Epic

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Seventeen-year-old Mary Katherine, or M.K. (Amanda Seyfried), moves in with her eccentric scientist father, Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), who has been searching for tiny human soldiers called Leafmen. They protect the forest Bomba lives near from evil creatures called Boggans and their malevolent leader Mandrake (Christoph Waltz). An independent young soldier, Nod (Josh Hutcherson) decides to quit, much to the ire of the no-nonsense Leafmen leader Ronin (Colin Farrell).

The queen of the forest, Queen Tara (Beyoncé Knowles), must choose an heir to her throne and goes out to a field of leaf pods, guarded by a laid-back slug named Mub (Aziz Ansari) and a wannabe Leafman snail named Grub (Chris O’Dowd). Immediately after she chooses a pod, the Boggans attack. Tara flees the area with the pod, and though her bodyguards do their best to protect her, they are soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of Boggans. Eventually, Ronin arrives for her and the pair fly off on his hummingbird mount. They are then attacked by Mandrake and his son Dagda (Blake Anderson). Dagda is killed by Ronin, but Tara is fatally wounded when Mandrake shoots her with an arrow.

Meanwhile, M.K. decides to leave. Before she can leave, the family’s one-eyed, three-legged dog, Ozzy, runs into the woods. While looking for Ozzy, M.K. sees Tara falling. Dying, Tara gives her the pod and uses her magic to shrink her. She tells M.K. to take the pod to a Glowworm named Nim Galuu (Steven Tyler) before she dies, and M.K. joines Ronin and the Leafmen, along with Mub and Grub. Ronin discovers that Nod has entered a race against other creatures and bugs on birds. He goes back on a deal with a tough bullfrog named Bufo (Pitbull) to lose the race. Before Bufo and his two henchmen can kill Nod, Ronin intervenes and orders them to leave. A reluctant Nod joins him, M.K., Mub, and Grub after hearing about Tara’s death.

They eventually find Nim Galuu who leads them down to the scroll library, where M.K. discovers Tara’s brief message before shrinking her, and a message that will get her back to normal size. When Ronin leaves, Nod takes M.K. on a deer ride, and they begin to fall in love. Mandrake (to whom Bufo fearfully reveals the location of the pod, which he overheard from Ronin and Nod) arrives and kidnaps Mub and Grub and imprisons them, along with the pod, which he hopes to bloom in darkness then to use to destroy the forest. To get into Boggan territory undiscovered, M.K., Nod, and Ronin set out to Bomba’s house to get some disguises, where M.K. learns that the Leafmen have deliberately been leading Bomba off their trail.

When they reach the Boggan land Ronin distracts the Boggans while M.K. and Nod rescue Mub, Grub, and the pod. They are eventually found out by Mandrake, who summons the Boggans to stop them. M.K., Nod, Mub, and Grub escape alive, but Ronin sacrifices himself to ensure their escape. Before the full moon can sprout the pod at Moonhaven, Mandrake’s bats block the light, causing the pod to begin sprouting in darkness. As the Leafmen set out to fight the Boggans, M.K. sets out to get her father for assistance. However, upon regaining consciousness, Bomba believes that he didn’t really see M.K. and that he has been insane all these years, and shuts down all his cameras, but changes his mind when he sees a red push-pin that M.K. had put on his map while they were getting disguises.

Bomba is overjoyed to see that he has been right and when he follows M.K. to Moonhaven, he uses his iPod to make bat sounds, causing the bats to follow Bomba. Meanwhile, Mub and Nim Galuu try to stop Mandrake from reaching the pod, but are unsuccessful. Just then, Ronin appears, bearing scars and bruises from the Boggans. Mandrake manages to outdo him, but Ronin is defended by Nod, who finally realizes the importance of teamwork. Before Mandrake can obtain his victory, the moonlight takes over the pod before it blooms in darkness, causing it to bloom in light and defeat the Boggans.

The chosen heir is the flower child who helped save Tara earlier in the film. Grub becomes a Leafman, Nod and Ronin reconcile, and Nod and M.K. kiss before M.K. is returned to her original size. After reuniting with Bomba and becoming his assistant, the human family still keeps regular contact with their small friends as they continue the research of their world.

REVIEW:

With a title like Epic, one would expect some sort of epic adventure, right? That is what this picture intends to be, but I’m not quite sure it accomplishes that goal. Still, I am curious as to the journey it takes us on, not to mention the fact that this film was advertised for like a year, and never seemed to be released until it could be buried amongst the summer blockbusters, rather than coming out at another point in the year, where it could capitalize on the family market.

What is this about?

Magically transported to an enchanted forest, a teenage girl joins forces with a scruffy group of residents fighting a battle against evil — and soon realizes they must win to save both their world and hers.

What did I like?

Scum and villainy. The thing any epic film needs is a great villain. Since this film involves a mysterious heir to the throne, you just know there has to be some bad guy out there who wants the crown to himself. Enter Mandrake, the evil Boggan leader, voiced by Christoph Waltz. Character-wise, he is the typical bad guy, but when you throw in the vocal stylings if Christoph Waltz, there is just a new level of sophisticated evil that wouldn’t be there, otherwise.

Animation. This is some truly breathtaking animation. Seeing the world from the viewpoint of someone who is 2 inches high and then the human world from her viewpoint, as well, was imaginative and impressive. It is amazing to see how far  inferior computer animation (I still prefer traditional hand drawn and/or stop-motion) has come over the years.

What didn’t I like?

Voices carry. Have you ever listened to someone on the radio without ever seeing them, and then suddenly you get the chance to see what they look like and it is nothing like what you expected? Well, this film is the exact opposite. While the voice cast is pretty good, I didn’t feel as if many of the voices fit the characters, save for Beyoncé as the Queen and, as much as I hate to say this, I believe that was only because of her race. Surely, they could have done a better job with the voices than this. Christoph Waltz was one of the few exceptions, as were a handful of others, but for the most part, this was bad casting.

Is it over yet? So, I was sitting through this film and I couldn’t help but notice that for the gorgeous spectacle that this is, the film itself is not even close to be interesting. It doesn’t matter how much action, stunning visuals, or what have you is put into a film, it still has to be entertaining and not coma inducing. Apparently, these filmmakers didn’t get that memo.

Epic is a film that can best be summed up in two words…epic fail. For all its efforts to capture the kind of charm that Pixar and DreamWorks films receive, it fails horribly. For me, this just didn’t work, but I can see how kids and younger audiences would have a blast with it. Do I recommend it? Yes, if you’re into this kind of film, but I have to also say there are much better flicks than this.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

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