Directed by Chris Wedge
Based on The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs
by William Joyce
Starring Voice Actors:
Music by Danny Elfman
Blue Sky Studios
20th Century Fox Animation
Plot (courtesy of Wikipedia):
A girl named Mary Katherine (M.K), long separated from her father, Professor Bomba, visits him in his old house near a forest, where he lives with his dog, Ozzie. Bomba has long studied the artifacts of what he believes to be a group of tiny warriors who live in the forest and protect it. He often goes into the forest to look for them and has cameras everywhere, in hopes of confirming their existence. He is so involved with his work that he neglects M.K., resulting in her leaving and pasting a goodbye note to one of his monitors. As she is leaving, Ozzie knocks past her and runs into the woods. M.K. sets out to look for him. She comes upon a group of glowing, falling leaves. Catching one of them, she is suddenly shrunken. In her minuscule state, she discovers the group of warriors Bomba has studied, who are known as the Leafmen. Soon she is forced to assist them in a war against forces of rot known as the Boggans and their leader Mandrake, while trying to find out how to return home.
I won’t again go into my love for Pixar and how they make truly stunning films for people of all ages – I don’t see them as just “kid movies”. Studios other than Disney/Pixar, however, have yet to master keeping the adults as well as the kids entertained. Despicable Me (love it!) and Shrek (meh) have been a couple of the only non-Pixar movies that I think achieved this. Epic doesn’t even come close to “keeping the adults entertained too” so I’ll review this for what it is: a kid’s movie.
Epic is a strange one because I think the story is a bit complicated and the fact that the main character is a teenage girl makes this movie feel like it’s aimed at kids (girls especially) aged 8-13 or so. But this doesn’t seem like the sort of movie that kids these sort of ages WANT to see these days. There are some okay characters for the much younger audience (the snail & the slug are fairly funny) but I think younger kids will be a bit confused by the plot. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure who this movie is aimed at but I know I was really bored. I saw this four days ago and I’m struggling to remember much about it in order to be able to write anything. This is one of those movies I’m going to completely forget about in a year.
The movie takes quite a while to get going and the pacing of the entire thing was off. We see a lot of the teenage girl and her estranged father at the beginning as she comes to stay with and reconnect with him. It seemed like ages before we got to the bit where she finally sees the tiny Leafmen. Yet in that time they still didn’t manage to make you feel anything for the father & daughter and for their situation – they didn’t develop any sort of connection with each other. I thought the teenage girl also adjusted to suddenly being tiny and in the middle of this epic “tiny person battle” a little too quickly. Of course, there’s a hot teenage Leafman so, naturally, I’m sure that helped. 😉
As I said, the slug and snail were fairly funny (not good Pixar-type funny but typical kid-movie funny) so they were probably the highlight of the film for me. I guess. I found the voices of Beyonce and especially Steven Tyler a bit distracting (but, hey, kids wouldn’t notice things like that). But it reminded me of how much I hated Steven Tyler’s voice suddenly being in Polar Express and totally throwing me out of that movie (not that I was too bothered as I didn’t like that one much anyway). The teenage girl is fine as the main character – I think young girls watching the movie will probably connect with her. The dad was a bit of a bumbling idiot. The teenage Leafman was fine and the older Leafman who’s in charge was fine – these characters and the “baddies” (and the slug and snail) help to make this a movie that boys should like too even though the main character is female. There are also a lot of battles as there’s this war of good vs evil going on so I don’t mean to make it sound like this is a girl’s movie – sometimes boys see a girl as the main character and think that makes something a girl’s movie.
Epic is a movie where the plot is a bit too complicated for the very young but the slightly older child audience it seems to be aimed at will probably not find much they’ll care about in the film. I think older girls will connect with the main teenage girl, younger boys will like the Leafmen, the battles & the fairly scary bad guys, and the very young will like the slug and the snail. The whole thing was pretty and the animation was good and all that but I don’t think any of that is going to matter to the adults in the audience who will be checking their watches and just enjoying a bit of peace while their kids are (hopefully!) quiet and sitting still for 1 hour and 42 minutes. Meh. It’s not horrible. But it’s not that good. It’s aimed at kids but I don’t think this rating is too unfair as I don’t think many kids will exactly consider this one of their all-time favorite films…
My Rating: 5.5/10
For a slightly better recent film aimed at kids, I did enjoy The Croods a bit more. Review here: The Croods
**And for those disappointed that there are no “underwear” pictures in this post, the closest I can think of is a picture of the character voiced by Steven Tyler. He wears a robe the whole time. With nothing underneath. And fully open. Close enough??