The Vanishing of the Bees (DVD)

Bee serious

Despite its small size, the common honey bee is of central importance to humanity. Responsible for the pollination and successful growth of various fruits, crops nuts and seeds on which we rely, the tireless work of the bees goes way beyond producing the honey for our morning toast. So the fact that across the United States and Europe honey bees have been vanishing without trace in their droves should be a cause for concern for us all, and director George Langworthy’s documentary attempts to present the facts along with firsthand accounts from those working in the industry.

Those looking for easy answers will be disappointed, as no-one seems to have got to the bottom of exactly why the bees seem to be dropping like, well, flies. It could be modern agricultural techniques, such as the use of pesticides; it could be the mass transportation of bees cross-country to force pollination or it could be scientific meddling, like the artificial insemination and replacement of the Queen Bee. It’s fascinating stuff, interspersed with those on the front line including old-school bee keepers and commercial farmers – which is why it’s such a shame that the film itself is so flat.

With some pieces of film being used several times over, cheap animated graphics linking sequences together and some emotionless narration from Emilia Fox, the presentation of the documentary just doesn’t match up to the explosive arguments it contains. So, while the cold hard facts may be important enough to make this a film worth watching, the message is in danger of getting lost to all but the most hardy of audiences. 3 stars

Extra Features
None available for review

Director George Langworthy
Distributor Dogwoof Pictures
Format DVD
Released February 1