Magazine article Screen International

Maya the Bee Movie

Magazine article Screen International

Maya the Bee Movie

Article excerpt

Dir: Alexs Stadermann. Australia-Germany. 2014. 87mins

Maya, a cheeky girl honeybee, was created in 1912 by German children's author Waldemar Bonsels. A century later, after a fondly remembered German television series in the late 1970s and a highly successful German/Austrian/Japanese series that began in 2012, Maya gets feature-length CGI animation via a German/Australian coproduction.

Maya herself is voiced by nine-year-old Gillies who does a jolly, infectious job as an innocent heroine with "more spunk than a barrowload of lightning bugs".

The German-voiced version has been successfully released in 11 territories ($5.1m after six weeks in Germany). At the English-voiced premiere in Sydney the cinema was packed with happily antennaed Bee fans.

This merry movie is for young children, mainly girls: step aside, Dora the Explorer! It gets a targeted local theatrical release from November 1, leaving time for a Christmas DVD release by Beyond Home Entertainment, accompanied by toys, games, apparel and accessories from Australian ABC Shops.

ABC broadcasts the current TV series and has invested in this feature, which boasts voice performers from the local A-list, including Jacki Weaver, Richard Roxburgh, Noah Taylor, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Miriam Margolyes.

In vivid colours and plenty of unthreatening action, young Maya (Aussie-accented Coco Jack Gillies) is bored with regimented hive life and takes to the meadows with her bee pal Willy (Smit-McPhee) in search of adventure. …

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