EPIC, 2013, USA
EPIC is a decent film. The animation is gorgeous, and the story is interesting enough to be engaging, but the characters are lacking. I got the sense that this would be the case going in, and, frankly, thought about just renting the movie. However, Christoph Waltz plays Mandrake, the leader of the villainous Boggans. Waltz is one of the VERY few actors whose mere appearance in a film is enough to get me interested in it. To put it simply: I’ll watch any movie he’s in.
After the death of her mother, M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) moves in with her father (Jason Sudeikis), an absent father who is obsessively studying the mysterious Leafmen in the nearby forest. This obsession cost him his marriage and his daughter. Frustrated by her father’s ongoing obsession, M.K. leaves, only to be shrunk by the queen of the forest (Beyoncé Knowles). Given responsibility over a flower bud that is the future of the forest, M.K., along with Ronin (Colin Farrell), leader of the leaf warriors, and Nod (Josh Hutcherson), must protect the bud from the Boggans until it can bloom.
I really enjoyed the story – I thought it was fun, and at times it was quite humorous. Unfortunately, the writers of the film did not develop the characters enough. Each of the main characters were essentially different stock characters. The actors did the best they could with the material they were given, and Farrell and Waltz stand out from the pack. Both were charismatic and their characters were easily the most interesting ones. It’s just too bad they weren’t given more material to work with, because it would have been quite easy to develop both characters further with only a few additional minutes of screen time. I didn’t find anything interesting about Seyfried or Hutcherson’s characters. Frankly, I would have been happy to see Farrell play the sole lead character, but I imagine his tough, stoic character wouldn’t have appealed to children!
I saw the film in 2D, which was possible since I went early in the day, when theatres tend to hold the 2D screenings here in Winnipeg. I can’t comment on the quality of the 3D, but I didn’t feel I was missing anything in 2D. The animation is gorgeous – I loved the contrasts between the lush forest and the dead forest inhabited by the Boggans.
I don’t imagine EPIC will end up being particularly memorable, but it was fun, and, at times very touching. The lush animation makes it worth seeing in theatres!