Maya the Bee
Grown-ups who fail to appreciate the courage and rebelliousness of children see nothing but mischievousness. As kids begin to understand the supposed importance of not questioning their elders, they lose this brave idealism that could actually help widen the mindset of most adults. This is the lesson that Maya, a dreamer and non-conformist bee, teaches to both children and adults in Maya the Bee.
This version of the famous 1912 German novel tells the story of how Buzzlina Von Beena, a traitor in the hive, usurps the Queen Bee. Threatened by the curious spirit of Maya, Buzzlina sends her out to the meadow, expecting the evil nature of “other species” to eventually kill her. However, the ingenuous Maya sees a potential friend in everyone, and assembles a diverse team to save herself and the queen. This team includes Willy, her only bee friend, Flip, a music-loving grasshopper, and Sting, a baby hornet. The clichéd realisation that other bugs are not so different from bees after all is improved by the revolutionary essence of Maya’s character, which saves the day and exposes adult conventions as prejudiced and narrow-minded. (Arguably, this version might be deliberately progressive in response to claims of racist nuances in the original story.)
Whereas animation films usually hold a certain appeal for older audiences as well, Maya the Bee has only the enjoyment of very young children in mind. A few puns and movie references represent weak attempts to involve adult viewers, but they feel forced and unnatural. Precisely due to this lack of mature engagement, the film may strike some as corny or dull. Yet its pacifist message shouldn’t be lost on anyone. A fable of tolerance and inclusiveness, the film conveys a meaningful political message in a sweet and entertaining way. Maya the Bee is not a ground-breaking narrative. Its musical numbers are not necessarily good or memorable, and the animation barely improves from the TV show of the same name in terms of 3D texture and lighting. Still, it is an adorable and refreshingly innocent story of a beloved character and her admirable spirit of communion. Perhaps to fully appreciate it, one needs to remember the cinematic experience from childhood, when an idealistic suspension of disbelief was far easier to achieve.
Maya the Bee is released nationwide on 23rd October 2015.
Watch the trailer for Maya the Bee here: