Care of God's Creation:
    1. According to Matthew 10:29, does God care about all of his creation? Do you care about all of creation?
    2. What do you think it means to "rule" over God's creation?
    3. Do you think that God created all of creation to be interdependent (to depend on one another)? Why do you believe this?

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