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Jerry Seinfeld and the Boston "Bee" Party

Jerry Seinfeld and the Boston "Bee" Party

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This was NOT your typical press event. I mean, how many times are celebrities asked to stroll down the black carpet?


Photo by Nancy Stadler

But given that yesterday's event at the Loews Boston Common was to help promote DreamWorks Animation's "Bee Movie," the folks at AMC Theatres went all out. Decorating the lobby area in all sort of bee-related colors. Which explains the bright yellow balloons & caution tape. As well as the aforementioned black carpet.

Anyway ... "Seinfeld" fans from all over New England crowded into the lobby of the Tremont Street multiplex, eager to get a glimpse of their favorite sitcom star. Even members of Beantown aristocracy -- like Celtics coach Doc Rivers -- dropped by to get in on the fun.


 Celtics Head Coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers signs an autograph for a fan at yesterday's "Bee Movie" press event.
Photo by Nancy Stadler

Finally the man of the hour arrived. Having started his day in Toronto (Where he also did press for "Bee Movie"), Seinfeld was very gracious to his Boston fans. Signing whatever was thrust into his hands, while -- at the same time -- cracking jokes with the reporters who were gathered along the black carpet.


Jerry Seinfeld talks with the press during the Boston leg of his "Bee Movie" publicity tour

Jerry then led all those assembled in the theater that had been set aside for last night's event. Where -- after apologizing for arriving late (Evidently, Seinfeld and his cohorts had some trouble getting through U.S. Customs when they arrived at Logan) -- he introduced the directors of "Bee Movie," Simon J. Smith and Steven Hickner.

Hickner then grabbed the mike and walked those in the theater through a series of "Bee Movie" clips. Laying out the basic story of the film, which deals with Barry B. Benson (voiced by Seinfeld) who has just graduated from college but isn't quite sure what he wants to do with his life. Barry just can't bring himself to be like his buddy, Adam (voiced by Matthew Broderick) and throw himself whole-heartedly into the humdrum life of the hive. He longs for something more.


 Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved

Which is why Benson arranges to tag along with a group of pollen jocks one morning. Just so he can then get a sense of what life is really like on the outside before Barry has to become just another drone, making honey day in and day out. But then -- when those pollen jocks mistake a bright yellow tennis ball for a moving flower -- Benson finds himself swept into this amazing adventure. Where he first befriends a human florist named Vanessa (voiced by Renee Zellweger) ...


 Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved

... Then -- when these two new friends make a trip to the grocery store -- Barry makes a shocking discovery. For years now, humans have been stealing honey straight out of the bees' hive. With little or no thought about what impact this theft might have on the greater bee community.

Well, Benson sees this theft as a travesty of justice. Which is why he decides to file a class action suit against humanity, seeking reparations for the hundreds of millions of gallons of honey that humans have stolen over the years.


Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved

Based on the 45 minutes of footage that was shown last night, "Bee Movie" seems to be a smart but surprisingly sweet comedy. One that successfully translates Seinfeld's stand-up sensibility to the big screen.

But, of course, given everything that's riding on this particular animated feature ... Well, that's why Jerry is out there making this publicity tour. Talking with reporters, conversing with his fans. All the while reminding folks that "Bee Movie" will be arriving in theaters on November 2nd.

Mind you, this old fashioned approach to getting the word out about this new DreamWorks Animation release is coupled with a unique new hi-tech approach to promoting "Bee Movie." In that Jerry has shot 23 minute to a minute-and-a-half long promotional films (Which Seinfeld calls "TV Jr.") which will begin airing on NBC starting in October.

Each of these mini-movies tries to put a humorous spin on how animated features are actually made at DreamWorks Animation. In one of these "TV Jrs.," the studio's animators are working so hard on trying to complete "Bee Movie" that they're just not going home to eat, sleep or bathe. Which is why they're forced to "freshen up" by taking a bubble bath in that decorative fountain that's found at the center of DreamWorks Animation's Glendale campus.

Or -- better yet -- in another mini-movie, Seinfeld reveals the danger of making fun of the studio coffee boy. Whose last name just happens to be Spielberg.

As I mentioned earlier, these 23 "Bee Movie" mini-movies will be shown on NBC in the weeks leading up to the release of this new DreamWorks Animation film. But within a few hours of these shorts' initial airing on the network, these "TV Jrs." will then be posted on YouTube and/or on websites like AintItCool. With the hope that this move will help build good buzz for "Bee Movie."

Do you think that using the Web in this way will make it any more likely that you'll go out of your way to see this new DreamWorks Animation release? Or are you more impressed by old fashioned publicity events? Like Seinfeld's appearance yesterday at the Loews Boston Common, where he chatted with reporters and shook hands with fans? Which technique do you think works best when it comes to the selling / promotion of a new motion picture?

Your thoughts?

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  • I don't think Jerry is overrated, though the show certainly was towards its end.  See "Comedian" to grasp why he;'s a talented guy.  On the other hand, this movie looks pretty bad.  The animation seems stilted, the lead bee has no apparent personality and the story seems weak.  It looks like just another misguided animal rights film.

  • I'm not criticizing this article nor am I criticizing Seinfeld or the movie. I'm just pointing out how lopsided Jim's reporting is when it comes to certain studios. For someone who claims to "tell it how it is" there never seems to be any negative articles about Dreamworks. There also never seems to be any positive articles about Pixar. How about dealing with every studio even-handedly? Don't tell me everything at Dreamworks is rosy and the sun is shining brightly. The reviews for Shrek 3 were bad. What does that mean to Shrek 4? Could Dreamworks be in trouble if their highly successful franchise takes a nose dive? Likewise Ratatouille is the (not surprisingly) highest grossing film of the year in France. Where are the stories about how positively that film is being received by the French? I'd like both the good and the bad from you Jim.

  • Guess what, Jim? NOBODY LIKES DREAMWORKS.

    Yeah, NOBODY. Dreamworks makes crap movies. I have never seen a good Dreamworks film. Ever. And I've seen them all. At somebody else's house. So that they had to pay for everything, like, the DVD and stuff. Because I would never give money to Dreamworks. I mean, even Dreamworks live action stinks. I hated Transformers. They could have made it great, but loaded it with swearing and sexual references and killed it. Why FOR? Because they're Dreamworks.

    Jim, you're losing your fan base by writing these positive articles about crap (Dreamworks) movies. My advice is to stop.

    As for Jerry, I've never seen Seinfeld, and from reading the other comments, it seems as though I'm pretty lucky.

    -Im.

  • Sorry, I just arrived to the party. I brought dip, but I see it's already here. Um, I don't think Jim is writing any of this to win anyone over, especially since it seems some people are not going to be happy unless he writes what they think is correct. Anyway, I thought Over the Hedge was a bright spot... maybe not the best movie, but a lot of fun nonetheless. Jerry Seinfield, however, bores me. Bores me more than most of the comments I used to read here before I stopped reading out of boredom. Everyone here knows everything there is to know about show business, Disney, and everything in-between, so everybody here should leave and start their own website chock fulla great insight, juicy gossip, remarkable background stories, and predictions that may or may not be close to accurate. Oh, and open a comments board and get ready for the love. Steamy, hot, and filling, just like a burrito offa this board. Until then, get ready to cry some more because I don't think Jim cares what you think. And neither do I. And neither do any of you.

  • --

    While I like quite a few Dreamworks pictures (all the Shrek movies and Over The Hedge), this has the same tone of desperation and unfunniness that Shark Tale had.

    --

    I have a hard time believing that ANY movie has the same level of unfunniness as Shark Tale.

    At least this one doesn't smell of "franchise". The fact that they're trying to create a singular good movie out of this one makes me hope it will be as good as Over the Hedge.

    Seinfeld, the TV show, was not something I cared much about. Seinfeld, the comedian, I found to be hysterical (in fact, the only bits I looked forward to on the show were the parts where he was a comedian, usually during the opening or end credits). Seinfeld, the animated movie maker? We'll have to see. The character designs look somehow uninteresting, but the movie's still in my "I'll probably see this" category.

    The only thing I'm wondering is if this movie is in danger of becoming over-promoted. If the public gets sick of this movie weeks before it even comes out in theaters, we may have a problem.

  • Oh god.

    I saw this piece of tripe at a test screening a few months ago.  We walked into the theatre and, you know, I was excited, I'd never seen a test screening before.  Then we see all these suits and people who are obviously involved with the movie.  They all look unhappy.  

    Turns out it's because the movie was EMBARRASSINGLY AWFUL.  They knew it, and they were bracing themselves for impact.  

    If it was received well at all it was because it was a free movie.  I have a good imagination; the film was like 20% final animation, and I still don't think that was the issue.

    The issue was EVERYTHING else.  Unless this movie has completely been reworked, it is the most formulaic piece of tripe I've seen in a long, long time.  The relationships between characters are either unrealistic or just plain creepy, there's no logic to anything that happens, and the story takes like 3 plot twists so random you forget you're watching the same movie.

    Even the character and art design was BLAH BLAH BLAH.  SO boring, yawn.  Must all bees look like the Cheerios bee?  Apparently they must.

    Like I said... Unless it's been reworked, which seems possible considering they did a test screening for it *very* early on, this movie is a stinking pile of poo.

    And oh, I was REALLY looking forward to it when I saw those funny live-action commercials for the film.  THOSE are entertaining.  So this is coming from someone who actually had an interest to see this particular movie.  But now I think you'd have to pay me to sit through it again.  

    ...Did I mention I didn't like it?  ;)

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