HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Maya the Bee The whole hive is buzzing
Year: 2014
Director: Alexs Stadermann
Stars: Coco Jack Gillies, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Noah Taylor, Richard Roxburgh, Miriam Margolyes, Jacki Weaver, Andy McPhee, Justine Clarke, Joel Franco, Cosma Shiva Hagen, Heather Mitchell, David Collins, Shane Dundas, Nina Hagen, Fin Edquist
Genre: Animated, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Freshly hatched little bee Maya (voiced by Coco Jack Gillies) is an irrepressible free-spirit who won't follow the rules of the hive. She goes wherever curiosity takes her, befriends other bugs like wise-cracking cockney grasshopper Flip (Richard Roxburgh) and questions authority at every turn. Caring bee school teacher Miss Cassandra (Justine Clarke) tries her best to guide Maya but devious royal adviser Buzzlina von Beena (Jacki Weaver) considers her a threat. When Maya discovers Buzzlina plotting to usurp the Queen (Miriam Margolyes), she ends up expelled into the wilderness. Followed by smitten classmate Willy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Maya braves the big wide world while Buzzlina orchestrates a war between the Bee kingdom and their mortal enemies: the Hornets.

This Australian-German co-production is a computer animated update of Maya the Bee, a Japanese anime serial from 1975. Although actually the second significant bee anime, following Tatsunoko studio's more harrowing Hutch the Honeybee (1970), Maya was among the earliest anime to attract western fans after it aired on the Nickelodeon channel in the early Eighties. Yet the television serial sprang from a well-regarded German children's book written by Waldemar Bonsels first adapted in 1925 as The Adventures of Maya using micro-photography of real insects to tell the story. While Bonsels was himself a noted anti-Semite who openly supported the Nazis, the cartoons based on his work adopt an interesting anti-authoritarian, anti-racist stance.

Here Maya is established as a happy nonconformist from the get-go. A wide-eyed idealist who innocently chafes at the absurdity of the beehive's well-intentioned but nonetheless oppressive rules: don't leave the hive, don't make friends with other bugs, don't play or sing. Later when Maya and Willy save a young hornet named Sting (Joel Franco) from a hungry spider they discover the hornets spin their own scary yarns about bees, a neat commentary about how different societies cultivate their own fear and propaganda. Although Maya learns life beyond the hive is not all sunshine and rainbows the plot reaffirms her belief that friendship, kindness and decency are worth bestowing on all species. As adults it is easy to be cynical about shiny, upbeat family films that trot out familiar messages like be yourself, make friends, learn to value those different from yourself. Yet when all is said and done these are lessons worth handing down to the next generation. If the script penned by live action filmmaker Fin Edquist is less than subtle at least its heart lies firmly in the right place. There is a lot to like about Maya the Bee.

In terms of technique the animation might pale by comparison with Pixar but when viewed in the context of other mid-budget animated features is artful and eye-catching. Much like the American computer animated reboot of Astro Boy (2009), the team behind Maya manage to update the original Japanese character designs without losing any of their idiosyncratic charm. The animation succeeds in capturing the sense of wonder a newborn feels on glimpsing the world for the first time with all its lustrous colours and wonders. The action sequences are modest but engaging while scenes like the bug concert at Jitterbug Hollow have a lot of charm. Maya's gentle humour is clearly aimed for the most part at toddlers although a minor subplot with two dim-witted soldier ants yields a fair few laughs. A voice cast of Aussie film staples like Richard Roxburgh, Jackie Weaver and Noah Taylor do a solid job inhabiting their roles but the star turn comes from young Coco Jack Gillies, briefly glimpsed in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). She gives a truly ebullient vocal performance as the peppy and appealing title character whose willingness to embrace all kinds of people, er, bugs pays off at the end. For that extra punch of nostalgia the film retains the original theme song.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2024 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: