This gorgeously realized two-minute Greenpeace film posits a near future where honeybees, currently threatened by colony collapse, are replaced by robotic simulacra that pollinate fields and keep our ecosystem in balance.
OMG, these robot bees will kill us all! That's more or less the response this video, from animation studio Woodblock and Alexander Kalchev, director with Polynoid, is designed to evoke, even though it merrily buzzes along without a single bee attack. In fact, the imagery and narration are sunny and reassuring. Yet they court disaster at every turn.
We're told that robo-bees can be cheaply mass produced, boast sophisticated triangulation technology, never tire, and best of all, "nothing can harm them." Of course, the bots "are programmed not to harm us." Sure, they can "release insecticide to kill predators." But that's just for self-defense. No need to worry that these super-bees would make deadly efficient aeriel drones. Why swarm in panic? What could possible go wrong?
Shots of kids frolicking in the grass with the micro-monstrosities are especially unnerving, and the spot's true message is communicated at the very end: "Should we create a new world or save our own?"
Obviously, Greenpeace is saying we should take steps to ensure the survival of real honeybees or face uncertain, even frightening consequences. The group's recent "Greenbees" clip used broader humor to make the same point.
The new spot is slyly provocative and engaging. Still, it won't be easy getting through to society's apathetic hive-mind, which mostly wishes activists would just buzz off.