Animation often reminds kids that when they get big, they shouldn't forget about the little creatures or plants. This implicit message is connoted through various animated pictures from Pixar's "A Bug's Life" to Studio Ghibli's "The Secret World of Arrietty." The kids could often relate themselves to these tiny heroes, who crave for adventures while not getting crushed by the giant movers and shakers or adults. Blue Sky Studios' latest animated movie "Epic" (2013) has the same ultra-familiar ring, like a girl getting miniaturized and a diminutive universe, but it is a reasonably entertaining and adeptly crafted movie, which will satisfy family audiences.
The adventurous animated film's characters are based on children’s author William Joyce’s “The Leaf Men.” The characters along with the movie is surely more swollen in scope and tone than Joyce’s Eco-themed picture book. The 'Leaf Men' are portrayed as a race of bug-size soldiers who maintain the order and balance of the natural world. They ride on hummingbirds and fight against the forces of decay -- creatures known as the Boggans. An estranged teenage girl, Mary Katherine (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) visits her obsessed father in the woods. Her father, Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis) is obsessed in proving the existence of a secret miniscule civilized world.
Katherine's arrival to the woods coincides with a major once-a-century event among leaf men. On a full moon, Queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles) selects a bud in which she will imbue her spirit and from which will grow a new queen. The evil Boggans, led by Mandrake (Christopher Waltz) attacks the ceremony, and the dying queen passes the bud along to Mary Katherine (the bud shrinks her to the size of the tiny forest men). Later, M.K. accompanies warrior Leafmen Ronin (Colin Farrell) and troublesome teenager Nod (Josh Hutcherson) to safeguard the pod that holds the promise for the Leafmen's future.
Director Chris Wedge (Ice Age) works out some moments of wonder and some magical animation, even though the film soars through trees for Avatar-esque high-flying excitement and takes off every tiny-people yarn from various movies. For a film-literate child of 8 or 9, the plot of "Epic" is a familiar territory, but it is nonetheless executed with professionalism and a few dashes of panache. The five credited screenwriters may be the reason for script imbalances. Usual Hollywood plot devices are devoted to M.K’s father issues and romance with Nod. These attempts to wring emotional payoff comes up very dry. Aziz Ansari and Chris O' Dowd as the wisecracking slug provide some comic relief.
Presented in 3D, the film is noteworthy for its depictions of leaf men characters, swinging through the woods, with image depth that practically hypnotizes. The animation provides a more ecologically accurate view of the forest than one usually sees on film. There is nothing new or original in "Epic" but it is worth a watch for its enthralling visuals and well-grounded Eco-friendly message.
Epic -- IMDb