'Epic' aims high, achieves … middlin'
“Epic” is a children's animated film that is more entertaining and emotional than it has any right to be.
Characters make sacrifices and die, miss their parents and mourn. And we're touched. At least a little. Hard (if over-familiar) lessons are learned and laughs land on queue. Throw in some truly gorgeous animation and Blue Sky, the studio that made it, delivers more proof that it's moved on from the junky cash-machine “Ice Age” movies.
Taking characters from William Joyce children's novel about “Leaf Men” and “Brave Good Bugs,” a team of writers has borrowed from “Antz” and “A Bug's Life,” and even “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” for a story about the fairy forces of life in a forest, the Leaf Men (and women) and their allies, in battle with the rotting reptilian bog-dwelling forces of decay.
A dotty scientist has surveillance cameras covering the forest where this struggle is going on and suspects there are little people out there, riding into battle on hummingbirds and crows, armored and armed with bows and arrows.
But it's his daughter, M.K. (Amanda Seyfried), who finds the proof. That happens when she's magically shrunk by the Queen (Beyonce Knowles) and tasked with ensuring that this one lily pod blooms and renews life by the light of the full moon.
M.K. struggles to survive this brave (tiny) new world, where warriors like the rebellious Nod (Josh Hutcherson) and mission-focused Ronin (Colin Farrell) must fend off the reptilian designs of Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), who is determined to upset the balance between new life and decay and thus take over the forest.
M.K. is assisted in her quest by a very funny snail and a slug (Chris O'Dowd, Aziz Ansari), who know how to keep the pod alive until it blooms. And they are guided by the daffy six-legged Nim (Steven Tyler).
The film's 3-D makes excellent use of depth of field, delivering eye-popping next generation animation.
“Epic” isn't epic, but it isn't half-bad, either. It's just that a strong story is worth more than any next-generation software.
Roger Moore is a movie critic for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Review: ‘McQueen’ takes a look under hood of a legend
- DVD reviews: ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie,’ ‘No Escape’ and ‘American Ultra’
- Review: ‘The Assassin’ is a visual knockout set in ancient China
- Review: ‘Wonders’ more about mood than the plot
- Review: ‘Creed’ is best Rocky movie since ‘Rocky’
- Review: ‘Brooklyn’ is one of the year’s best
- Review: ‘Love the Coopers’ is a moving, starry holiday pic