Cutting Board: Us, Minority Report, and The Bee Movie

I swear this is randomized. If it weren’t, I would have written about The Bee Movie much sooner.

We open with a bee in a cage. It has a weirdly human face. The camera slowly zooms out to reveal hundreds of bees in cages. The bees look disturbingly humanoid as they languish in their captivity.

From visionary director Jordan Beele

Cut to our protagonist Lupita as a young girl. She’s at a carnival with her parents, but she wanders off and discovers an eerie house of mirrors. The tension builds as she wanders the halls. There’s an ominous buzzing in the background.

Then she sees it – a girl who looks just like her. She and the girl walk closer. The buzzing gets louder. Then it stops. She and the girl are face to face. It’s just her reflection. Tension diffused, momentarily. Or is it?

She looks closer at her reflection and notices a bee, hovering silently, watching her. She looks closer at the bee’s face and realizes that it looks like hers – which is beyond frightening, seeing a six-year-old girl’s face on a bee. The bee grins ominously.

Ya like jazz?

Suddenly there’s a scream. The buzzing starts again, even louder than before. She runs outside and finds a homeless man writhing in the sand, being swarmed by bees. He’s shouting and contorting in agony as the bees consume him. Young Lupita watches in horror.


Title Card: Bees.

Cut to the present day, New York City. Lupita lives a seemingly normal life in the suburbs with her boyfriend Patrick. Quick expository scene while they eat breakfast – she works at the FBI, she’s obsessed with her job, Patrick wants more time with her, she thinks he’s a distraction, they argue, they make out, he drives her to work, the usual.

I Got Hive On It

At the FBI office, her boss assigns her a case about a missing girl. This type of case resonates with her, since she had a traumatic childhood experience wandering away from her parents. Quick flashback to the opening scene with her in the house of mirrors. She agrees to take the case.

The next 15-20 minutes are her working the case – interviewing parents, talking to neighbors, ‘where did you last see your daughter’ sort of questions. No luck, no leads, she calls it a day. She and Patrick play tennis, and she vents about how discouraging and depressing these sorts of cases make her.

The next day, she gets a lead – an anonymous tip that the girl was last seen at a flower shop. She visits the shop, where the owner, creepy Tim, starts rambling about free will, predestination, and the apocalypse. Lupita is puzzled, and keeps pressing him about the missing girl. Suddenly Tim’s eyes go wide, he smiles, and writes down an address. Lupita thanks him and leaves – he starts rambling about his romantic life as if she was never there.

Those crazy legs kept me up all night…

Lupita drives to the address, which is for a honey farm. At first she’s afraid to get out of her car – she’s deathly allergic to bees. But a chiseled beekeeper named Mr. Cruise taps on her window and assures her that the bees won’t hurt her. He invites her into his office for some coffee.

In his office, Lupita explains that she got a tip to check the farm for the missing girl. Mr. Cruise’s eyes light up. He says the whole case was fabricated to get her attention – the girl isn’t actually missing, and her family was lying about her disappearance. It was all a ruse that Mr. Cruise created so that Lupita would come to visit his honey farm. He knew that with her history, she would investigate the case, and he feels that she’s the only one who he can trust with the truth.

Lupita is rather put off and skeptical, but then she gets a call from her boss – the girl turned up, the case is closed. She’s still cautious, but with the girl safely home, she’s willing to indulge Mr. Cruise’s pending conspiracy theory. He drops the bombshell: imagine if we could predict crimes before they happen? He starts rambling about how bees hold the key, and how we could stop crime as we know it, and it’s the biggest breakthrough of the millennium.

According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly! Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground!! The bee, of course, flies anyway because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible...

Lupita smiles and nods politely. Unbeknownst to Mr. Cruise, she secretly requested backup a few minutes earlier, for her own safety. Before long, two police cars show up. They arrest Mr. Cruise for [insert criminal charge for faking a child abduction]. Lupita is relieved, and she completely ignores his ravings as they lock him in the car.

But as she’s about to leave, one of the bees catches her attention. Its face seems weirdly human, like the one she saw as a child. That evening, she can’t think about anything else. She tells Patrick what’s going on, he’s both doubtful and jealous, and insists that her obsession with work is making her crazy. Lupita storms out to investigate on her own.

Why is yogurt night so difficult?!

It’s almost midnight when she arrives back at the honey farm. She breaks into the office and starts searching for clues. Nothing stands out, but then she sees a motivational poster about honey. On a hunch, she picks up a bottle of honey sitting on the table – it activates a secret panel in the wall! Success!

She ventures excitedly into a secret underground layer. It’s a massive, sprawling bee-city with hundreds of thousands of bees. Except it looks like a scale model of New York City. There are skyscrapers, taxis, suburbs, pedestrians – and the bees are behaving like humans. They’re walking on two feet and living as New Yorkers.

Lupita is stunned. She finds a control console with a video archive; she plays the first video, which Mr. Cruise had prepared as exposition. He explains that every human has a corresponding bee ‘shadow’ – a bee that mimics them and lives their lives, almost like puppets. Whatever the human does in the real world, the bee does in the underground bee world.

He explains further that the bee world can be critical to the prevention of crime. It’s much easier to monitor a world of bees, after all, as opposed to a world of humans. So if you notice that a gang of bees are about to shoot somebody, you know that a gang of humans are about to do it in real life, and therefore you can stop them preemptively. In the bee world, you can keep track of everybody, so you can predict their actions more accurately on a larger scale.

I call them Bee-cogs

The video ends. Lupita’s mind is blown. On the console, she pulls up a live feed from cameras inside Bee York City. One of them shows a robbery taking place in a convenience store. She turns on her police scanner and hears that there’s a robbery at the same store in the human world. It’s true. The bees really do mimic us.

Lupita is hyper-enlightened. She’s reeling from the epiphany and shock of it all. At least now she understands the bee from her childhood. She locates the cameras for the honey farm, and sure enough, there’s a lone bee in the basement with her face. The bee turns slowly toward the camera and smiles at her.

Begin the finale. In a shocking twist, Lupita’s bee double flies out of the miniature city and confronts her directly. They have an epic battle, which ends with the bee stinging Lupita, thus killing them both.

Die, bee-otch!

As they lay on the ground, dying, Lupita has a revelation. Mr. Cruise had it all wrong. The bees don’t mimic us… we mimic them. They’re the ones calling the shots, not the humans. As Lupita and her bee-cog gasp for breath, the other bees begin wreaking havoc. They burn down buildings, blow up houses, crash cars, and destroy the city. A similar apocalypse takes place above ground in the real New York City. And while the bees can simply fly away from the chaos, the humans are trapped, helpless. Mr. Cruise watches with morbid fascination from his jail cell. The uprising is only just beginning.

We will no longer be honey slaves to the white man!

End credits.