IMAX Pictures via Everett Collection
Actor Morgan Freeman is preparing to become a professional apiculturist after deciding to house 26 hives of bees on his Mississippi estate.
The Shawshank Redemption star, 77, has a keen interest in helping to save the insects from extinction and has started to turn his home into a honey bee haven. He explains, "I just received, two weeks ago, 26 hives of bees, so I'm very busy... I'm beekeeping..."
"There's a concerted effort to bring bees back onto the planet... We do not realise that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation... I have so many flowering things and I have a gardener too. Because she takes care of the bees too, all she does is figure out, 'OK, what would they like to have?', so we've got acres and acres of clover, we're planting stuff like lavender, I've got like, maybe 140 magnolia trees, big blossoms."
However, Freeman has so far decided against donning the traditional beekeeping hat with netted veil to avoid being stung, because he insists there has been no need for the extra protection. He says, "I've not ever used (the beekeeping hat) with my bees... They haven't (stung me) yet, because right now I'm not trying to harvest honey or anything, I'm just feeding them... I think they understand, 'Hey, don't bother this guy, he's got sugar water here.'"
Freeman, who is known for his environmental activism, isn't the first celebrity to take up the hobby - he follows in the footsteps of late actor Henry Fonda and lifestyle queen Martha Stewart, while 2 Broke Girls actress Beth Behrs and her boyfriend, Mad Men star Michael Gladis, have also become amateur beekeepers.
Actress Beth Behrs is training to become a professional apiculturist to help save honey bees from extinction. The 2 Broke Girls star reveals her boyfriend, Mad Men actor Michael Gladis, inspired her to take up the hobby in a bid to do her part to combat the decline of bee populations across the globe, and she can't wait to make use of the by-products from the hive.
Behrs says, "I've been reading all about colony collapse and rescuing hives in urban areas... and so my boyfriend was a beekeeper before and then he had to move and leave his hive so we're getting a new one...
"We'd like to definitely use the honey and give it to our friends and family, and then there's so much you can do with wax: lipgloss, candles... (But saving the bees), that's the most important thing."
While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]