Blue Sky Studios’ Epic does not live up to its name by providing by-the-numbers family film tropes that even stunning visuals can not make up for.
Mary ‘MK’ Katherine, voiced by Amanda Seyfried, return home to her father Professor Bomba, voiced by Jason Sudekis, after the death of her mother in order to convince him to give up his life’s work on finding out if their are little people that live in the forest. In the forest, the Leafmen leaded by Ronan, voiced by Colin Farrell, are on guard to protect Queen Tara, voice by Beyonce Knowles, from the threat of the Bogans lead by Mandrake, voiced by Christoph Waltz. ‘MK’ is shrunk down to size in order to help protect the Leafman’s world from getting destroyed alongside the help of Nod, voiced by Josh Hutcherson.
Epic is a rehash of the animated films of the 90’s overly reliant on the nature themes to tell their stories and with it comes the same flaws. It is too preachy and hits all the marks those film hit with the morals of ‘we are all in this together’ and ‘do it for the forest’. The plot is generic and follows to closely to Ferngully and Avatar with the main character visiting a new society and realizing they have to save it for to better their self in order to get an understanding. In translation: The same old bland animated bull.
The voice work in the film is a hit and miss with Seyfried and Farrell treating their roles with as much care as their live action work, but others seem to fall flat. The two of the three musical talents of the film voices hit the ground and hard. Beyonce seems to phone it in with Pitbull following suit, but does outdo Beyonce by actually sounding like he is giving a care. Steven Tyler seems to be having a ball and even gets to sing, yet he has little screen time despite being essential to the plot.
A saving grace of the film is the animation that is nothing sort of gorgeous. The use of photo realistic animation within the forest and the world helps with true to life caricatures of animals and insects as well as bringing the impressive designs by William Joyce’s source material to life. The 3D is quite impressive with the highlight being the Bogans come up from under the bark of the tree and the vertigo created by the awe-inspiring flying scenes as the Leafman do battle against them. Yet, animation this good can’t cover up the aforementioned by-the-book standards of the film.
Epic could easily titled Mediocre and be the same picture, but with the impressive animation that can keep older audiences watching, little ones will probably enjoy it because they are used to stories like these at this point. Just do not expect something this Epic to stick with you forever.