Jerry Seinfeld fans who are still going through withdrawal will very likely love this animated film. Others should approach with extreme caution. Bee Movie has two directors, four co-writers, countless animators, and a great supporting cast of voices (RenÃ©e Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Chris Rock). Forget about 'em. As is made clear in his commentary and throughout the extras in this two-disc set, Bee Movie is Jerry's baby all the way.
I was a big fan of Seinfeld, and I think Jerry is a likable and funny onscreen personality. But this movie is missing the key ingredient that made the TV series great entertainment: Larry David. Seinfeld was all about Jerry's fictional world, but the overarching sensibility was shaped by co-creator David's comedic chops - which are way more risky and caustic than anything you'll find in Bee Movie. (If you feel the need to research this thesis, catch any episode of David's Curb Your Enthusiasm.)
The movie looks as good as most other big-budget, CGI-animated entries - which is to say, very, very good. After all, the DVD medium is at its best when reproducing content that lives entirely in the digital domain. Here, colors are vivid, with no screen-door or blooming artifacts. You're transported to a believable, comfortable, and nonthreatening virtual world - and happy to go along for the ride amidst a bevy of well-timed one-liners and imaginative set pieces. When Barry B. Benson (Seinfeld's character) goes on his first flight out of a Central Park beehive and through New York City, there's an exhilarating sense of speed, with fine image detail.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is reasonably dynamic, and there's a nice sense of air and space around the action, particularly in the exterior Manhattan scenes. Voices are always intelligible and clean, as they must be in any animated movie. Although the surround channels get occasional work (in the aforementioned flight scene, for example), I'd prefer a little more sonic information to the rear and sides of the main listening position. And would it have killed the creators to throw in one scene with creative multichannel buzzing effects?
Again, if you're a Jerry Seinfeld fan, you'll find the extras in this "Very Jerry" edition to be extremely generous and entertaining. The guy is everywhere. His commentary and several of the featurettes reveal a sense of wonder about the animation process. And there are more than a few laughs in Jerry's 16 TV Juniors - short, goofy sketches that were clearly put together on the fly. There are way too many other extras to enumerate here, but some of the highlights include Jerry in a bee suit "flying" into a promotional event at the Cannes Film Festival, a nice featurette on the cast, and the surprisingly cute music video "We Got the Bee."
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