After months of seeing clips, excerpts, storyreels and tons of production art, I finally saw the finished film for the first time today.
Let me back up a little. About fifteen months ago I began working on latest volume in Chronicle Books ongoing “Art Of” series, The Art of Bee Movie. I’d been a fan of Jerry Seinfeld’s since viewing the first episode of his famous TV series in 1989. Working on this book project allowed me to take a first hand look at the making of a modern animated CG feature and the rare chance to immerse myself with the spectacular preproduction sketches, paintings, visualizations and character designs that both made it and didn’t make it in the finished film.
The book, just going on sale this week, is loaded with much of the incredible art that didn’t make it, and early versions of characters, props and places that ultimately helped the filmmakers realize Seinfeld’s script. There’s enough good stuff here for ten different visual versions of the film. The book is justified if only to preserve the amazing unused material that Craig Kellman, Nico Marlett, Christophe Lautrette and Tony Siruno produced, and I’m proud to have done my part to preserve it.
Obviously I’m biased about the finished film. If you are (or were) a Seinfeld fan, you won’t be disappointed. It’s funny – very funny – and sweet (no pun intended). The film is a “screwball comedy”, as just about everything in it is about getting laughs, telling jokes or a set-up for a comic set piece. It has a good story and I even learned a few things about bees I never knew before (some of them factual: like how honey is produced; some of them fanciful: that bees can talk). Producers Christina Steinberg and Jerry Seinfeld also attended todays screening and were clearly jazzed by the reception the film got: almost non-stop laughs from begining to end (this was a screening for members of the Producer’s Guild – not Dreamworks employees).
Members of ASIFA-Hollywood, ASIFA-East and ASIFA-San Francisco are invited to a members only sneak preview screening on Tuesday night (10/30) in their respective cities. I’ll be there, in Hollywood, to do a Q&A with the directors after the film. Can’t wait to see it again. I’m buzzed.