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According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground.
The bee, of course, flies anyway. Because bees don't care what humans think is impossible.
— The opening narration

Bee Movie is a 2007 CGI animated feature film produced by DreamWorks Animation and co-written by and starring Jerry Seinfeld. Barry B. Benson (Seinfeld), a bee who has just graduated from college, is disillusioned at his lone career choice: making honey. On a special trip outside the hive, Barry is rescued by Vanessa Bloome (Renée Zellweger), a florist in New York City. As their relationship blossoms, Barry discovers that humans take honey from bee hives without asking, thus stealing it. He then sues humanity for its perceived transgressions against bees, and things sure do happen.

This film contains examples of:

  • Acoustic License: There are numerous cases when you have to wonder how is it possible that everyone can hear a tiny bee crystal clear, no matter the distance. It gets especially egregious during Barry's speeches in the courtroom, where he doesn't use a microphone or anything like that, and yet everyone can perfectly hear him.
  • Actor Allusion
    • In the trial scene, Barry makes a pun about Ray Liotta being a "bad fella". Oddly enough, he also directly congratulates Liotta on winning an Emmy for a guest spot on ER in 2005. Liotta is even holding and displaying said Emmy as he's on the stand.
    • Jerry Seinfeld's character Barry B. Benson alludes to his first major acting role in a bit part on Benson.
    • Patrick Warburton plays the lead female's boyfriend in a work starring Jerry Seinfeld. This applies to both here as Ken and Seinfeld as David Puddy in the last few seasons.
    • Renée Zellweger would voice the love interest for a yellow animal (who has a strong resemblance to the celebrity voicing him) as she did in Shark Tale.
  • Against the Grain: After graduating, Barry realises he's doomed to a life of non-stop labor and questions the role he's been born into. When he decides he doesn't want to work for the hive, his parents grow concerned and question his motives, especially after he reveals he's befriended a human. The trope is somewhat subverted, as the other bees adapt Barry's ethics and stop producing honey, resulting in catastrophic effects on the environment. Barry realises he shouldn't have meddled with the status quo.
  • Alliterative Name: Barry B. Benson.
  • Alphabet News Network: BeeNN is spoofing the most well-known real-life example, CNN.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The opening monologue about it being logically impossible for Bees to fly was based on a scientific argument... In The '30s. Later scientific discoveries and understandings explain exactly why Bees are able to fly, but it's less funny that way.
    • Male bees don't have stingers, nor do they pollinate.
    • It is biologically impossible for a bee to survive stinging a man and having the stinger replaced with a plastic sword. Particularly notable because the movie itself brings up the fact that bees die if they sting someone.
    • Plants don't wither and die if they're not pollinated; the lack of pollination would only stop new flowers from being made, and plants would live as normal (especially obvious with the trees that would still live for years). Also, it is impossible to pollinate most flowers with pollen from other species. Furthermore, even if the bees stop, there's still the hummingbirds/butterflies/etc to pollinate as well. Losing every bee would be catastrophic (especially for farming), but bees don't have dibs on all pollination. In fact, many species don't even need animals at all, relying on the wind alone for pollination, and would be perfectly fine and ordinary.
    • Sting (the singer) gets arrested for his stage name since it's a bee thing. Wasps, bumblebees, mud daubers, yellow jackets, stingrays, hornets, scorpions, platypi, and jellyfish would like to have a word, and that's just inside of the animal kingdom. Especially baffling as the name "Sting" is actually trademarked to professional wrestler Steve Borden, who has the Animal Motif of a scorpion.
  • As Himself: Larry King plays Bee Larry King.
    • The Sting from the Police and Ray Liotta also appear as themselves.
  • Bathroom Brawl: Ken attacks Barry in Vanessa's bathroom and she breaks up with him for it.
  • Beehive Hairdo: As a sort of Visual Pun, all the female bees seen have fifties-style hair that's puffed on top and curled at the sides.
  • B-Movie: In addition to the Pun-Based Title, the film unabashedly satirizes no less than five separate genres over the course of its runtime (family, romance, court drama, disaster, action) with the explicit intention by the writers to be as out-there as possible.
  • Big Applesauce: All the plant life in the world is saved—once Central Park is restored, first.
  • Company Cross References: Vincent the bear from Over the Hedge makes a brief appearance during the courtroom trial, albeit with brown fur instead of the black fur he had before.
  • Daydream Surprise: Barry has one about Vanessa.
  • Dark Parody: At one point, Winnie the Pooh gets shot with a sleeping dart and kidnapped.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Ken and Montgomery ban honey from the world, the flowers are dead, Barry and the other bees are back to the hive, and Vanessa's shop was closed.
  • Dream Reality Check: Vanessa stabs the back of her hand with a fork to wake herself up when Barry talks to her for the first time. But it's not a dream.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: "Well, I was already a blood-sucking parasite! All I needed was a briefcase!"
  • Fan Disservice: Layton T. Montgomery stretching his britches out. And then flashing his rear end to the court to show where Adam stung him. Much to everyone's disgust.
  • Fantastic Aesop: The first acts seem to be preaching against human exploitation of animals, and that it's wrong to take bees' honey...but then it acknowledges bees make much more honey than they could ever use, and that bees not needing to pollinate would be completely and utterly catastrophic for the planet. So, by the end, the message can best be summed up as "Humans should use and appreciate honey, but they should probably discuss it with the sapient, talking bees first."
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Vanessa tells Barry that her parents wanted her to become a doctor or a lawyer but Vanessa wanted to be a florist instead as her only interest is flowers.
  • Fantasy Twist: Barry's daydream about Vanessa and himself having a romantic picnic together ends abruptly as Vanessa pilots a yellow and black ultralight to fly with him, then crashes and burns when she tries to duplicate an aviation feat only bees can accomplish.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Successfully advocating for a cause might actually make things worse, especially if you don't do the proper research about what you're advocating for or against in the first place.
  • Hollywood Law: The whole "sue humanity because they're stealing honey from bees" is done in a way that doesn't work. Apart from all the "they're just animals" issues being done away with (legally, bees are chattel, owned by humans who are legally permitted to reap their produce), there's enough to fill a LegalEagle video:
    • A florist cannot help sue another party in court. Vanessa is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. She also doesn't properly handle the letter that starts the lawsuit (you have to go down to the courthouse in person to file the suit, you can't just stick an envelope in the mail), and it's also addressed to the "Superior Court of New York." The trial court for civil suits in New York State is known as the Supreme Court.note 
    • Barry sues the five largest honey manufacturers on behalf of the bees they exploit. This is a class action lawsuit (in which a few representative plaintiffs claim to be representative of a larger class of people, and thus believe that they should be able to prosecute the lawsuit on behalf of all of those people who are similarly affected). Per the federal definition of a class action lawsuit, there are some requirements that have to be met before they can proceed further per Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure:
      • 1) There needs to be an adequate class definition. ("All bees" is not an adequate class definition, especially considering that not all bees have had their honey taken)
      • 2) The class needs to be ascertainable. (With how large the bees' population is, there is no way to identify the individually affected bees)
      • 3) There needs to be numerosity to the size of the class. (This is the only criterion met)
      • 4) There needs to be commonality amongst all of the class members. (Different bees are treated differently by the honey manufacturing companies)
      • 5) There needs to be typicality between the representative plaintiffs and the class members. (Barry isn't typical of the bees affected, as his hive is an urban hive in the middle of Manhattan, not a commercial one for honey harvesting)
      • 6) Adequacy of counsel. (Barry is not even a lawyer, so he can't even proceed with this proceeding, let alone adequately represent the actual class members.)
      • 7) Some other requirements (that are also not met for the above reasons)
    • This lawsuit goes straight to trial rather quickly, completely skipping over the many years of pretrial discovery, depositions and motions that would have to happen first.
    • When the defense presents their opening statements and case before the plaintiff does (when the plaintiff outlines what the matters in contention are), Mr. Montgomery goes straight from the counsel table directly into the well of the courtroom and then gets way too close to the jury box, which is a serious breach of courtroom etiquette. His opening statement is also a completely improper argument that would probably be stricken from the record. Barry commits the same breach of courtroom etiquette as Mr. Montgomery when he flies from counsel table over to the partition in front of the jury box to deliver his opening statement.
    • During the direct examination of Mr. Klauss Vanderhayden of Honey Farms and Barry's questions about why he uses honey jars shaped like bears, the opposing counsel really should've been objecting for relevance repeatedly. Then, to demonstrate how the bees find this jar design offensive ("BEARS KILL BEES"), Barry has a muzzled grizzly bear brought into the courtroom. Not only is this irrelevant to the court proceedings, but it goes without saying that demonstratives cannot be a lethal animal.
    • When Mr. Montgomery begins examining Barry and asks him questions about his relationship with Vanessa, people and bees should be interrupting with "Objection, relevance" and "objection, argumentative".
    • Mr. Montgomery's examination of Barry gets heated, and Adam eventually gives into his aggression and stings him, which is technically assault. After such an outburst, it's unlikely that Adam would even be allowed to attend court for the rest of the trial. In fact, it's likely the judge would have to declare a mistrial because it would be unfair to both the defendants and the plaintiffs to proceed with a tainted jury.
    • The court case is done in a courtroom in New York City, rather than the Supreme Court of the United States which is in Washington, D.C.; as a result, any patent rights the bees are granted wouldn't be applicable to the rest of the United States, let alone the other nations in North America (e.g. Canada and Mexico).
    • The trial is held with a jury. However, the judge ultimately declares her verdict without consulting the jury, making their presence completely arbitrary. Not to mention, the judge cannot decide in the middle of the court case to just rule in favor of the plaintiffs. This would be overturned on appeal immediately because the defendants have been denied their due process.
    • The settlement demands:
      • If the plaintiffs prevail in a lawsuit, generally they are entitled to monetary compensation. And in some cases, they can be rewarded with actual physical property (though that is largely seen in real estate cases). If it's possible to give financial compensation, the court almost always will go that way. And there's no reason that the bees couldn't be given financial compensation instead of a return of all of the honey.note  On top of that, many of the other things that they are getting in this potential settlement would likely not be granted in real life.
      • "We will no longer tolerate derogatory bee-negative nicknames" (and Sting being arrested for this alone) and "We demand an end to the glorification of the bear as anything other than a filthy smelly big-headed bad breath stink machine!" overstep the First Amendment right to free speech.
      • We see federal agents seizing honey from a woman on the street using it as a tea sweetener, with no indication that an injunction was granted to stop the consumption of honey already in circulation.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Part of Barry's case is how humans treat bees horribly, such as using a smoker to incapacitate them before removing honey. It is especially jarring with the two guys who seem to work at the honey plant just because they enjoy sadistically torturing bees. It might just be those guys, but those are the only two workers Barry sees, which might contribute to the whole thing.
  • I Love the Smell of X in the Morning: When Ken attacks Barry in the bathroom, he sprays him with perfume spray
    Barry: I love the smell of flowers!
    Ken: Oh, yeah? How do you like the smell of FLAMES?! (holds up a lighter in front of the perfume spray)
    Barry: Not as much!
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Barry is just Jerry Seinfeld with wings and stripes.
    • Also, Ray Liotta and Sting both appear as themselves. The primary purpose of Bee Larry King's one scene interviewing Barry on BeeNN is lampshading his similarity to the human version.
  • Insect Gender-Bender
    • Male mosquitoes don't drink blood (and females only drink it so they can get the protein to make eggs)
    • Male bees don't sting. The stinger is a modified ovipositor that only female worker bees have. On top of that, there's no such thing as a male worker. In a beehive (as well as an anthill and a wasp's nest), all of the grunt work is done by infertile females. This includes pollinating, which the movie shows male bees doing. Really, the only purpose of a male bee in real life is to mate with the queen, then die.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Barry and Vanessa. It leads to "bedbug" jokes.
    • Barry's uncle and the cricket in San Antonio.
  • It Only Works Once: At Honex, once you pick your job, you stay with that job forever with no way out of it.
  • Jerk Jock:
    • Averted. Early in the movie there's a scene where it looks like the pollen jockeys are going to turn out to be like nasty and arrogant, inviting Barry along on their next scheduled nectar run to mess with him, but when he actually shows up, they're perfectly happy to show him the ropes and are quite personable about the whole thing.
    • Perhaps played straight with the Patrick Warburton character, though, given how he's played as an antagonist and is a tennis player.
  • Jealous Romantic Witness: Ken is not happy when he sees Vanessa and Barry having an innocent celebratory dinner after his court hearing.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Aside from everything else that's obviously wrong with the entire scene, Vanessa is shown pulling the landing gear handle to shut down the plane's engines.
  • Kissing Cousins: In the beginning, Adam makes a comment about a girl next to them being hot. Only to learn from Barry she's Barry's cousin.
    Adam: That girl was hot.
    Barry: She's my cousin!
    Adam: She is?
    Barry: Yes, we're all cousins.
    • And again later as a Brick Joke, when Barry tells Adam that the female bees will think they're attractive once they've noticed Adam and Barry are covered in pollen.
    Adam: Those ladies? Aren't they our cousins too?
    Barry: Distant. Distant.
  • Large Ham:
    • Layton T. Montgomery. He's even hammier after being stung because he deliberately makes it more dramatic. Thanks to being voiced by John Goodman.
    • very enthusiastic when he speaks, and has a tendency for bad puns during violence. He is voiced by Patrick Warburton, no less.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Pooh and Piglet appear in one scene, with Piglet wearing a green sweater instead of magenta.
  • Logo Joke: The boy in the film's DreamWorks logo is distracted by Barry as he's floating up to the moon with balloons. He ends up falling back to the ground while Barry sits on the moon in his place and lets out a chuckle.
  • Make the Dog Testify: The courts don't bother making sure the bees can speak before allowing them to sue humanity.
  • Meaningful Name: A florist named Vanessa Bloome (Bloom). As well as a bee named Barry B. Benson.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Barry and Vanessa's friendship is easily mistaken for romance by her ex-boyfriend Ken and Adam.
  • Mouse World: Inside a beehive is a fully functioning multi-level metropolis.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Deliberately. Barry has a swordfight with a shelfstocker wielding a pushpin.
  • Newscaster Cameo: NPR's Carl Kasell As Himself.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: To quote Mr. Montgomery after Benson won the lawsuit, "This is an unholy perversion of the balance of nature, Benson! You'll regret this." Turns out that now that the bees were put out of the job due to the honey being "brought back" to them, the pollination halted and the plant life was slowly dying out, with the rest of the food chain about to follow soon.
  • Outlandish Device Setting: The showerhead in Vanessa's bathroom has a setting for 'Lethal'.
  • Parental Bonus: Too many to count, usually covered up by all the Bee puns.
    • When Barry's parents learn about Barry meeting a girl, they say they hope she's "Bee-ish" (Yiddish).
    • When Barry's parents pester him about his job search and academic future, Barry is just lazily drifting around in a pool similar in reference to The Graduate.
    • The film gets away with a Kissing Cousins joke simply because they're bees, and Barry enunciates that they're distant cousins.
    • Barry's uncle reminisces about dating a cricket once, adding, "Boy, those crazy legs kept me up all night", which would imply they slept together... or, if more innocently (for a kids' movie), at least shared a bed.
    • Crickets make their characteristic noise by rubbing their legs together. THAT is the "innocent" interpretation.
    • Mr. Montgomery interrogating Barry if he lives with Vanessa and if he's her "little bedbug."
    • When giving his final statement in court, Barry asks "is this what nature intended for us? To live out our lives as honey slaves to the white man!", while the scene cuts to Montgomery's four lawyers, one of whom is black (this person then awkwardly shifts his chair away from the others).
    • "Shack up with a grasshopper". It can mean just being roommates, but...
    • The discussion between Barry and Adam about who the girl Barry met is. Apparently, spiders are thought of as very hot due to having eight legs.
    • When Barry comments that Blood the Mosquito must meet a lot of girls, Mosquito laments that girl mosquitoes always "trade up" to date a Moth or a Dragonfly instead of him.
    • Barry asking the store clerk who is his supplier. He's talking about honey, but still.
    • When a hive of bees gassed for their honey tell Barry they had no choice and they had to move because of their queen. Barry points out that their "queen bee" is actually a man in women's clothes. In other words, he's a "drag queen".
    • Layton T. Montgomery accusing Barry in court of "being on steroids".
    • Adam describing stinging someone as "adrenaline and then, ecstasy".
    • Layton T. Montgomery says that the queen bee delivers all the young and accuses Barry's parents of not being his real parents and accuses Barry of being illegitimate.
    • Barry saying that his sweater is Ralph Lauren and that he is not wearing pants.
    • Barry saying that everyone is aware of "what bears do in the woods".
  • Playing Games at Work: The director of the Honex Industries can be seen playing a hexagon-shaped Solitaire at his computer during Barry's motivational speech at the end. Justified in that at the time, the honey production was shut off and the bees had nothing to do.
  • Pun-Based Title: It's rumored that the title began as a joke Jerry Seinfeld made to Steven Spielberg, who pointed him to Jeff Katzenberg to make it into a movie.note 
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: It is Seinfeld as a bee.
    Vanessa: (Looking down at two unconscious pilots) What happened here?
    Barry: I tried to talk to them! But then there was a Dustbuster, a toupee, a life raft exploded! Now, one's bald, one's in a boat, and they're both unconscious!
  • Serious Business: The montage where the honey is reclaimed. The ATHF holds a little old woman stirring honey into her tea at gunpoint. They even shoot Winnie the Pooh with a tranquilizer dart! Pooh's adventures will never be the same anymore.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Barry B. Benson is named in honor of Jerry Seinfeld's first television role in a guest spot, playing a character named Barry on an episode of Benson.
    • "Turn your key sir!" from the movie WarGames, a film that Matthew Broderick (who voiced Adam) starred in.
    • After Ray Liotta unleashes his temper on Barry during the trial, there is a section on the newspaper stating Unlawful Entry 2 will be canceled.
  • Shown Their Work: It's clear the company did a fair amount of research, then overruled it in favor of the Rule of Funny.
  • Smoking Gun: Used literally. Barry shows up with a smoke gun used to calm down honeybees. Bees win the case against humans.
  • Suicide Pact: When all of New York’s plants are dying out thanks to the lack of bees pollinating them, Barry actually suggests committing to a suicide pact where he will sting Vanessa and Vanessa will step on him. Vanessa points out him stinging her and her stepping on him will just kill him twice.
  • Tagline: At least two, displayed on official posters - "Hold on to your honey" and "Honey just got funny".
  • Take That!: When Vanessa complains to Barry that she doesn't know how to land a plane, he replies:
    Barry: Didn't you say John Travolta was a pilot?
    Vanessa: Yeah...
    Barry: How hard could it be?!?!
  • Talk Show Appearance: During his crusade to sue humanity, Barry goes on "Bee Larry King" to promote his ideas, and also tells the bee host about his human counterpart.
  • Unconventional Courtroom Tactics:
    • While waiting for the Smoking Gun to arrive, Adam stalls by teaching the jury how to make paper boats.
    • Barry brings a live and aggressive bear into the courtroom as a Demonstrative. Needless to say, no court would allow such a thing.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The corrupt judge interrogating Barry, asking if he lives with Vanessa and if he's her "little bedbug."
  • Wearing It All Wrong: Exploited when Ken puts winter boots on his hands and tries to kill Barry with them.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ken disappears from the plot following his confrontation with Barry, though he returns for a moment at the end to express his frustration at Barry "living his life", and Mr. Montgomery disappears from the plot after Barry wins the trial.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Discussed between Vanessa and Ken when he tries to squish Barry.
    Vanessa: Don't kill him!
    Ken: You know I'm allergic to them! This thing could kill ME!
    Vanessa: And why does his life have any less value than yours?
    Ken: "Why does his life have any less value than mine?", Is THAT your statement?
    Vanessa: I'm just saying all life has value, you don't know what he's capable of feeling.


Video Example(s):


Bee Larry King

The Late Great Larry King, makes a cameo in the film as Bee Larry King. The Bee counterpart to the human Larry King.

How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / AsHimself

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