Josh and Violet give their gender-biased (and age-biased) spoiler-free movie reviews on the computer animated film Epic, from Blue Sky Studios. What did they think of the movie? Is it worth seeing? Find out after the jump!
His Epic Review:
My movie review of Epic I feel unfortunately is going to be skewed, as I clearly am not the audience this movie was intended for. Produced by Blue Sky Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Animation, it was made by the same producers that have made the Ice Age films. Epic has several big celebrity names attached to it, including Colin Farrell (most recently from Total Recall), Josh Hutcherson (Hunger Games), Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables), Christoph Waltz (Django), and even Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Beyonce. Unfortunately, even with all these big names, the movie was unable to keep me entertained. I can’t decide if it is due to the “kidd-ish” nature of the film, or if the story was just not that entertaining. I enjoy many animated films, such as Toy Story, Shrek, and Ice Age to a lesser extent, so it could not solely be because of the audience it was intended for.
The story follows a girl named Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried), a young teenager whose mother has just passed away, and has to move in with her father. Her father is a “kooky” scientist, obsessed with searching for tiny humanoids he is convinced exist due to evidence he has collected over the years.
As the story progresses, we meet the Leafmen, a humanoid race that is in tune with nature, like little druids. We find they are battling an evil race that seems to spread rot and disease, called Boggans. The Boggans are lead by Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), and they are bent on destroying the Leafmen, particularly their queen, Queen Tara. Queen Tara has decided to choose the heir to her kingdom, which involves choosing a pod, which must be protected until it “hatches”. We are also introduced to Ronin, leader of Leafmen “militia” (Colin Farrell), and Nod (Josh Hutcherson), the rebellious Leafman, who needs to learn to work with his fellow soldiers.
The story continues on, and Mary Katherine, angry with her father’s obsession, MK leaves her fathers house. As she is going through the forest, she comes across Tara, who is dying, and Tara gives the pod to MK and shrinks her to the size of the other Leafmen. The story continues, with the struggle between the Leafmen and Boggans, as Mandrake attempts to steal the pod, and have it hatch in darkness, which will produce an evil being, while if hatched in moonlight, it reveals the next queen of the Leafmen.
This movie did not really tickle my interests unfortunately. The humor seemed a little young for me, which is to be expected. What really didn’t work for me for some reason, was the voice acting, as I could picture nothing but the people who played the voices. I was not able to get past seeing Steven Tyler rather than the hippie looking caterpillar he was voice acting for. Beyonce’s character was another one that I just could not see past the voice, rather than seeing the flowery queen she was supposed to be. Perhaps lesser-known actors would have been better suited?
The animations looked great for the most part, on par with Ice Age, also produced by Blue Sky Studios. The action seemed great for younger viewers, and I think most children would get a kick out of the film. It certainly felt like it was trying to mirror a Disney/Pixar film, complete with a brief sing along portion by Steve Tyler–the hippie caterpillar.
Overall I would rate the film 5 out of 10, with the caveat that I think that this film is just not meant for an audience like me. A family with a few kids would probably get a lot of enjoyment out of it however. The movie is definitely meant for a younger audience, and in my opinion, doesn’t break the age barrier as movies such as Toy Story, and to a lesser extent, Shrek do.
Her Epic Review:
One of the quieter releases over Memorial Day weekend was the computer animated movie Epic from Blue Sky Studios, the creators of Robots, Rio, and the Ice Age films. Epic is directed by Chris Wedge, who also directed the computer animated films Ice Age and Robots. I had heard of the movie, but I didn’t really see or hear any advertisements for it until about a week before its release, when I heard radio commercials which only bragged about the voice talents that were featured in the film: Aziz Ansari, Beyoncé Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Pittbull, Steven Tyler, Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis, and Chris O’Dowd, and didn’t mention the plot at all. I never knew what it was actually about until I went out of my way to watch the trailer on YouTube. It looked like it had potential, so we figured we’d give it a try.
The movie Epic is actually based on the children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, by William Joyce. I have not read the book, however, so I cannot speak to how it compares to the movie.
In the film, a teenage girl named Mary Katherine, who goes by “M.K.” (Seyfried), returns to the home of her eccentric father (Sudeikis), who is obsessed with proving the existence of a society of tiny people who live in the forest. M.K. gets fed up with her dad’s obsession and decides to leave, but before she gets the chance, she unknowingly gets caught in the middle of a battle between the tiny Leaf Men and evil Boggans creatures, and becomes shrunk down to the size of the little people. The wounded Queen of the forest (Knowles) puts M.K. in charge of the important task of bringing a pod bearing the new queen to Nim Galuu (Tyler). Of course, M.K. has no idea what this means, but she soon finds out as Ronin (Farrell), the leader of the Leaf Men, comes to her aid, along with another Leaf Man named Nod (Hutcherson), a slug named Mub (Ansari), and a snail named Grub (O’Dowd).
They get the pod to Nim Galuu and find a message from the Queen. Unfortunately, Mandrake (Waltz), the leader of the Boggans, steals the pod and kidnaps Mub and Grub, without whom the pod can survive. Mandrake takes the pod back to Boggans territory to bloom in darkness so that the Boggans can take over the forest. Ronin, Nod, and M.K. then have to figure out a way to sneak into Boggans territory and get the pod back so that it will bloom in the light, and so that M.K. can fulfill her duty of protecting the pod and be returned to normal size.
Epic was not epic, it was just okay. The story was pretty generic and mostly forgettable. It reminded me of the 1992 animated film FernGully, except with a girl being shrunk instead of a guy, and the tiny Boggans creatures destroying the forest instead of humans and an evil spirit. However, the relationship between M.K. and her father ended up being heartwarming, making it a good family movie. Also, I personally didn’t find the humor all that funny, and it sounded like the other adults in the theater didn’t either, although I did hear the children laugh a lot. It seemed like they were trying to push all the comic relief onto Mub, the slug, who became kind of annoying. It was pretty to look at though. We actually saw the film in 3D, although I didn’t feel like the 3D added much to it.
If you don’t have any children, I’d say skip seeing Epic in theaters, and maybe even altogether, as there’s nothing all that special or unique going on here. It’s pretty to watch, and mildly entertaining, but that’s about it. If you have children though, they’ll probably like it. I just was not captivated by the movie, and with a title like Epic, it would take a lot more for it to be considered epic in my book. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t epic.
My rating: 6/10