"Colony: The Endangered World of Bees" DVD Review
March 24, 2011 by Zach Demeter
Few people realize that honey bees pollinate one-third of our fruits and vegetables. In fact, these incredible insects play a vital role in producing our food and ensuring our survival. An eye-opening account of a little-known, yet essential, subculture in America, Colony brings to life the fascinating world of bees – and the frightening possibility of their disappearance.
Although honey bees are some of the most resilient, efficient and industrious insects, entire colonies are dying off. Why? COLONY investigates the circumstances and the impacts of “colony collapse disorder” by focusing on beekeepers dealing with the crisis. As these families and individuals struggle to understand this lethal problem, they illuminate the devastating effects of bee extinction not just on bees, but on people.
Even though it seems only recently discussion about entire colonies of bees dying started, it really has been going on for quite awhile now. Of course what stands out most to me about this whole situation is Mark Wahlberg’s ridiculous role in The Happening, where not only bees were dying, but plants were evil and you had to sweet talk them. In any case, Colony really is one of those eye opening documentaries, both in terms of the gravity of the situation as well as just how important honey bees are to our everyday way of life.
The documentary goes back to the most basic of approaches with its material in that it even recounts how the colonies work in general. We then move through not only the phenomenon that is the disappearance of the bees, but also how hard that has made it for beekeepers and the farmers who depend on them to pollinate their crops. It’s a very interesting documentary and a lot more engaging than I thought it’d be, simply because…well, this isn’t high school and I don’t really care to attend science classes anymore. Still though I was impressed by not only how accessible the material was but also the genuine plight that is occurring as a result of our dwindling bee population.
We focus majorly on the Seppi family of Pixley, California, who have made their entire family and life surround bees. While they are the focus (and we get to see their business skills come into play as farmers say they can no longer afford the price of their bees) of the documentary, we do expand into other beekeepers as well and ultimately we get a fair spread overall. It’s not as if this is a one sided story so multiple angles aren’t required; it’s not like we’re able to deny that the bees are just disappearing so it’s easy to see what kind of impact this would have on…well, everyone.
Overall Colony is a Recommended documentary. While it may act more as a high school special (although with excellent production qualities, obviously) with how much “schooling” it gives you, this is one issue that won’t hurt having a bit more knowledge about as it doesn’t seem to be as much of a concern in general world news anymore.
New Video/docuramafilms brings Colony to DVD in a standard amaray DVD case. Nothing overly special about the presentation of the documentary here—no fancy exterior cardboard slipcase and the cover itself looks rather simplistic. Video and audio is a solid presentation overall and about what you’d expect from a documentary. As can be expected from a documentary the video is in 1.85:1 and the audio is a simple DD2.0 mix. There are no extras.
Overall a disc that’s worth a Rental as I’m not sure if you’d ever want to come back and watch this a second time, but it’s definitely worth checking out at least once.
Colony: The Endangered World of Bees arrives on DVD on March 29th.