Okay, before I get into my review, I want to say one thing. Don’t bring your kids to see this movie. It’s just not very good. I know that this is the latest big budget animated film to take the family to, but trust me. There is a much better family film in theaters right now. It’s called THE PAINTING and you can read my review for it right here. THIS is the movie you should be bringing your kids to. It’s beautiful, imaginative, and deals with some important issues. Do your kids a favor and take them to that instead of this half-assed, mediocre film.
Okay, now that I got that out of the way…… let’s talk about EPIC! The premise is actually not bad, in fact this could have been an inspiring film. You see, there’s a world that we don’t know about that’s out in the woods. There are small people who ride on birds, bugs and people. The good guys look like tiny humans and they protect the forest from the bad guys (that look like orcs) who want to destroy the it. The good guys are ruled by a queen who can heal things and control objects with her mind. She chooses an heir, which is inside a small pod. But then the baddies attack and it’s up to the queen’s protectors, led by Ronin, to protect the pod.
There’s another story going on too. A human girl named M.K. moves in with her wacky scientist father in a secluded place in the woods when her mother dies. The two have never really communicated with each other. That’s because the dad is too busy doing research. He’s trying to prove that these little creatures do exist in the forest. M.K. decides to runaway, she stumbles onto the war going on in the woods and somehow shrinks to the size of the small creatures. The queen dies in her arms and asks M.K. to help her protect the pod. At first the human is in shock, dealing with this new world and its creatures. But she falls for a handsome dude named Nod, and she decides to help them. Meanwhile the bad guy general, Mandrake, has plans to steal the pod. Will it end up in the wrong hands? Will M.K. ever get big again? And what will her father do when he finds out that she’s missing?
Now, this all has the makings to be a rousing adventure film. And it does have some of the proper elements. Certainly, the design of the world is neat to look at. I love the way the little people ride hummingbirds and that their helmets are made of leaves. I also thought it was cool that when the bad guys touch things, they die. That was cool. There a few entertaining action scenes here and there as well.
So what’s the problem you ask? Well, many things. For one, the characters. None of them are really engaging. They are all pretty generic. M.K. comes across more shrewish than likable. I don’t feel like that I got to know who she was other than that she was sad about her mom’s death. And she seems to complain a lot. Amanda Seyfried’s voice was more whiny than anything. Nod is that typical rebel among the bad guys who must redeem himself before the movie is over. Ronin is that hard-nosed soldier who ends up being sensitive at the end. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. These characters aren’t terrible, but they’re just so cookie-cutter.
The film’s big problem is the tone. The story is a rousing, fantasy adventure. This should have been a tough family film like THE SECRET OF NIMH, DARK CRYSTAL and THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE. But, and it’s a big BUT, the filmmakers had the “genius” idea of injecting humor throughout the whole movie to appeal to kids. Why does Hollywood always feel the need to pander to kids? I think it’s insulting. They think they know what kids want, but they don’t have a clue. Sure, most kids (my daughter excluded) are going to laugh at loud, crude jokes, but that doesn’t mean that kids wont’ like the movie if they’re NOT included. Kids are smarter than you think. Give them something to chew on. Make your films intelligent Hollywood! Come on!
The worst thing about this movie is the two annoying comic relief characters. A slug and a snail. The only thing these 2 characters are good at is interrupting and spoiling the flow of the movie. Any time there is something intense happening, they do something silly and ruin the whole fucking moment. Do we really need scenes of the slug talking about how his fat figure makes him sexy, or him trying to hit on M.K.? Nope. It also doesn’t help that he’s voiced by overrated comic actor Aziz Ansari. I fucking hate that guy. I didn’t even know he did the voice until after I saw the movie, and he still sucked. There was one cute character that made me laugh on occasion, and that was M.K.’s 3-legged pug-nosed dog. He was adorable and has the best moments of the film. His scenes worked with the film, as opposed to the Slug’s scenes, whose scenes I felt worked against the movie.
This movie was supposed to be about M.K. saving the forest, but the only thing that stood out for me was the out-of-place humor. That kind of thing shouldn’t have dominated the film. It was hard for me to be engaged in this one. In fact, during the movie I must have spaced out, cause at the end when the good guys win (spoiler! lol), I asked my daughter what happened to the bad guy Mandrake, and she then told me how he died. I don’t remember that at all.
Speaking of my daughter. She is 9. She loves fantasy. She loves HARRY POTTER, LOTR, DARK CRYSTAL, WILLOW, LABYRINTH, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and things like that. She should have loved this movie. The story should’ve been right up her alley. But as soon as the end credits started, she turned to me and said, “TWO STARS!”. Well, from the mouths of babes I guess. She had the same problems that I did. Let that be a lesson to you Hollywood. Even some KIDS think that inappropriate humor doesn’t belong in animated fantasy adventures. Stop pandering to kids!
EPIC has a great premise but is ruined by “safe” humor to make the kids laugh. It definitely feels out-of-place in a hard-edged fantasy adventure. What if that slug character was featured in THE HOBBIT? Exactly! It would suck ass. Not totally irredeemable, but because the movie had so much promise, it makes the disappointment all the more resonant. Like I said in the first paragraph, go see THE PAINTING instead! ★★ (out of ★★★★)
– Rated PG for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language
– Running time: 1hr 42min.