By titling the film Epic, it’s pretty clear what reaction director Chris Wedge was hoping to receive from his latest, animated release. And those of us who were fans of Ice Age and Robots may even have been willing to believe that there was potential for this to be the case. But despite an interesting plot, hilarious and lovable characters, and animation which is visually stunning, Wedge would have been better off naming this film Obvious, because the basic plot is something all of us will have seen before.
In the forest which surrounds Professor Bomba’s (Jason Sudeikis) home, a war is raging between tiny ‘Leafmen’, who protect the forest, and ‘Boggans’, who want to see everything rot. When Professor Bomba’s daughter, M.K. (Amanda Seyfried), comes to live with him, she is magically shrunk and must help the Leafmen defeat the evil Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) in order to become big again. She is assisted in this task by Leafmen leader Ronin (Colin Farrell) and a young, inexperienced Leafman called Nod (Josh Hutcherson). Can you guess what’s going to happen yet? I am not sure at what point in the film it was established that in saving the forest the characters would be saving the world, but I suppose it helps to make the film more epic, so why not?
Plot aside, Epic is exciting and fast-paced, with enchanting scenes and witty dialogue. There is something truly magical about watching tiny, colourful hummingbirds flying around the forest. And any animated film which makes a three-legged dog look cute and lovable must be doing something right. But the show was definitely stolen by the hilarious characters of Mub the slug (Aziz Ansari) and Grub the snail (Chris O’Dowd), who will make even the more mature members of the audience chuckle with delight. Sadly, not all characters were voiced so perfectly. Beyoncé Knowles’ playful voice did not suit the role of wise Queen Tara, and Colin Farrell was not full of the confident authority that his character was meant to have.
However, Epic succeeds in being an enjoyable film with it’s own personality, separating it from similar films such as FernGully: the Last Rainforest and Arthur and the Invisibles. But did it succeed in living up to it’s name? In a way, yes, but not perhaps to the Star Wars-like degree that Chris Wedge was hoping for.
Epic (2013), directed by Chris Wedge, is distributed in the UK by Twentieth Century Fox, Certificate U.