Beekeeper Review: Uncle Boonmee

Boonmee is the title character of the film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. He’s a Thai farmer who, as of the events of the movie, is suffering from a kidney illness that will lead to his death.

The film uses a dreamy logic to let one’s imagination run wild, which is neat and all, but it makes it hard for a humble Beekeeper Reviewer to get his facts straight. I like my Beekeepers to have supernatural powers, but it’s hard to judge here. For example, if Boonmee is, in fact, capable of recalling his past lives it doesn’t come up much beyond knowing that the cave in which he dies is one in which he was born in some other life. But reincarnation isn’t the only supernatural element in the film. In the time leading up to his death, Boonmee’s deceased wife comes to visit him as a ghost. Similarly, his long-lost son returns as some form of forest spirit. Before he dies he has a dream of a possible future. None of these occurrences are directly related to his Beekeeping (though he did create his apiary after his wife’s death because it was something she always wanted). He takes all such events in stride, though, which is nice.

It’s easier to judge Boonmee’s personality, and he seems like a nice guy. He appears to treat his workers well and he has less prejudice toward immigrants than others in his family. He considers his illness is a karmic retribution for having killed many communists in war, which I feel is a sign that he has prowess as a fighter (a plus in my reviews) and he has learned that violence isn’t particularly noble (also a plus in my reviews). Furthermore, he feels the karmic retribution is also for beetles he’s killed in protecting his farm, showing his respect for nature.

Before he dies, he tells his sister-in-law to take over his farm. He says “After I die, I will find a way to help you.” I kinda believe him.

3 Honeycombs out of Five.

Worth noting: The film is based on a book about a man who claimed to recall his past lives while meditating. I don’t know if that Boonmee was a beekeeper at all, but either way this movie is inspired by that man, but is not about that man, so the film’s version of Boonmee still counts as a Fictional Beekeeper.

Beekeeper Review: Citizens of Earth’s Beekeeper

“She is part-support and part-offense, able to fit into most party combinations. With her bee companions, she is able to inflict status ailments as well as buff her allies!”

Citizens of Earth is a computer game in which the player is the Vice President of the World and all the NPCs are potential members of the VP’s team. Naturally, one of those potential teammates is a Beekeeper.

By the end of the game the Beekeeper has potentially travelled inside the Internet, ridden Ogopogo, fought monsters inside dreams, and defeated alien warlords in combat. That’d be an impressive resume for any adventurer and would stand out against most other Beekeepers I’ve reviewed, but here, in this game, all of that stuff is also true of every other character. In this game, that’s just the baseline amount of cool that any character can have. Is there anything to justify this Beekeeper highly apart from that stuff?

I’m not going to try and build suspense for this review. The answer is yes. Yes, this is a damned high-ranking Beekeeper. First of all, most Beekeepers in videogames are what I call Apiarists in Distress. Usually the Beekeepers are in trouble and they wait for the game’s protagonist to come get them out of it. And sure, this game’s Beekeeper does give the player a quest, but it isn’t because she’s in danger or needs his help. She’s just unwilling to leave her work early to help the VP unless he pitches in on keeping bees, which makes sense to me.

And, of course, the fighting prowess and supernatural powers that I look for are not lacking in the slightest. She can beat up a lot of monsters, with her bees stinging single enemies or groups of enemies and has a powerful thermal attack. But don’t think she just puts her bees at risk while she stays out of the action: she also has a very powerful attack called Final Sting that does a lot of damage to the target, but also reduces her hit points completely, in true bee style. Another videogame Beekeeper who spent a lot of time fighting was the one from Fist Puncher. She was a badass fighter and everything, but that was it. Her anger let her peak at badass. The Beekeeper in Citizens of Earth has other skills. She can have her bees defend her party, and she can heal her teammates, and she is able to offer a “Bee’s Eye View” to get a better look at the world around them. The fact that she has learned to use her bees and her knowledge for things other than just doing harm proves that she doesn’t let Beekeeper Rage rule over her. In fact, she’s downright happy most of the time.

What else? She wears a suit with bee colours. She speaks in incessant bee and honey puns. She’s written at least one book (“Lord of the Bees”). She lobbies for bee rights. Some of her bees can even speak. And it’s worth noting that when she joined the party, she was already a level 14, a starting point that only a couple other characters match and very few exceed. That means within the world she’s cool and tough even before she joins the VP’s adventure. She’s got it all.

Five Honeycombs out of Five! She’s a keeper.

Beekeeper Review: Daniel

Daniel is a Beekeeper who appeared in a commercial for whatever State Farm is. Jake from State Farm helped Daniel get a good deal on State Farms and now Daniel is showing Jake from State Farm his bees.

This is absolutely a case of me reviewing another perfectly normal human beekeeper. We see a couple of hives, but we can’t tell if he has a sprawling successful apiary of it this is all it is. Sure, he does some stuff that, were I was feeling generous, I could construe as hinting at supernatural. First, it’s worth noting that he removes his mask just before opening the hive to take out a honeycomb. This, I could claim, is a sign that he is immune to stings or whatever. Also, I notice that he offers Jake the chance to “meet” the queen, rather than just see the queen. If I were making my claims, I could infer this to mean Daniel has the ability to communicate with the queen. But I need to be an honest reviewer of Fictional Beekeepers. Daniel doesn’t seem to be supernatural, in spite of my wishes.

2 Honeycombs out of Five. Completely average level Beekeeper here.

Beekeeper Review: President Kring

We’ve got Beekeeper from a Star Trek comic book today. An alien beekeeper! Potentially the first keeper of alien bees I’ve reviewed. Fantasy world bees would technically be different from Earth bees, but they are treated the same in their stories. These are actual alien bees. Anyway, here’ goes:

The planet Njura is the largest planet in its star system and is home to the Njuran peoples. Long ago the Njurans established colonies on the other four worlds of their system and, for nearly a thousand years, the colony worlds were ruled by Emperors based on Njura. The last of those Emperors was Kring. Kring ruled during a period of bloody rebellion in the colonies and, indeed, he was overthrown. With the colonies now free, Kring was no longer the Emperor, but was elected President of Njura in an actual democratic election.

During the peaceful era of President Kring the Njurans began talks with the United Federation of Planets and accepted a visit from the USS Enterprise. When Kirk, Spock, and McCoy pay a visit, Kring proudly showed off his apiary, where he keeps the Njuran equivalent of bees, who produce a substance called varta, which is their version of honey. Varta is pink, but is still used in cake recipes and to sweeten tea and presumably other ways similar to our use of honey. But Kring isn’t just content to harvest varta. He actively breeds his bees to create new types. It’s clear he is very much into beekeeping, which is strange given how much it doesn’t come up at all in the rest of the story.

During the Federation’s visit, Kring threw a parade to show off all the agricultural ships and stuff he’d be giving to the colonies. Except, Spock figured out, it was all actually disguised military stuff. Kring was attempting a reconquest of the colonies and he was doing right in front of everyone. Oddly, after Kring is exposed, Kirk just assumed he had “learned his lesson” and the Federation team lied to the Njurans, creating a fictional villain and claiming that Kring had actually saved the day. After that, Kring earned the title “Keeper of the Peace”. It’s a weird little story.

Review time: Kring is objectively good at his apiarist craft, and he’s got access to technology perhaps not as advanced as the Federations, but better than we’ve got. He must have something going for him given that even after his defeat during the rebellion he is made President and rules in a time of peace (and given that Kirk was willing to cover for him). But that attempt to recapture the colonies really hurts his score, no matter how quickly he accepts his failure. At best I could say this was a case of succumbing to Beekeeper Rage. At worst, Kring is a straight-up supervillain. I wish I could rate him higher, but I cannot:

Three Honeycombs out of Five.

Beekeeper Review: Sam from Spy vs. Spy

We never see Sam. We’re not told anything about Sam. This single panel from the title section of a Spy vs. Spy strip is all we ever see of Sam’s Apiary. But I have to be thorough in my reviews, so it’s got to be done.

First we need to ask: Does Sam even exist? The titular spies spend a lot of time and effort setting up traps for each other and establishing a fake apiary would certainly be within their typical hijinks. But this scenario doesn’t seem to involve any such trickery. The Black Spy has simply tied up his enemy, make him appear to be a flower, and pushed him in among the hives. I think this was an existing honey farm and that Sam is indeed real.

Sam’s got to be pretty good. They’ve got dozens of hives on the go and the bees seem to be healthy. And they’ve achieved this level of success in a world where the Black and White armies are causing damage all the time every day forever. That’s impressive. But we just don’t know enough to rank Sam as anything more than an average Beekeeper.

Two Honeycombs out of Five.