Monday, 17 June 2013

Epic (Review)

Rating: ½

If you liked The Borrowers then I'm sure you'll love Epic. The story of a human girl who shrinks down to the size of a leaf to save a world of tiny people who live in the forest.

I am a self confessed Disney addict and normally judge any animated film that doesn't come out of the mouse house very harshly but Epic was an exception. In my opinion most family films these days lack a lot of emotional depth and suffer from very stereotypical characters and generic plots but this film had all the beauty and wonder of a Disney classic.

The animation is astounding. Blue Sky Animation had clearly done a lot of research into plants and natural light to make their forest world as realistic as possible. It definitely paid off because I was amazed by the realism and beauty of the animation. The magic aspects of the world they created were truly enchanting as if it were pulled straight from a child's imagination. And the 3D effects were a definite bonus.

Even though it was on a small scale, the action was thrilling and above all epic. The drama was engaging enough to have adults and children completely enthralled. And the clever intricate design of the tiny civilisation was brilliant to behold: as if it had been designed by J.R.R Tolkien.

The main problem I had was that the lead heroine, M.K., was too annoying and desperate. It was clear that the filmmakers wanted her to seem cool and hip but I was not impressed. Sometimes she would say funny lines at the most inappropriate moments and she always appeared slightly unimpressed by all the amazing things that were happening around her. For example after one of the lead characters dies she is sat there trying to sound funny and I just wanna tell her to get lost. This has nothing to do with the fact that I'm not a big fan of Amanda Seyfried, the actress who voiced M.K. Also M.K.'s love interest Nod, voiced by Josh Hutcherson, was way out of her league. He was daring, athletic and smart and she turned out to be just an annoying daddy's girl.

Beyoncé did a great job voicing Queen Tara but her voice is slightly too recognisable. She was clearly cast because she has such a big fan base but the fact that she is a world famous singer is a bit distracting. But then again who doesn't love a bit of Beyoncé! She also sings the song that plays over the closing credits so you can get your full Beyoncé fix.

The villain was a half-rat, half-human monster who was truly terrifying - particularly cool was the fact that he killed any plant life he touched.

Chris O'Dowd as Grub and Pitbull as Bufo made fantastically comical slugs who added to the story while also providing some lighthearted comic relief.

I definitely think that Epic relied too much on its star power. Every character was voiced by a well known performer but the story was strong enough to work without those distracting trimmings — and I don't think that star power can outweigh acting ability. I'm sure kids don't even care who voices their favorite cartoon characters.

All the plot points where neatly tied together at the end and I left the cinema feeling uplifted and satisfied. I laughed and I cried and that's all you really want from your family entertainment.

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