2013 Running time: 102 Certificate: u Rating: 3
EPIC KA

Synopsis

The creators of Ice Age and Rio unleash more animated magic in a comedy adventure that whisks a feisty teenager (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) into a hidden forest universe. Once there, she meets a host of fantastical characters and finds herself drawn into a battle between good and evil that could change their world - and ours. Beyonce, Colin Farrell and Chris O'Dowd add their vocals to this spellbinding take on a novel by Rise of the Guardians author William Joyce.

Director

  • Chris Wedge

Cast

  • Amanda Seyfried

  • Jason Sudeikis

  • Steve Tyler

  • Beyonce Knowles

  • Pitbull

Review

With a star-studded voice cast, some stunning animation and an earthy, inventive take on a classic 'stranger in a strange land' narrative, Epic is destined for huge success.

After her (unseen) mother's death, teenager MK (Seyfried) has to go and live with her awkward, ecologist father Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis) in his crumbling country cabin.

Headstrong and frustrated, MK blames her dad's "delusional belief in an advanced society of tiny people living in the woods" for the breakdown of their family.

But when she somehow shrinks to find herself in a hidden kingdom among the leaves, MK realises her father was right all along and discovers that she could be the key to saving a world that isn't hers...

Based on The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce - who also inspired Meet the Robinsons and Rise of the Guardians - there are some fantastic ideas on display.

In a neat metaphor, we learn that the denizens of the forest stay hidden from humanity as, like a fly avoiding a swatting palm, they live at a higher speed.

Queen Tara, the Mother Nature-like figure voiced by Beyonce, has dreamily rendered telekinetic abilities, while birds are the kingdom's version of horses, used for transportation but also mounted racers that inspire gambling and criminality.

MK's dad isn't too far off with his theories about the forest world - it's a medieval-esque society with the 'Leafmen' the knights protecting a magical queen from the 'Boggins', marauding outsiders intent on destroying the miniscule land.

And, boy, is it beautiful to look at. You can practically smell the streams, leaves and bark with some excellent depth to the woodland imagery - it's easily the best-looking film Blue Sky Studios have made.

Unfortunately, Epic's world is somewhat overpopulated. Chris O'Dowd and Aziz Ansari provide some laughs as a snail/slug double-act but the rest of the cast fail to register - apart from the confusing range of accents which posits the goodies as either American or Irish while the villains are mostly Germanic.

This is a straightforward tale of good versus evil and father-daughter bonding but the script overcomplicates the story, injecting disorientating action sequences, repetitive slapstick, a comedy dog and a needless song for Aerosmith's Steven Tyler (voicing a wise, six-legged mole-thing) rather than keeping things simple.

While it's not as awe-inspiring as the title suggests, it's a fast-paced adventure with some original flourishes and genuinely marvellous animation.

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