Bee Movie (2007)

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Released 1-Apr-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Audio Commentary
Featurette-Multiple
Trivia
Music Video
Game-Multiple
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 86:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (41:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Steve Hickner
Simon J. Smith
Studio
Distributor
Dreamworks
Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Jerry Seinfeld
Renée Zellweger
Matthew Broderick
Patrick Warburton
John Goodman
Chris Rock
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Rupert Gregson-Williams
Nick Fletcher
Leslee Feldman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Jerry Seinfeld has been pretty quiet since his incredibly successful TV series finished in 1998 unless you count the endless repeats and DVD releases.This animated kids movie represents his first major television or movie project since then and despite not being a big fan of his show myself, I found this movie very enjoyable indeed, as did my young boys, both at the cinema and again now on DVD. As Jerry says in the extras he doesn't like to go too far away from himself in terms of character, and accordingly the main character (voiced by Seinfeld) uses a lot of distinctive 'Seinfeldly' behaviour and dialogue.

    Bee Movie follows the story of a young bee, Barry B. Benson who has just graduated from his three days of college and now must select the job that he will hold until he dies. Unhappy with this direction he rebels and joins the 'pollen jocks' on a mission to find pollen and nectar which results in him cruising over Central Park in New York, getting intimately involved in a tennis game and meeting a young woman, Vanessa Bloom (voiced by Renee Zellweger) with whom he starts a relationship. He does this by breaking the golden bee rule 'Don't talk to humans', after she saves his life, which had been threatened by her dim-bulb boyfriend, Ken (voiced by the marvellous Patrick Warburton). Of course, his actions meet much resistance and derision from his best friend, Adam (voiced by Matthew Broderick) and his parents (voiced by Kathy Bates & Barry Levinson) who are much more straight-laced bees than he is. This rebellion finds a direction when he realises that humans are exploiting bees for their honey. He decides to take legal action against the human race.

    This is one of the better animated films of the last year with fun characters, good dialogue, excellent animation and high quality voice work. Whilst it does not come up to the high quality of the best of the genre (such as Horton Hears A Who) it is certainly one to recommend. It has a interesting premise (even if it seems at first look too close to films like Antz or A Bug's Life), a fun and comedic approach and lots of quality one-liners for the adults. The animation is spectacular with lots of incredible detail, stunning fast motion during scenes such as the flight over Central Park and some very impressive rain. Also, it is fast paced and certainly doesn't outstay it's welcome at only 86 minutes (including credits). The message, which points out Bees place within the world's ecology, is well pointed out without being preachy.

    In summary, this is a high quality kids movie with more than enough to keep the adults amused.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent, about as good as you could expect from Standard Definition.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The picture was wonderfully clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise or grain of any description. The detail on display in the animation was excellent throughout, with lots of definition in bee bum fuzz and other such things.

    The colour was fantastic with incredible richness and depth of colour. There were no colour blemishes of any kind.

    I noticed one very minor spot of aliasing on some stairs at 63:30.

    There are 3 sets of subtitles on this disc, all in English. They are English, English for the Hearing Impaired and subtitles for the audio commentary. The subtitles are a little smaller than some but are still clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 41:30 and is not noticeable.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s. The only other audio track is the commentary.

    Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Rupert Gregson-Williams is great, adding lots of atmosphere and a jaunty tone to the film.

    The surround speakers were surprisingly well used considering the type of film. All of the action sequences involved significant surround activity such as the flight over Central Park, the tennis game and the rain storm. Additionally there was also lots of surround atmosphere throughout.

     The subwoofer is well used but does not really assert itself due to the nature of the film. Bass is added to groups of bees buzzing and the thuds of the tennis balls.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There is a good collection of extras included on this disc, although the Region 1 version has all this and more.

Menu

    The menu design is simple involving bees going about their business but surprisingly is quite different animation from the film itself.

Audio Commentary - Jerry Seinfeld & writers, director, producer & editor

    This group commentary is very relaxed and jokey but unfortunately not overly funny or informative. Bit disappointing but not a total loss.

Tech of Bee Movie (7:34)

    A short featurette (or should that be ad) for the computers and servers involved in creating the animation. Some interesting information on use of perspective and how they did the honey and crowds of bees.

Inside the Hive : The Cast of Bee Movie (14:41)

    Worthwhile featurette about the voice cast & the genesis of the film. Includes footage and interviews with Seinfeld, Matthew Broderick, Renee Zellweger, Patrick Warburton, Chris Rock and more.

Meet Barry B. Benson

    This is an interactive extra which involves the user being able to choose from 11 questions to ask Barry. Unfortunately all the answers come in the form of clips from the film.

'We Got the Bee' Music Video (2:13)

    Annoying film clip for song from the film.

Dreamworks Animation Video Jukebox

Previews

DW Kids

The Buzz About Bees (7:10)

    Kids documentary about bees, honey producing countries & bee habits. Good stuff.

The 'Ow' Meter

    Interactive extra which allows you to choose whether to be human or a bee and then to test the 'Ow' factor of various things. For the bees it is how painful various human weapons are such as rolled up newspapers and for the humans it is the sting of different sorts of bees. Also allows access to the next extra.

How to avoid getting Stung by a Bee

    Short featurette with practical tips on the above.

That's Un-bee-lievable! (9:20)

    A trivia quiz about bees (rather than the movie) which is quite educational. It is not interactive, it just plays for tis running time.

Be a Bee

    Answer a number of questions and this extra tells you what sort of job you would do in a beehive. My kids would either be restroom attendants or Lint Coordinators. Fun!.

Game - Pollination Practice

    This game allows you to shoot pollen at flowers. It is a bit complex to get right and the kids will lose interest.

DVD-ROM extras

    The disc contains a variety of printable pdf extras including 6 colouring in pages, 6 honey recipes and 3 sudoku games along with some weblinks.

 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    When compared to the Region 1, 2 disc 'Very Jerry' edition, the Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis the Region 1 set is the best available.

Summary

    One of the best recent animated kids films.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The set has a high quality set of extras, however even more is available in Region 1.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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