Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? 

But this is no peep show. Director/producer Taggart Siegel (“The Real Dirt on Farmer John”) has loftier goals in mind with this documentary on colony collapse disorder. That's a fancy-sounding scientific phrase for the disappearance ’round the globe of worker bees.

While the insectophobic among us may think that's not that big a deal, “Queen of the Sun” wishes to wake you up to threat it brings to our crops: With no pollination, we'd become a carb society — “just bread and oatmeal,” says one expert. Another points out the serious toll this burgeoning crisis brings to the table, as roughly four of every 10 bites of food one consumes is made possible by bees.

So, yeah, it's a problem.

Unfortunately, the doc feels too much like a lesson. That may be Siegel's entire intent, but in an age where the genre has turned so many educational subjects into simultaneously entertainment, a little spoonful of sugar would help the medicine go down easier.

It tries. Siegel's work is well-shot, even beautifully so, and explanatory sequences are cast in varied styles of animation, from stop-motion and cut-out to traditional, hand-drawn cartoons. One even looks reminiscent of colored-pencil illustrations from a children's book. Yet this is not enough to bring some rather dry material to a more accessible level for mass audiences. They're not likely to be attracted to it, anyway. —Rod Lott

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