Bee Movie

“As a bee, honey’s pretty important to me. It’s important to all bees. We invented it. We make it. And we protect it with our lives.”

Barry B. Benson is a recent bee graduate who longs for a thrilling life outside of making honey. One day, he decides to ditch all the hive jobs to instead go and fly with the Pollen Jocks. He falls in love with the outdoor world of New York City and makes friends with a florist named Vanessa Bloome. Soon, however, he makes the startling discovery that humans have been exploiting the bees for their honey. Outraged by this injustice, Barry decides to sue the human race for their misdeeds. Barry wins the trial, allowing all the bees to take a break from their duties; however, the bees’ absence leads to the city’s plants dying. Barry, along with Vanessa and all the other bees from his hive, takes on a mission to save the remaining flowers. They succeed in restoring pollination and honey production, and the film concludes with Barry establishing a law firm that handles human-animal disputes while promoting “bee-approved” honey.

Bee Movie blends comedic entertainment with a serious ecological message as it advocates for a shift toward more ethical environmental practices. Barry’s rebellion against bee exploitation draws attention to human impacts on the environment and the detrimental effects of certain agricultural methods. While the film specifically depicts the harmful use of bee smokers, the exploitation can also be used to connect to other ideas such as excessive pesticide use or alternative forms of animal cruelty. This film can also serve as a commentary on the issues of corporatism and capitalism. The movie’s antagonist is the CEO of a powerful conglomerate business, whose slogan, “they make the honey, and we make the money,” perfectly encapsulates their greed and disregard for the environment. This shows how in order to ensure a sustainable future for all living beings, we must first reevaluate our existing societal values and systems and transition towards a more ecocentric mindset.

Once the bees take their break, the film delves deeper into the concept of interconnectedness. The rapid decline of plants throughout the city depicts a trophic cascade, showing how, as a keystone species, bees directly influence the lives of many other beings. It emphasizes the delicate balance that exists in ecosystems and promotes the idea that every species, no matter how small, has a crucial role in keeping things in order. The film does not completely condemn the idea of humans benefiting from bees but rather wants its viewers to understand the importance of responsibly caring for them. The conclusion reinforces the notion that humans should act in tandem with the natural world rather than try to control or exploit it.

©2024 ClimateLit (Alexandra Delacruz)

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Publisher: DreamWorks Animation, 2007

Pages: 1 hr 31 min


Audience: Little People (4-7), Questers (8-13), Rebels (14-older)

Format: Films

Topics: Animal Cruelty, Capitalism, Corporatism, Ecocentrism, Ecosystems, Greed, Human Impact, Interconnectedness, Keystone Species, Pesticides, Sustainability, Trophic Cascade