Shout! Factory Maya The Bee

Last updated date: July 29, 2019

DWYM Score
5.8


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We looked at the top Children's Movies and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Children's Movis you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 84 expert reviews, the Shout! Factory Shout! Factory Maya The Bee placed 10th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 20, 2019:
Checkout The Best Children’s Movie for a detailed review of all the top children's movies.

Expert Summarized Score
4.6
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.3
5,795 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Cute bee adventure teaches about inclusion and cooperation.
- Common Sense Media
The eponymous heroine of this animated film aimed at very young children is a plucky apian moppet who has a mildly exciting adventure in the meadow and then goes home. Along the way she makes friends with another nerdy bee and a feisty yet likable hornet kid and, indeed, manages to forge a peace accord between all insects in the microclimate while finding her place in the hive and learning to love herself.
- The Guardian
October 22, 2015 | Full review
Alexs Stadermann, directing from a script by Marcus Sauermann and Fin Edquist, keeps the story humming along genially, while the voice cast, also including Miriam Margoyles as the kindly Queen and Jacki Weaver as her conniving royal advisor, provides the spirited uplift. It’s all packaged in bright, honey-dipped primary colors that should sufficiently engage younger kids while the attention spans of older siblings and parents will no doubt be taking flight.
- The Hollywood Reporter
April 29, 2015 | Full review
Maya is a sweet new bee to the hive and very inquisitive about the outside world. This is an enjoyable and entertaining movie that shares important values about friendship, especially with those who may be different than yourself, not judging others, and helping one another in difficult situations.
- Dove
- Metacritic
- Rotten Tomatoes
The good thing about this movie is that Maya rallies her friends to stop the war, rescue the Queen and, above all, learn the importance of being herself every day. The film ends with a party where—surprise!–Hank and the Queen self-conscious dance together.
- Indie Wire
May 1, 2015 | Full review
Maya, voiced by Coco Jack Gillies, is playful and she's a dreamer.
- Movie Nation
April 28, 2015 | Full review
I have never known a bee to be so stinkin’ cute! But with Maya the Bee, I have to say she is the nicest, cutest bee I have ever watched and I wasn’t nervous about her stinging me. The animation in this movie is bright and fun with adventure, reflection, patience and friendship.
- What U Talking Bout Willis
May 18, 2015 | Full review
Awkward, immature and flighty, she attracts disapproval from the severe Buzzlina, counselor to the queen. She decides to go off and discover the wonderful world of the prairie, where she makes not only new friends, but also stumbles upon terrible enemies who threaten the hive.
- Cineman
February 5, 2015 | Full review
What experts didn't like
There are some threatening hornets and a couple of scarier moments when it looks like a character is hurt.
- Common Sense Media
Although the inclusive, vaguely ecological moral message is hard to argue with, it’s pretty charmless stuff, low on wit, cheaply designed and so saccharine even reception-age kids might roll their eyes.
- The Guardian
October 22, 2015 | Full review
The result is safely benign stuff that doesn’t feel all that different from the sort of programming you’d find on PBS Kids and, as such, it’s unlikely this Shout! Factory release will generate much of a buzz beyond female preschoolers.
- The Hollywood Reporter
April 29, 2015 | Full review
But “Maya”, which has been filmed a few times, turned into video games and was even a Japanese anime TV series, is more harmless than entertaining, a limp exercise in cinematic baby-sitting for the six-and-under set.
- Movie Nation
April 28, 2015 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

In spite of her hive's warnings, freshly hatched bee Maya continues trust other bugs, befriending a violin playing grasshopper, a dung beetle and even the untrustworthy hornets! When the Royal Jelly is stolen, the hornets are the prime suspects and Maya is thought to be their accomplice. Now, it's up to Maya and all of her new friends to prove her innocence and find the missing Royal Jelly!

Overall Product Rankings

1. Magic Light Pictures Room on the Broom
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 4
2. Walt Disney Pictures Brave
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 8
3. Magic Light Pictures The Gruffalo
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 4
4. Disney – Pixar Monsters Inc
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 13
5. Magic Light Pictures The Gruffalo’s Child
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 4
6. PARAMOUNT PICTURES Charlotte’s Web
Overall Score: 6.9
Expert Reviews: 9
7. Fox The Peanuts Movie
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 10
8. Walt Disney Pictures Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
Overall Score: 6.3
Expert Reviews: 7
9. Walt Disney Pictures A Goofy Movie
Overall Score: 6.0
Expert Reviews: 5
10. Shout! Factory Maya The Bee
Overall Score: 5.8
Expert Reviews: 10

An Overview On Children's Movies

As a parent, you’ve got tons of choices to make about what your child listens to, watches and reads. Are they old enough to handle the language of that song? Will they get something worthwhile out of that book? Is this movie’s message something they’ll pick up on?

That’s enough to make anyone exhausted, especially in a time when you’ve got endless content to choose from. Luckily, a great movie can teach them a lot (and give you a little time to put your feet up).

Storytelling is inherently valuable. A great story teaches your children how to tell their own stories. It also encourages them to empathize with characters who are different from them and shows them that there are many different ways to look at and experience the world. Finding that perfect movie for this moment in your kid’s life is a gift for both you and your child. 

The best children’s movies combine a compelling plot with relatable characters and exciting visuals. We’ve done the research for you and picked the best kid flicks around. Take a look at our Tips & Advice for specific info on these fantastic films. 

DYWM Fun Fact

Many childhood favorites are fully animated, but early animated films bear little resemblance to the CGI-heavy flicks of today.  Many people think of the 1928 short “Steamboat Willie” when they think about early animation, but the first animated film was released two decades earlier. 

“Fantasmagorie” by French artist Émile Cohl was the first animated film. It debuted in 1908, and it was about a stick figure interacting with various objects that transformed before your eyes (like a flower stalk turning into an elephant’s trunk). The animator’s hands were purposely featured in several frames. It clocked in at a minute and 17 seconds, and it was part of the Silent Era of animated films.

Synchronized sound came about in animated films around 1924. This was the “Steamboat Willie” era, and most of the action in that short movie revolves around Willie making sounds. The steamboat sounds and Willie’s whistling made this flick stand out. 

Color was finally featured in animated films in 1930. Steamboat Willie was rebranded as Mickey Mouse. His universe rapidly expanded with the addition of Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck. Popeye, Betty Boop and Superman began dominating screens during this time, and Warner Bros. also launched Looney Tunes. 

Technology kept moving forward, improving the quality and realism of animated films.  “The Rescuers Down Under” was the first film that used digital ink and paint in 1990, and “Toy Story” made history in 1995 — it was the first feature film fully animated with computers. 

Today’s animated films can combine different styles, like cutouts, Claymation and old-fashioned hand drawings, to bring unforgettable stories to life. We’ve come a long way since stick figures and steamboats.

The Children's Movis Buying Guide

  • The most obvious feature you’ll want in a children’s movie is an engaging story. There are plenty of kids’ movies that are just slapped together, but even young children can tell the difference between a movie with heart and a storyline that falls apart. “Room on the Broom” is only 30 minutes long, but the story about a generous witch who teams up with her friends to fight a dragon is bewitching. The movie was even nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.
  • Many kids’ movies are animated, and the best animated flicks are thoughtful about the medium and how it relates to the movie’s story. Great visuals add oomph to any kids’ movie. “The Gruffalo” uses a combination of Claymation and CGI to bring its story to life. It’s based on the children’s book of the same title, and the animation matches the book’s illustrations to help the story translate to the big screen. Pixar favorite “Monsters, Inc.” uses digital animation to capture every strand of Sulley’s teal fur. 
  • You can find a film with a great story and breathtaking animation, but it won’t matter if it’s not age-friendly for your kid. The length of the film, the complexity of the plot and the movie’s themes all play a role in determining whether it’s appropriate for your child’s age group. “Room on the Broom” and “The Gruffalo” are both ideal for the youngest viewers. They both have a runtime of 40 minutes or less, and the stories combine simple themes with novel animation to keep very young children (ages 5 and under) interested. Pixar’s “Brave” runs for an hour and 40 minutes. It has more complex themes, like promoting independence and standing up for your beliefs. (It’s also Pixar’s first film starring a female protagonist.) It’s rated PG, and it’s probably best for children ages 8 and up. 
  • Speaking of themes, movies can be a fun way to emphasize lessons you’re trying to teach your children in real life. It never hurts to have a fun movie with a great message in your home. “Room on the Broom”  speaks to the power of friendship in the face of adversity. “Monsters, Inc.” demonstrates how teamwork can get the job done, and it encourages the audience to give new people a chance. Seeing life lessons play out with fun characters can help kids connect with new ideas more easily.
  • No one knows your kid’s interests better than you. Many children love repetition, and they’ll watch the same film over and over again. If you’re going to invest in a movie to watch at home, you may as well get the most out of your money and make sure it’s something your little one will enjoy watching on repeat. “Monsters, Inc.” has a multilayered story with plenty of Pixar Easter eggs that make every viewing a little bit different. 
  • Obviously, your child will be the one watching their movie, but you’ll be around the house when the TV is on. It doesn’t hurt to pick a children’s film that you’ll also enjoy. You can watch it together for some family bonding time, and the movie won’t drive you crazy if you’re just trying to work at home. Pixar’s films, like “Brave” and “Monsters, Inc.” both include sly jokes for adults that will fly over younger children’s heads. “Room on the Broom” and “The Gruffalo” are both beautifully animated — it will feel like you’re watching art, not patiently waiting through a movie for kids. Plus, both of those films have famous adult actors as part of the cast (Helena Bonham Carter narrates “The Gruffalo” and Gillian Anderson’s voice makes a cameo in “Room on the Broom”).