Epic is real good, which is a surprise. There’s very little new here but there’s something about the mixture of adventure, love of nature, and formula that allows it to function for both kids and adults. It’s good despite some really uninspired voice acting choices and performances and a ludicrous musical number from Steven Tyler that painfully jars the movie to a halt. Those are really the only missteps as Epic is beautiful to look at, features an actual sense of danger, and avoids a lot of the physical comedic choices that dumb down so many movies in the genre.
The premise involves an entire civilization of littlefolk who are much more closely tied to nature than humans who face a threat as an evil ruler tries to “rot” the forest thanks to some gobbedlygook involving a solstice and a seed that with either renew or ruin the natural order of things. A young woman (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) moves in with her eccentric father (voiced by Jason Sudekis) when her mother dies and the rift between them is massive. He has discovered what he believes is a hidden race of little people and she’s discovered that her father has no time for her. Of course, right about the same time he sees her side she sees his. She’s absorbed into the world of the little people when their queen (Beyoncé Knowles) is attacked and she’s shrunken down to their size. She becomes a part of their adventure and embarks on a mission to protect the seed from Christoph Waltz’s Mandrake and his army of froglike rotters. She finds a love interest in Josh Hutcherson’s Nod and a father figure in Colin Farrell’s Ronin with comedic hijinks from Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd’s snail and slug combo. It’s straight formula and there’s not much in the way of twists but the film moves along briskly and offers a nice assortment of laughs and cool sequences on its way.
It works really well and it’s astonishing to see how the computer animated movie has truly upped the game in terms of polish and presentation. It’s a really gorgeous movie. Unfortunately Steven Tyler’s grub/slug/caterpillar has to do a song, but it’s luckily cut short and we’re spared.
Ultimately Epic delivers a solid hour and a half of entertainment that doesn’t insult the intelligence. It’s a respectable movie to take the kids to and in 3-D there’s no denying its ability to keep the chain moving forward. Seyfried does some good work here, but the rest of the cast phone it in, sadly.
Still, it’s a solid recommendation for kids and grown-ups alike.
What does this bring to the table visually?
It’s quite nice, especially considering how much we’ve seen in the way of this kind of world whether from anime, films like Avatar, or the myriad of CGI “documentaries” on televsion.
Pitbull, huh? Why do I have to endure this?
Because planet Earth hates you and pop culture trumps proper casting.
How’s Christoph Waltz as a voice actor?
He’s fine, though he’s not a major selling point. In the right role he could rock it, but Waltz is a guy who has to be used for his skill set rather than just to fill a void.
Will this challenge Pixar?
Yeah. Because Pixar isn’t guaranteed gold anymore. Toy Story 3 was OK. Monsters University looks weak, the Cars series is middling, and there’s so much quality spread around these days that anyone can make a great animated flick.
Is there a franchise here?
Yes but there’s no way it’s going to happen. This film isn’t going to make it.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Nick On… Is my new ongoing movie review column. The goal is to distill things a little and make it a little more playful and easier to digest rather than the long form. Hope you like. Please let me know what you think as there will be many of these coming and the goal always is to improve. Please share and whatnot.
A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil is taking place. She bands together with a rag-tag group characters in order to save their world -- and ours.
- 05.24.2013 (USA)
- Chris Wedge
- Tom J. Astle
- Matt Ember
- Josh Hutcherson
- Amanda Seyfried
- Colin Farrell
- Christoph Waltz
- Jason Sudeikis
- Watch or buy now