Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Epic (2013)

You may have noticed that I have kind of a blind spot when it comes to kids films.  Not having any kids, the appeal or desire to see some of these films just isn't there sometimes.  Epic is an example of why I tend to avoid them.  It's not that Epic is a bad film, but it's definitely a film geared towards a younger audience, and as far as the story, isn't anything you haven't seen before.

M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) moves in with her father, after the recent death of her mother.  Her father, Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), is an eccentric scientist obsessed with finding evidence of tiny humans living in the forest.  They do a pretty good job of making M.K. unlikable, giving her no tolerance or compassion towards her father.  She just thinks he's weird and wants him to give it up.  She's so frustrated that after like a day, she bails on him.  I don't know where she was planning on going, being only 17, and walking out on her remaining parent.  Leave it to angsty teens to have a thought out plan, right?

Anyway, as M.K. is leaving, she chases their half-blind, three-legged dog (I'm not making that up) into the woods.  She finds the queen of the forest, Tara (Beyoncé Knowles), dying.  Tara gives her a pod that was part of a ritual to name her heir, and shrinks her down to their size.  Her dying request is that M.K. take this pod to someone to complete the ritual.  She joins up with Ronin (Colin Farrell), a commanding soldier; a snail and slug, Grub (Chris O'Dowd) and Mub (Aziz Ansari); and a rebellious soldier named Nod (Josh Hutcherson) to complete this task.  Their primary threat are the Boggans, a race of creatures that seek to destroy the forest.  They are led by the evil Mandrake (Christoph Waltz).

It's a standard adventure story from there.  People overcome their differences, characters grow up and learn lessons, etc.  It's all pretty predictable and familiar.  It's almost ironic to call this Epic, as it didn't feel too epic to me.  If anything I'd expect some indie film to use the title ironically.  Epic was based off the William Joyce book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, but it was director Chris Wedge's goal to adapt the story to make it more of an action-adventure.  It looks like something got a little lost in the adaptation as the whole story felt thin to me.  There's not a lot of depth to the story or characters.  I'm sure having five (five?!) screenwriters didn't help either.

Again, I'm not saying Epic is a bad movie, or even has a that bad of a story.  I just never got invested in what was going on or found myself caring about any of the characters.  I spent more time keeping all the character's names straight in my head, and when I wasn't doing that, I was trying to figure out who the voices of all the main characters were.  For the record, I only guessed four right: Beyoncé, Aziz Ansari, Colin Farrell, and Christoph Waltz.

Most of the attempts at humor fell flat.  It seemed to be working for the kids though, and that's really all Epic can aim for, an average kids film.  I see this being something you can put on the TV, and it'll entertain your kids for 100 minutes, but I don't see them falling in love with it and watching it over and over.  It's just not that memorable.

I did enjoy the CG though.  The design of the world was very interesting and there were a lot of nice details with the characters and settings.  The animation was very fluid, with the exception of how they animated Professor Bomba.  He had a very jerky and unnatural way of moment that was too cartoonish and seemed too much of a contrast from everyone else.

Epic isn't a complete waste of time, but it's yet another middle of the road animated film that borrows heavily from many other films and themes.  Unlike some stronger animated films, it's gonna struggle to hold the attention of anyone over the age of 10.  It's a solid kid's film though and one you can feel confident with letting them watch unattended.  Epic is a rental.

2.5 (out of 5) Death Stars


  1. Good Review! I kinda liked this one. It is nothing great but it has a few good laughs.

    1. Thanks, Erik. I had a hard time staying invested in it. Might have been due to the fact I saw this on Wednesday when I didn't have anything else going on. I still enjoyed the animation, and didn't regret watching it. Just not something I'll likely get around to watching again.