SYNOPSIS: EPIC is a 3D CG adventure comedy that reveals a fantastical world unlike any other. From the creators of ICE AGE and RIO, EPIC tells the story of an ongoing battle between the forces of good, who keep the natural world alive, and the forces of evil, who wish to destroy it. When a teenage girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she teams up with an elite band of warriors and a crew of comical, larger-than-life figures, to save their world…and ours.
REVIEW: Blue Sky Studios, Director Chris Wedge and the animation team behind the Ice Age movies, Robots (2005) and Rio (2011), are at it again with this latest release, now called Epic (an upgrade from its original title, Leafmen). Unfortunately, it seems pretty much like a mixture of Avatar (2009) and Arrietty (2010). It is an animated adventure that’s seemingly tailor-made for family summer viewing. However, the problem with this latest effort is that as thoroughly delightful as the film’s visuals are, there’s just nothing very interesting about Epic’s tiny storyline or its efforts to create a real fantasy story that children can connect with. The kids who made up the majority of my screening audience seemed more fidgety than usual and worse yet, there was an obvious lack of frequent laugh-out-loud outbursts as one would expect of such an audience. This to me was very surprising considering these (Blue Sky Studios) were the same people who dreamed up the mega hit series, Ice Age. And despite an impressive list of celebrity talent attached to the project, you have the erroneously blurted tag-lines, poor adult-driven dialog and an idea-starved story feverishly vying to conceal its shortcomings. Epic simply seems to lack personality, a cohesive storyline and the aforementioned sense of kid friendly, easy-to-follow dialog. While it’s easy to get lost in the details of the fantastical world of the visuals here, one can’t help wishing the writers would’ve employed the same attention to detail as they did with the previously mentioned animated releases.
As mentioned, the bright shining point in this movie is the outstanding animation. The forest, hummingbirds, small warriors, other creatures are all shown meticulously and exceptionally. The story moves kinda’ slow at some points, but keeps you engaged, to some extent. Worth mentioning is Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation – TV series), Chris O'Dowd (This Is 40, 2012), whom we get good value comic relief as a mock-heroic snail and slug. Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games, 2012) and all others who have imparted their voices for this latest release are well placed also. Fundamentally, the bottom line is that the little ones intended as the prime demographic for this flick will probably enjoy this movie and its positive message with great visuals. You’ll likely laugh with audiences as I found myself doing on the occasional humorous scene. Needless to say, there is very little in the way of revolutionary storytelling aside from the beautifully rendered images.
All-in-all, Epic is a family entertainer no matter how we dissect and inspect its shortcomings. And if you are looking for a light-hearted animated movie this weekend with your family, then Epic might just be worth the theater visit. I certainly believe that it’s not the best we have seen with animated releases, but would still give it three stars out of five for great visuals and positive messages for the young ones.
By Movi-Man Stan
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