Friday, October 18, 2013

Review 213: "Epic"

"You just can't stop the rot."

Generic Title

      Epic is an animated 2013 action family film made by Blue Sky Studios. It's based on the book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce, who also wrote the books that Meet the Robinsons and Rise of the Guardians were based on. The film is directed by Chris Wedge (Ice Age) and written by, *breathes in*, William Joyce, James V. Hart (Hook),  Daniel Shere (We Are Family), Tom J. Astle (Get Smart) and Matt Ember (Failure to Launch). The film follows M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) who moves in with her father (Jason Sudeikis) and get pulled into a war between the Leaf Men and the Boggens. She teams up with leaf men Nod (Josh Hutcherson) and Ronin (Colin Farrell), slugs Grub (Chris O'Dowd) and Mub (Aziz Ansari) and wise bug Nim (Steven Tyler) to keep the spirit of the forest from Boggen leader Mandrake (Christoph Waltz). Or something like that.

Uhhh, you should get that looked at.
Try So Serious

      Everything you really need to know about Epic can be found right there in it's name. While's there's nothing all that epic about Epic, the animation studio behind sure want you to think there is. Blue Sky Animation, who until now covered a largely younger kid base with their Ice Age and Rio franchises, is going for the big, serious animated action movie here. And that's mostly where Epic's biggest problems come about. Blue Sky is clearly trying to get there version of Up/How to Train Your Dragon here, with the realistic and fancy animation and more serious and action-based storyline and actual human characters. However, the seem to have gone back too far and ended up back in the 90s. Yes, Epic shares a little too many similarities with Ferngully and Avatar, but ultimately, the film is closest to a big budget version of a movie you'd find at a dollar store. The film ultimately tries so hard to pack in as many things that are used in other, better animated movies that the things that do work well in Epic are crushed. The film is very beautiful, even if the world it creates is a flat and generic forest kingdom. The whole thing's very competent, with good acting and a good enough story.

Good Enough

      Epic, however, just isn't original enough to make it worth watching. Hey, would you be surprised if major character moments were pushed aside to make room for more wacky comedy? Well, seeing as how the main character yells at her father for believing in the world of these little people and then almost immediately ends up helping them save their world with barely a second thought, then congrats. You know exactly where this is going. Epic's got everything. Annoying comic sidekicks that serve no purpose on the plot. A couple of characters voiced by famous celebrities that have no right to be voice-acting, like Pitbull or Beyonce. A plot macguffin that gets stolen before the third act to increase the tension. It's a regular slideshow of animated movie cliches. And the fact that, at it's best, Epic executes them so mediocrely, it ultimately raises the question of why even bother? I thought about what kid me would have thought about this movie and he would have liked it even less than me. Kids deserve a little more credit when it comes to their movies and Epic will likely bore even the youngest of kids.

The new Hangover got weird. Er.
The Verdict

      Even by kids standard, Epic is just another animated movie made to fill a release slot. Blue Sky might be trying to prove themselves to the world of animation, but Epic proves to be to be too reliant on cliches and pandering to kids to make anyone really entertained. The movie might be technically sound and well intentioned, but it may very well fail at bringing the target audience into it's generic world. Epic gets 3 stars out of 6.

1 comment:

  1. Good review Alex. The ending was a bit weird, but the whole time before that was a bunch of fun. However, I'm somewhat of a grown-man, so take away from that viewpoint what you will.