Akeelah and the Bee
I saw both "Spellbound" and "Bee Season", so I really have to wonder what exactly director Doug Atchison and the rest of the folks behind "Akeelah and the Bee" were thinking. Hey, let's make another film about spelling bees because people just can't get enough spelling bees.
Personally, I've had enough spelling bees. Apparently, if we're to believe "Akeelah and the Bee", a good spelling bee and the motivation to compete in one can make everything right in the world. Among the many things it does are:
- Brings Akeelah closer to her mother (Angela Bassett) who's ignoring her.
- Make her mother realize the importance of fostering a child's natural interests.
- Brings people of different backgrounds together. Akeelah befriends a Latino speller (J.R. Villarreal) and an Asian speller (Sean Michael).
- Teaches adults the importance of seizing every opportunity. Akeelah's teacher, Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne) saves loads on therapy because he completely recovers from a bout of severe depression during the bee.
- Teaches the importance of sharing and the lesson that winning isn't the most important thing.
There are probably some things I'm missing, but rest assured, whatever I might have forgotten, Atchison is sure to accompany those moments with music that sounds like it was stolen from the "Superman" soundtrack.
Personally, I was annoyed the entire movie by the fact that Akeelah's principal was played by Curtis Armstrong, who played Booger on "Revenge of the Nerds". I know this is the sort of thing that only affects people like me who've seen more movies than they care to count, but it doesn't change the fact that Akeelah's principal was Booger. Another annoying point - this movie was produced in part by Starbucks, so we get that nice big Starbucks logo at the beginning. Fortunately, I didn't notice any product placement, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time. I guess we can assume that when Akeelah gets older, she will drink Starbucks coffee.
"Akeelah and the Bee" for all its good intentions, is more a less the third film in a series of films that should have stopped with the first one. Hollywood simply never knows when to stop.
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