“Epic” is an animated action/adventure movie from the people who brought you the “Ice Age” franchise and “Rio”. In it, a plucky young girl finds herself magically miniaturized and thrown into the middle of a battle for the future of the forest.
Up tempo, occasionally humorous and brightly animated, “Epic” is sure to fit the bill for families and kids looking for a trip to the movies.
When Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) moves in with her scientist father (Jason Sudeikis) after many years apart, she discovers that he’s become obsessed with a theory that forests are actually populated by miniature people. “M.K.” chastises him for living in isolation, and for dedicating his life to researching such an offbeat hypothesis. In frustration, she storms out of the house… only to discover her father was right.
The woods surrounding her father’s house are full of small, intelligent creatures, some human-like, others who are talking animals and plants. The Queen of these creatures (Beyoncé Knowles) is protected by a legion of “Leafmen”, an army of men that wear insect-shell armor, are armed with bows and arrows, and fly on saddled hummingbirds. Led by Ronin (Colin Farrell) the Leafmen protect the Queen from the threat of the Boggans (led by Christoph Waltz), agents of decay and rot who want to destroy the Queen and rid the forest of her regenerative abilities, in order to destroy it.
When M.K. comes upon the Queen in need of assistance, she finds herself being shrunk and charged with protecting a magical flower pod that can keep the forces protecting the forest intact. With the help of Nod (Josh Hutcherson), a young man too hot-headed for the Leafmen, Ronin, and a snail and a slug charged with protecting the pod (Chris O’Dowd and Aziz Ansari, respectively), M.K. will have to find the mysterious Nim Galuu (Steven Tyler), a magical glow-worm who holds the answers to the secrets of the flower.
Shrunk to the size of an insect, thrown into the middle of an epic conflict, and charged with protecting a pivotal item, will M.K. be able to answer the challenge, end the battle and eventually find her way home?
“Epic” is an animated action/adventure movie with an emphasis on action. It aims to portray an “epic” conflict, with loads of battle scenes, a bit of mythology, and an enormous scope (when you’re the size of an insect, the forest is a really big place!). There are numerous sequences of the Leafman in flight on their birds, swooping through the trees. There are also several large-scale battle sequences against the Boggans, and a “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”-esque sequence as the miniaturized M.K. briefly seeks help at her father’s house. Not to imply that the film is devoid of humor, but “Epic” is a much more action oriented animated offering than most seem to be nowadays.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the character designs (especially the humans, they’re a bit goofy looking for my taste), but the environments were astonishing at times. The hummingbird flying sequences were exciting, and certain still shots of the forest were impressively gorgeous as well. Blue Sky did a remarkable job of creating a beautiful animated world for this conflict of good vs evil to unfold in.
The story itself is simplistic, as is the wont for films aimed at children. But it holds things together adequately for the action and animation to win you over. I certainly think that kids will be satisfied with it, and it won’t put off adults who take them to see it, either.