Epic

Epic

“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.

B+

Daniel Fogarty

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36 thoughts on “Epic

  1. from trailers this looks a bit A Bugs Life, meets Honey I shrunk the kids (which I love) and Avatar. So yeah, we will all no doubt go and see it lol! If I needed an excuse, which I really don’t to be honest, I am taking my little girl to go see this one. win -win!

    • Yeah, I brought one of my nieces, who’s 6. She enjoyed it quite a bit! It’s not a bad movie, by any means, there’s just nothing about it that stands out enough to make it be one of those animated movies that transcends ages and makes it something that everyone should see, you know? :(

      You and she will enjoy it though! Have fun! :D

  2. I havent heard much about this one Fogs but Honey I Shrunk The Kids sprung to mind when reading your plot summary. You even mention that movie so it sounds like something I could get into. I’ll try and get the kids to one as an excuse to see it myself ;-)

    • It had elements of that movie (Honey), but in reality, once the shrinking happens, they dont really focus on the shrinking aspect much outside of one scene. Its more of like a transportation to a new land kind of. Once she’s shrunk down, she’s not worrying too much about becoming big, she really is after saving the forest and joining the battle, you know?

      It is fun though. The voice talent is cool, I enjoyed that aspect of it too. I think you’ll enjoy it well enough Mark ;)

  3. Thanks. Glad to hear it was pretty good! My daughter really wants to see this one and now I can approach without trepidation. Sounds like a fun and not-the-usual-suspects voice cast, though methinks I detected only backhanded praise for the dialog or characterizations?: “Not to imply that the film was devoid of humor…”

    • Well… I actually should have mentioned the voices more I guess. There really was some decent work here from Farwell, Waltz, and Ansari and O’Dowd.

      What I meant by the “devoid of humor” thing was, they didnt try to make this movie a comedy like a lot of other kids movies. Most kids movies nowadays are comedies with action beats. This is an action movie with humor beats. Capisce?

  4. This was the one film I saw this weekend and I have to agree with you. The art work was fantastic. The film itself was very good but not something I would rush out to buy on video. Let’s see if the Academy nominates it next year.

    • It’s true. I’m well on the record saying I was unimpressed by the marketing here. Some of the character animation WAS actually pretty bland, but the movie itself manages to be relatively decent, Chris.

    • I went in not expecting much, but I had a good time with it. Definitely better than the mediocre trailers would indicate, though probably no threat for Animated Movie of the Year. ;)

  5. Honey I Shrunk the Kids meets The Burrowers meets Avatar, amirite? I really dug it, my score translates to a ‘B’ grade, I believe… It’s lots of fun, and the action sequences really were cool. I loved the animation. The only character that I thought looked ‘goofy’ was Bomba, but I think that’s intended so he’s made more eccentric, perhaps? Anyway, I thought Ansari and O’Dowd as Mub and Grub really stole the show. “YOUR STORIES ARE SO BORRRINGGGG AND TORTUROUS!!!!” LOL.

    (I have to start to go to animated movies in theatres late at night. I love the hell out of them, but the little tykes talking and asking questions becomes so tedious! I try to tune them out, I really do… But there’s so many of them! Haha.)

  6. Hey, glad you enjoyed this one Fogs. I haven’t got around to reviewing this one yet but I’d probably give it a 3.5/5 as visually it’s so gorgeous and the story was surprisingly engaging (unlike the vapid Jack the Giant Slayer). I agree the human characters (esp the dad who looks like Conan O’Brien) is odd looking but I LOVE the Leaf Men and especially the beautiful queen!

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed it as well! :D It was a surprise, indeed. LOL, I hadn’t thought of the similarities to Jack the Giant Slayer :Roll: Probably because that movie is so forgettable!!

      3.5 is pretty spot on I think Ruth, that’s right where I’ll be on my Lambscore ;)

      • Oh no similarities, just the fact that both are kids movies and have that ‘green’ theme somehow, ahah.

        I like the fact that this one isn’t too ‘Disney-fied’ either and Aziz Ansari is quite hilarious!

  7. Visited my cousin’s house today, and my aunt and uncle were there, after having just taken a couple my cousin’s kids to see this. Apparently they all had a good time, though the grown-ups thought the film was fun but fairly basic. Which, really, is all that’s to be expected. As my aunt said, it’s a kid’s cartoon, it’s going to be a simple good vs. evil plot.

    • Yup, that’s about where I’d put it. The story definitely was super basic, and kind of trope filled, too… but the animation shined at times, a couple of the characters were funny, and there were some good actions scenes. So even if it wound up not being anything spectacular, it was still pretty decent ;)

  8. Thanks Fogs, glad to get your opinion on it. The first trailer for this definitely suited the title “Epic” (slo-mo battle, close-ups, etc.), but all since then seemed more aimed at a children. Thanks for the review!

    • No problem, of course. :D

      I wasnt impressed with any of the trailers, actually, Gene. I went into this with SUPER low expectations… thankfully, it was better than advertised. Its no threat to win my Animated Movie of the Year or anything, but it was a decent watch ;)

      • Heh. Yeah. Joe Guliano of twodudereview.net did. It was a fifth round pick, so I think a 4 day $40 Million opening is ok in that slot… He and I have a running gag about which of our fifth round animated movies will do better. I picked “Turbo” and left this one on the board. So, “Turbo”‘s got to beat $40 mil first week! :D

        What really hurt him was the Hangover Part III. That was a second rounder, and it really didnt perform well. :(

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