Overall Recommendation:
4.2 stars
(9)
5 Stars:
66.67%
(6)
 
4 Stars:
11.11%
(1)
 
3 Stars:
11.11%
(1)
 
2 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
1 Stars:
11.11%
(1)
 
Premise:
4.1 stars
(9)
 
Story structure:
4.1 stars
(9)
 
Character:
4.2 stars
(9)
 
Dialogue:
4.1 stars
(9)
 
Emotion:
4.2 stars
(9)
 
 
1-9 of 9 reviews
Sort: Newest | Most helpful
1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Fun movie!

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
5 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
November 06, 2011
Very fun movie that will appeal to younger audiences. I think you folks did a pretty fine job. Pay no attention to the one negative review - I'm pretty sure that guy is a troll.
 
3 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

I laughed, I cried...

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 
October 12, 2011
This one I can show my two-year-old if I can peel her away from Baby Einstein. I loved the artwork for your concept and the animation is so much fun. I also thought your actors did a great job. I think you can pick up some of the pacing, something you can work on your next pass. I realize how much work went into this and think you did a terrific job.
 
6 out of 6 people found the following review helpful:

Good premise and pretty cool animation effort; strong potential for success, and in my opinion could benefit from some work in terms of character and story development.

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
October 05, 2011
I decided to spend some time watching newer films, as a way to actually help the current competition. This is the only reason I made it through this whole film - because I was determined to give some constructive feedback to someone competing right now. So here we go...

Bee Wars has a good core idea behind it, which seems to me to be this: when a swarm of killer bees threaten to wipe out the bee population, Buzzy, a weak 'drone' bee and his motley crew must race time and all odds to launch a counterattack. With the help of his friends and a few hair-raising adventures on the way to seek help from the Bee council - Buzzy discovers the hidden truth behind his seemingly defective anatomy. With his newfound self-confidence and a few tricks up his sleeve - Buzzy and his friends decide that THEY - and they alone - have what it takes to combat the BEEPOCALYPSE.

Sounds pretty cool, right? I think so. I think kids would really dig this premise, and would identify with the Peter Parker-ish central character of Buzzy, who has something 'different' about him but simply has to find the confidence and support network to harness his hidden strength.

In terms of execution, I'm not so sure the current rough cut (as of Oct. 5) has all of the elements necessary to tell that story - though it has quite a few, and some not fully developed. In all fairness, I think Amazon's requirement that the test film be 85 minutes long is a SEVERE impediment to an ANIMATED TEST FILM. All of those great Pixar movies involve epic sequences of flying or swimming or driving around where we just marvel at the splendor of the visual effects. I think it's possible to HINT at it in a test film, but difficult to execute. And since writing SLUGS onscreen doesn't seem to be encouraged, the filmmakers in this case just have us sitting there listening to songs while looking at the same image, hopefully imagining the action sequence that we WOULD be watching. Personally, this was pure agony to sit through, but I don't blame them. I blame the requirement.

Now on to the specifics of the review:

What seems to be missing is a) a more character-driven journey to fight the enemy, as well as b) a more character-driven onslaught FROM that enemy. In addition, c) the beginning gives away too much, d) the end provides too little in terms of resolution, and e) the action scenes are MISSING. But even though they are alluded to, I didn't find even my IMAGINED version of them to be very entertaining. Bee Wars needs more innovation on the 'set piece' front, for sure.


a) Buzzy is a good potential hero, since we all like an underdog. He's lame, ostracized and as a result lacks self confidence. But could he at least be funny? It would add a lot of he had this hilarious self-effacing sense of humor which actually entertained us, and simultaneously got him in trouble for not working hard enough as a drone. Instead, he basically hits one note for most of the film and that's "I'm not very good at anything". And then he gets these spurts of "but maybe if I just put my mind to it!" I found this boring.

The writers have actually already figured out the solution to this - it's just not clearly hinted at earlier in the film. Buzzy is not a drone, he is in fact a long range scout - an EXTREMELY RARE breed of bee in his community, one that his tribe has never seen before. His special long-range skills include a kind of 'spidey sense' in terms of instincts and navigation, and an extra set of wings which make him faster than any other bee - but terrible at carrying honey, which is the job of one of the drone bees they mistake Buzzy for.

So I say - show us a little more of these strange instincts, and these strange abilities. Like maybe he has extraordinary reflexes and speed, but STILL can't carry the honey. Stuff that some bees raise an eyebrow at, but don't know what to do with. Show that he NEVER gets lost, that he is always ACUTELY aware of what the queen is thinking, feeling, commanding, even when far away. Give us these clues to help us suspect that there is something out of the ordinary about Buzzy.

And please, please, if you keep that long, slow boat-ride to Brazil (which I think should be a quick airplane ride, or something even more engaging, which I will mention later in 'e)') - please don't neglect the opportunity to have the Dart the Black Wasp do more than simply 'suggest' that Buzzy may be different. Have him train him to find his balance. Have him show Buzzy that every warrior has a distinct strength, and to find it you must first learn how YOU fly, not just how TO fly. Dart could be pivotal in Buzzy's development. And honestly - Dart could be a female - initially seeming like a femme fatale but proving to be a solid friend and maybe more...

If Buzzy is more engaging, and more of his strange, unexplained (until later) quirks are milked - I think the adventure will be much more interesting.

One last note - we are away from the benevolent Queen Silvia too long. We shouldn't forget about her - especially since Buzzy is basically linked to her by a long-range umbilical cord because he is a long-range scout.

b) The Villains are presented in a boring way. C'mon. You start so well with this massive, terrifying swarm. But then all they do is EXACTLY THE SAME THING, ALL THE TIME. They just conquer. Their Queen wants more troops. Their general wants more power and to please his queen. And the troops just trod on blindly.

Why can't we get a little more into the dark side? Their leader should be a little more intelligent, she should have goals. And maybe THEY should have fears as well - like HUMANS. Maybe they really want to take over the whole world, not just the world of bees. It strikes me as strange that they live in such a segmented universe from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Also, where is the danger? As in, if you don't join the swarm, what happens? I hear talk of 'crushing' bees, but never any action. Don't bees die when they lose their stingers? Couldn't this be an element of the script? It need not make children cry. It could just be like - when they sting or get forced to sting something, or get their stinger yanked out, the bees die a slow death.

Basically I just wanted to see more intensity from the swarm. I got bored every time they appeared, and they are a potentially EXCELLENT villain.

One last note is that just as Buzzy's new friends bring out the best in him - the swarm should bring out the best and the worst in its fighters. This way we could really fear certain members of the swarm since we already knew them to be really good at certain things.

c) I would lose the beginning. It's much better to find out that killer bees are man-made LATER in the film, in my opinion. By all means, make it a flashback, but it just didn't add much for me. I DID like the closeup of the bee releasing pheromones - that was a cool visual.

d) The end presents you with a big challenge, and hats off to you for being inventive. I don't know what I would do differently. I just felt that while it was a good twist to have the bee council be ineffective and sluggish - the MITES were a problem. How does a bee use a weapon that will kill him and his friends? What was the plan? Suicide?

And if joy is to counteract the rage of the swarm, please show that Queen Silvia and her bees have their own pheromone cloud. You can still withhold it until the end, but there may be a way to establish earlier that bees of her swarm can warm a cold heart, so to speak. Little hints.

e) The Action scenes are probably missing because of the amazon time limit. Fine, no problem, I don't blame you for essentially pausing the screen and letting music play like an intermission in the middle of Lawrence of Arabia, haha.

However, what are they doing? I say go out on a limb and give us some text on the screen. Sure it may annoy amazon - but it also may make them change their rules. They seem flexible. Write to them and see if there is a way around this issue.

You need SOMETHING going on when they are traveling on the boat, through the brazilian forests. More character development, more obstacles. Something.

One idea I had relates to Finding Nemo. I'm not a major animated film fan, but when they're good they're really impressive. Finding Nemo was dope. And that whole East Australian Current sequence was epic. Is there no natural means by which bees could get to Brazil? Could you fudge some chaos theory 'butterfly wings - deer sneezes - windstorm gathers - major storm blows - bees fly to brazil' thing? I dunno, just a thought.

Or an airplane, at least? And maybe on the plane, the air pressure gives Dart and Buzzy a sort of 'wind tunnel' to learn more about aerodynamics, so Dark can show Buzzy how to be in touch with his unique brand of flight?

If the boat must stay, please make better use of the boat.

--

All in all, nice work. Your script is closed so folks like me must resort to long winded reviews. At the end of the day, this is your story, and you will tell it well, I'm confident in that. I just think you may want to dig deeper. A little Linda Seger blended in with the Blake Snyder. A little 'Art of Dramatic Writing' mixed in there as well. Make Buzzy a hero we can really admire, cheer for and remember.

Best of luck!
 
2 out of 5 people found the following review helpful:

Has Broad Audience Potential

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
5 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 
October 04, 2011
 
2 out of 5 people found the following review helpful:

Great Going for a test movie

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
5 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 
October 04, 2011
This is amazing for a test film. I am ready for the actual movie. Way to go.
 
3 out of 6 people found the following review helpful:

Bee Wars

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
5 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 
October 03, 2011
The art work is fantastic and the music choices are excellent. Kids will love this movie.
 
2 out of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Striking visuals!

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
October 03, 2011
This is a great story. I think it will appeal to kids and adults.
 
2 out of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Love the images! Great story!

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
5 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 

Meg

October 03, 2011
The visuals are amazing! I liked the animation and the movie images really stick with you. I think this really feels like a movie -- like it could be a great movie. I was thrilled to see real animation! It made me think of a real fairy tale or an animated film. I think you brought some of those darker moments in with the dark queen -- super cool! Great, great job. The opening flower shot was fantastic, especially for a test film -- the images are really great. It's also a compelling story. We root for the Buzzy bee!
 
4 out of 7 people found the following review helpful:

Sorry guys it needs work.

Overall Recommendation:
1 stars
 
Premise:
1 stars
 
Story structure:
1 stars
 
Character:
1 stars
 
Dialogue:
1 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
October 02, 2011
The killer bees were introduced early on, but it wasn't until 5 minutes into the movie we heard another word from any character. Killer bees weren't spoken of again until 11 minutes.

This story moves so slow it is hard to stay awake. It feels like music and visuals were used to make the story longer, only to meet time requirements. Sometimes it felt like i was stuck in a loop, no sound, no action.

My 18 month-old grand baby did watch with me for several minutes and seemed entertained, but I couldn't go more than 23 minutes.

Pretty good job on the animation.

Sorry guys, it needs some more work.
 

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