Maya the Bee is back on Blu-ray with a brand new adventure that is certain to have viewers of all ages *ahem* buzzing courtesy of Shout! Factory and Studio 100. The adventure, Maya The Bee 2 comes a little more than two years after the release of its predecessor, Maya The Bee, which was also released via Shout! Factory and Studio 100. While it likely will not be unfamiliar to many audiences in its approach, this installment in the Maya The Bee franchise is still a story that is certain to entertain and engage viewers of all ages. That story is one part of what makes the movie worth at least one watch. The bonus material included with the movie adds to its entertainment, showing even more why this movie is worth seeing. The work of the movie’s cast plays its own part in the movie’s presentation, too, and will be discussed a little later on. Each element noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Maya The Bee 2. All things considered, they make Maya The Bee 2 a work that is certain to bring the whole family together, and in turn have viewers of all ages buzzing about this new animated feature.
Shout! Factory and Studio 100’s new animated import Maya The Bee 2 is another enjoyable entry in the bigger story of the little bee who could. It is definitely worth at least one watch. That is due in no small part to the story at the center of the movie. Many viewers may find that the movie at the center of the movie is not exactly unfamiliar. It is, at its core, an underdog tale centered on a competition that will decide the fate of two groups. In the case of this story, Maya and an unlikely group of ragtag misfits join together to defeat Violet and her friends so that Maya’s colony won’t have to sacrifice what little honey it has in a thin summer season. As expected Violet and her friends at first prove problematic for Maya and Team Poppy. That’s because of her villainous ways, including playing with the emotions of Maya’s best friend. As the story progresses, Violet of course learns her lesson and finally does the right thing, leading to a happy ending for all that includes Violet and Maya becoming friends. It’s anything but new in regards to the overall plot. Audiences have seen this already in the likes of Disney’s Pixie Hollow Games (one of its many Tinkerbell specials), Monsters University, Revenge of the Nerds and other similar movies and TV specials. Through it all are the common discussions on friendship, fair play and family that are tied in to the story’s secondary coming-of-age plot. That secondary plot sees Maya growing as she navigates the situation. That growth plays directly into the main plot, and in turn shows even more why the movie’s story, while not unfamiliar, is still reason enough for families to see it at least once. It is only one part of what makes Maya The Bee 2 an interesting watch. The bonus material that is included in the movie’s presentation strengthens that presentation even more.
The bonus material included with Maya The Bee 2’s home release is the standard fare, much as with its story – a behind-the-scenes making of featurette that shows how the movie came to life. Yet, it does its own share to entertain viewers and keep them engaged. The making of featurette gives viewers a glimpse into the process of the movie’s creation, from the importance of lining up the sound effects (and using the proper tools to create the sound effects) to the time and effort put into making the movie look as realistic as possible and more. It only runs roughly 20 minutes at the most, yet those discussions and the discussion on the very motivation for the movie’s creation come together the add even more reason for families to watch the movie. That’s because of the added appreciation that they create for the movie overall. Even with that added appreciation in mind, the noted elements are still not the last of the movie’s most important elements. The work of the movie’s cast is important in its own right to the movie’s presentation, too.
The work of the movie’s cast is important to note because while it is voice over work, it still requires its own share of effort and time. Luckily, that time and effort paid off, especially for lead voice actor Coco Jack Gillies (Mad Max: Fury Road, The evil’s Playground, Oddball and the Penguins), the voice of Maya. Whether in her happier moments or her more emotional moments, Gillies makes Maya a wholly sympathetic character for whom audiences will have no problem rooting. Case in point is the movie’s climax, in which Maya admits to the Queen (Justine Clark – Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Look Both Ways, Danny Deckchair) and to the Empress (Marny McQueen – Son of the Mask, The Mule, Bogan Pride) that she had disrespected each character, and in turn dishonored them. The humility that Gillies establishes in her delivery makes this moment one of the movie’s most memorable and engaging. That’s because of Gillies’ ability to make audiences believe her performance. A happier moment such as that when the Empress initially invites Maya to the games, is just as believable. Gillies’ cast mates do their own part in making the movie engaging, too. Linda Ngo (Top of the Lake, The Furies, Mako Mermaids) is just as enjoyable as the despicable and spoiled Violet. She brings to her performance, a certain something that makes audiences love to hate Violet. That is a tribute to Ngo’s work. Even as Violet has her change of heart, Ngo makes that moment believable even as predictable as it was. Benson Jack Anthony (800 Words, Emo The Musical, High Life) does a good job in his own right, too, even though Willi, Maya’s “sidekick” is not on screen but so much. Anthony makes the most of each appearance, making viewers applaud him, too. His performance gives plenty of hope for his future regardless of whether it is in voice work or actually on screen. Taking into account each of these performances and those not more directly discussed, the whole of the cast’s work proves to do just as much for Maya The Bee 2 as its story and bonus material. When all three elements are joined together, they make Maya the Bee a movie that is sure to have the whole family *ahem* buzzing.
Studio 100’s latest entry in its Maya The Bee franchise, The Honey Games is a surprisingly *sweet* new addition to the series in both senses of the word. That is due in part to a story that while not unfamiliar, still gives the story a new life in its dual plot. The bonus material included with the movie adds a certain extra depth to the story and its presentation. The work of the movie’s cast – both main and support – ensures in its own way, too, audiences engagement and entertainment. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Maya The Bee 2. All things considered, they make this movie a work that will have the whole family *buzzing.* More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:
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