In cinemas this week, Studio 100 brings the third in a series of children’s favourite and German classic, Maya The Bee, amazingly over one hundred years old and returning to the big screen once again to lift the young kids’ spirits as the enthusiastic bee looking for adventure.
The film starts off with Maya (Coco Jack Gillies) full of the joys of spring as she tries to wake the hive to let them know that spring has finally sprung, but in her over excitement she ends up wrecking the hive and the precious sun stone, much to the displeasure of the Queen bee. Maya overhears that she and her best friend Willi (Benson Jack Anthony) are to be separated because of their calamitous partnership and she needs no further invitation to get away from the hive ‘to do something special’ in order to prove her and Willi’s worth to stay together. This opportunity comes in the unexpected guise of a passing ant who is on the run from the muscle bound beetle boom-bugs, who are after the golden orb he’s carrying. It turns out this golden orb is the egg of the ant princess Smoosh (Evie Gillies), the heir to the ant kingdom, now in the hands of Maya and Willi who have to return her home safely to Bonsai Peak.
It’s a simple rescue plot suited to a young audience with Maya the effervescent bee dragging her reluctant best friend Willi along for the ride and find themselves challenged with the new found responsibilities of looking after a young hatchling ant. The villains are the boom-bugs led by the power crazed Bombulus (Christian Charisiou), who demands the capture of the princess whilst having a tendency to break-out into a School of Rock style song. Then there are the giant birds who strike fear into even the beefed-up boom-bugs with their scary wide-eyed threat to eat them all.
This is a feel good animation for the kids that is understated, in keeping with its long running cartoon tradition. It goes less for the all action comedy, although is not without its silly gags, instead relying on a more species compassionate storyline. Suitable for the youngest of audiences with its big graphics, transporting you deep into the vegetation underworld in this epic battle between the ants and the beetles, and not forgetting the serendipitous intervention of Maya and Willi.
Film: Maya The Bee: The Golden Orb
Director: Noel Cleary
Stars: Coco Jack Gillies, Benson Jack Anthony, Frances Berry
Genre: Animation / Kids
Run time: 1hr 20min