There seems to be a plethora of animated movies these days. Just about every studio has ventured into the animated feature and this time 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios have come together and produced the movie Epic. Based on the children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce, Epic is a visually stunning movie. Like artwork in motion, this film is charming and creative in all the right ways to make a children’s movie that everyone will enjoy. Directed by Chris Wedge, known for directing the Ice Age movies, Epic creates a world within a world bringing magical landscapes to life. With great attention given to the details, this film’s storyline is sweet although somewhat predictable. Candy for the eyes, the title for the movie is a bit of an overstatement, but this adventure in the great outdoors is clever and very likeable. Epic’s visuals take the cake, but the story lacks that particular magic that makes the whole movie something special.
Following the death of her mother, M.K. moves in with her estranged and eccentric father, Dr. Bomba. Dr. Bomba believes that the forest is inhabited by tiny leaf men much to the dismay of M. K. Little does M.K. know that her father is right. There is a tiny world in the forest where a fight for good and evil occurs every day, a fight to keep the forest alive. On the day that M.K. arrives at her father’s home also happens to be the day that the leaf men queen, Queen Tara, has decided to choose an heir to her throne. She picks a small leaf pod as the next queen, but before the pod can be taken safely to its resting place the evil Boggans, strange little creature-like men who are the enemies of the leaf men, ambush the ceremony in hopes of stealing the pod for themselves. Queen Tara and the head of her security detail Ronin escape the leader of the Boggans named Mandrake and his goons. They dodge the Boggan arrows that kill anything living. After being hit by an arrow, Queen Tara falls in the forest seen by M.K. and the Queen gives the pod to M.K. for safe keeping. After the Queen shrinks M.K. to leaf men size she tells her to take the pod to Nim Galuu, a glowworm who will instruct her on what she should do with the pod to keep the forest alive. M.K. must join with Ronin and the other leaf men to save the forest from certain destruction and somehow figure out how to get herself back home.
Whether 2D or 3D, Epic is beautiful to look at, but I found the 3D version immensely entertaining with arrows flying past your head and birds swooping in. The animators made great use of the technology available. As with any animated film, one of the biggest challenges is finding the right voices to put with the characters. With the likes of Amanda Seyfried as M.K., Josh Hutcherson as Nod, and Colin Farrell as Ronin, Epic’s fantastical characters are brought to life with these various voices. Standouts include the wonderful Christoph Waltz as Mandrake, the sly and calculating leader of the Boggans. Then there is Mub, a smitten slug with a modern twist voiced by the hilarious Aziz Ansari and Grub, a warrior wannabe snail voiced by the comedic Chris O’Dowd. Be sure to notice a voice cameo by Beyonce’ Knowles as Queen Tara. Epic is an environmentally conscience film that appeals to just about everyone, including the young and the young at heart.