Friday, September 14, 2012


Vanishing of the Bees
October 9, 2009 (United Kingdom)
87 min
United Kingdom (English)

Directed by George Langworthy and Maryam Heinen
Written by George Langworthy, Maryam Heinen & James Erskine

More sappy than sweet, but "Vanishing of the Bees" covers an important and interesting topic nonetheless. I just wish the form of this documentary were more competent.

There is a great mystery at the center of "Vanishing of the Bees." It's a great title and if you have not been following this agricultural issue then the answer will keep your attention throughout. A term coined Colony Collapse Disorder left bee farmers across America scratching their heads as the bees left their hives and never returned. This is their livelihood and the epidemic most directly concerns them, but the documentary lays out in coherent fashion several of the factors involved.  

We are led on this documentary by the composed voice of Ellen Paige, who puts in fine work as she strikes the right tones (from somber to successful), though the puns in her script might make you grimace. Scenes are clumsily bridged together by fading out and cutting to an animated book of quotes. It's almost as tawdry as the film quality in general. In a final display of laziness the movie opens up said book and plays of reel of ads all mentioning the epidemic (we even get a clip from Shyamalan's "The Happening"!) before it sinks into its preachy what-you-can-do conclusion. This honeybee plight deserves better treatment. Maybe I should check out "Colony," but then again I feel I know enough about the bees for now. 


CONTENT: artificial insemination and cruelty (all involving bees)

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