Film Review: Epic

Wednesday 23 April 2014 by

Epic, Film

There are two films that you need to keep in mind when watching Epic… the first is FernGully (remember that!?) and the other is The Spiderwick Chronicles. Right, are you ready? You’re with me?

Epic is the story of a girl whose slightly crazy father believes in fairies in the forest. Thing is, he’s half right. There are tiny people in the forest, but they’re not technically the traditional fairies as you would know them. They’re more of an advanced race of tiny people whose queen uses magic to keep the forest alive against the evil boggans and their leader, Mandrake (voiced by Christoph Waltz). You still with me?

Mary Katherine, or MK, (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) ends up getting shrunk and tasked with taking the magical pod to a caterpillar called Nim Galuu (Steven Tyler) in a tree so it can flower and save the forest whilst un-shrinking her at the same time.

I’m speeding through this, because, to be honest, they speed through the plot a bit in the film. It’s not really meant to be a deep-and-meaningful story – there’s a bit of morality (save the forest), a bit of romance between MK and Nod (voiced by Josh Hutcherson), some action thanks to leafman Ronin (Colin Farrell) and some comedy between Mub and Grub (Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd respectively). All in all, you’re looking at a good old Family Fun film.

But Disney Magic it is not. There is something slightly… fizzled out about this film. It has so much potential and yet falls at the last hurdle. For an animated film, the detail is incredible, and I actually rather liked the fact that Beyoncé voiced Queen Tara (although other reviewers aren’t fans). But the humour was more facile than layered and the romance simplistic. Even the baddies were just… bad. There was no texture or character development, rather a romp around the forest with plenty of animation tricks to impress (I can’t stress enough how impressive that side of it was – think Monsters Inc in terms of quality of its time).

But nothing else really lived up to expectation. It was just a strange cross between FernGully and The Spiderwick Chronicles without even being able to take the best bits from them. I’m impressed by the voices they had though – I bet you never thought Beyoncé, Colin Farrell, Steven Tyler, Christoph Waltz and Chris O’Dowd would ever be in a film alongside one another!

I just wish they had been braver with their plot choices. If it had taken a leaf out of Disney’s genius-plot-building book with Brave, Tangled and Frozen and chosen the comedic qualities of Finding Nemo and Toy Story, it would have made for a better film all around.

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