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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Maya The Bee 2: The Honey Games is the follow-up to the television series, Maya the Bee, and one earlier film, Maya The Bee Movie. Maya, a young bee, is the heroine, supported by her best friend Willy. She is optimistic, brave, and loves helping others. Each of Maya's adventures results in the little bee learning some important life lessons and sharing those lessons with others. In this story, while competing in the annual bee kingdom's "Honey Games," Maya and company must best a mean-girl opponent, a wily spider, a not-too-scary beast, and the machinations of the bee kingdom's hierarchy. Expect some tumbles, chases, and narrow escapes that may scare only the youngest or most sensitive kids. All of the Maya stories are English adaptations (British/Australian dialects) of German productions, based on The Adventures of Maya the Bee, a book by Waldemar Bonsels, a consistently popular franchise that originated in 1912. Best for older preschoolers and early primary grades.
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What's the story?
Maya (voiced by Coco Jack Gilles), brave, determined, and smart, wants to help all the inhabitants of Poppy Meadow in MAYA THE BEE 2: THE HONEY GAMES. The bee kingdom's most royal leader, Empress of the Bees (Marney McQueen), has ordered the bees of Poppy Meadow to "contribute" half their summer honey harvest to her hive in Buzztropolis. What that means for Poppy Meadows is that there won't be nearly enough honey to see them through the winter. The gentle citizens of Poppy Meadows are appalled, especially Maya. Despite her Queen's orders, the little bee insists on intervening. Industrious and disobedient, Maya takes off for the Empress's headquarters in Buzztropolis, certain she can save the day. What's more, while there, Maya would love to participate in the annual Honey Games, to which no one from Poppy Meadows has ever been invited. Maya's plan works, but not without serious consequences. Maya is allowed enter a team in the Games, and if they win, they'll be able to keep their precious honey. Unfortunately, the bug participants from Poppy Meadow are insecure and untrained. And Maya's team didn't count on having to face Violet (Linda Ngo), the cheating, mean-girl leader of the Buzztroplis entrants. But Maya is not to be deterred. No underdog has retained such optimism while facing such insurmountable obstacles.
Is it any good?
Colorful, expressive animation; voice actors giving their all to whimsical, distinctive roles; and bugs and bees who are endowed with wonderfully human traits make this a charming film for families. Positive messages, and there are many in Maya the Bee 2: The Honey Games, are beautifully integrated into the story. Maya isn't always well-behaved, but she takes responsibility for her mistakes. The many featured characters shine as they learn something about their own specialness, about self-confidence, and trying new things. Honesty counts most of all. Even Violet, the potential bully, and the Empress, arrogant and smug, are touched by Maya's generous spirit, love of freedom, and passion for fairness. Young viewers who are comfortable with some mild cartoon action and suspense will be, too. Highly recommended.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the important lessons Violet learned in Maya the Bee 2: The Honey Games. What did Maya do to show Violet that there are more important things than winning in any contest? How was Maya rewarded for her honesty and courage?
Sometimes even good stories are "predictable." Viewers, including young ones, probably knew right from the beginning how this story would turn out. Can predictable movies be good movies? How did the filmmakers make Maya's journey interesting and suspenseful despite its predictability? Think about how the quirky, funny characters, as well as unique events in The Honey Games, added to the fun.
Encouraging others is an important part of this movie. In what ways did Maya encourage other characters? How did her ability to encourage members of the Poppy Meadow team change the outcome of the competition? Think of a friend or someone in your family who might need some encouragement. How could you help?
- On DVD or streaming: April 27, 2018
- Cast: Coco Jack Gillies, Benson Jack Anthony, Linda Ngo
- Directors: Noel Cleary, Sergio Delfino
- Studio: Shout! Factory
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Bugs, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Communication, Compassion, Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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