By Fred Topel | Images property of DreamWorks Animation.
Bee Movie is Dreamworks Pictures' best animated movie. I'd even say it's the funniest cartoon of the year, but that's only because I consider The Simpsons Movie higher than mere animation, and I wouldn't want anybody to take that quote out of context.
Review: Bee Movie
It's still the Dreamworks model of big, recognizable voices playing their personas, but this time it's an actual movie too. They wait a while to unload all the major pop culture references, so it actually establishes a world first.
Right away, they apply logic to the bee world with bee suits, their phone system and milestones of their life spans. Background gags address things that happen to bee hives and Seinfeld gets to make some verbal puns.
It is about the workplace lifestyle and the caste system in such a world. It maintains excitement and joy for everything, and a sense of innocence. It's not trying to be clever, it's just having fun.
Like any good satire, it is outrageous too. Random gags may hit out of nowhere, but mainly they find all the logical humor in the bee world and human world colliding, ignoring only the fact that bees and humans can't actually talk.
By the time they do bring on the celebs, they are the most joyously random name drops, each becoming standout supporting characters. There's some juicy Disney bashing too, all appropriate to the honey motif.
All of this satirical exploration has real consequences too, heartfelt ones. It pays off all the fun it had at the expense of modern society. All the while, it is still a cartoon. It never goes too reality on us.