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77 of 87 people found the following review helpful
With a name like "Epic", it has to be big, or at least it should be. I was only afraid that "Epic" would be the Michael Bay of animated movies. Following "Iron Man 3" and "Star Trek: Into Darkness" in its release date and opening the same week of "The Hangover 3" and "Fast and Furious 6", it is certainly up against big competition. Fortunately, that wasn't what I saw. What I saw was an adventure of thought-provoking depth that did exactly what I love most in movies; it took me to another world and kept me there until the credits rolled.

Mary Katherine or M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) is a character who has a distant relationship with her father and is still feeling the effects of the death of her mother. Her father has been buried in his research and there is a lot of animosity between them. He is convinced that there is a tiny culture of beings inhabiting the forest that surrounds their home. There are some deep subjects in the movie that may go over some children's heads, as well as some non-charismatic moments from Collin Farrell's Character, Ronin, which may bore you and your child to death.

Honestly though, I liked that there was some complexity to it. While the movie incorporated the things that have made other Blue Sky Studios movies ("Ice Age", "Rio" & "Robots") hits with all ages, it also had a depth and imagination to it that reminded me of movies like "The Dark Crystal", "Labyrinth" and "The Never Ending Story".

It is easy to say that "Epic" is possibly one of the most beautifully animated 3D movies I've seen to date. Again, the 3D adds to the, dare I say, epicness of the film. Nestled in the yards and woods is an epic world of Leafmen and Boggans that control the life and death of nature as we know it. The 3-dimensional world comes to life as we explore a world on the backs of hummingbirds and see streams, trees, springs and tunnels up close.

There's a little something missing with "Epic" though. There's almost a dryness that leaves some of the emotions flat and never truly capitalizes on the urgency we should feel as an audience. It wasn't hard connecting with M.K. but she too easily adapts to the task she is given and despite not knowing how she will return to normal life, she seems to go ahead without emotion; fear, joy or anything otherwise. That being said, the slug and snail characters added much needed comic relief.

I do recommend "Epic" because I enjoyed myself. Although if the writers had spent less time hammering home the nuts and bolts of the miniature world culture, which we understood in the first twenty minutes of the film, they could have spent more time making a better ending to the film and fleshing out some true and more widespread emotion. It could have been a better film, but that's not saying it wasn't more entertaining than most of the stuff out there these days.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2013
Admittedly, they could've come up with a better name for the movie, but "Epic" is by far one of the better animated movies you'll see this decade. It's a shame that it didn't receive as much in the box office, probably due to the other movies that came out around the time. A fresh film in a sea of sequels never gets the exposure it deserves. Even so, I HIGHLY recommend this film to anyone, children and adults alike.
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62 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2013
Simply put: The animation was beyond beautiful. It was seriously a good, clean, fun and all around awesome family movie. I can't think of anything bad about it.
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67 of 86 people found the following review helpful
This review is based on going to see "Epic" in the cinema with my family.

"Epic" is a beautifully created animated family film based on William Joyce's book "The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (Harper Trophy Books). It is rather like a better execution of the same basic idea as "Arthur & The Invisibles" except that in this case the whole film is animated where "Arthur and the invisibles" had the human-size portions played by real actors and the miniature sections animated. Ironically that means that, this film having a star studded voice cast, several of whom are extremely easy on the eye, the film does not show them as they usually appear: but the characters are so beautifully drawn that you don't really mind.

Case in point: the heroine and central character, Mary Katherine (who prefers to be known as MK) is voiced by actress Amanda Seyfried and the queen of the forest, Queen Tara, is voiced by Beyonce Knowles. I imagine one or two dads would much prefer to have seen the ladies concerned rather than animated images for which they provided the voices. But that reaction won't have lasted more than a few seconds after seeing how well their characters were voiced and drawn. Christian Kaplan who did the casting for this film obviously did pick the cast for their voices rather than their appearance, they more than justify the choice.

MK is a teenage girl whose mother has recently died. At the start of the film she arrives at the semi-derelict house, on the edge of a forest, where her father, mad scientist Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis) lives and studies the fauna of the forest. Bomba had wrecked both his career and his marriage through his obsessive attempts to prove that an "advanced civilisation" of tiny people exists in the forest.

It probably won't be a spoiler to anyone thinking of going to see this film - certainly not to anyone who has seen the trailer - that Bomba's apparently preposterous theory, which no other human takes seriously, is in fact correct. Nor that his daughter finds herself magically shrunk to the same size as the tiny denizens of the forest - and caught up in the constant war between two factions of forest creatures.

Although some of the less intelligent promotional material for this film presents that conflict as a battle between good and evil - and I have seen it wrongly suggested that the battle in the forest might also affect our world as well - the actual presentation in the film is a lot more nuanced than this. One side, led by Queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles) and her "leaf men" soldiers, represents growth, the other led by Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) and his "boggan" troops represent decay. Children or anyone else who wants to take a simple moral from the film will see Queen Tara's side as representing good while Mandrake is evil, but adults will realise that the life of the forest would actually depend on a balance between the two.

Indeed, one of the best things about the film is that the "bad guy," Mandrake, is not cartoonishly and two-dimensionally evil. Like the most dangerous villains in the real world or the best literature Mandrake is all the more formidable as an opponent because he has characteristics which in a "good guy" would be recognised as virtues. Instead of going down the all-too-familiar route of presenting the villain as being pathetic, cowardly, and full of hatred even to those closest to him, the film gives Mandrake a lot of the best lines, shows both him and his son and general Dagda (Blake Anderson) leading from the front at various stages of the film, and doesn't show them constantly plotting to betray each other.

Other strong and well voiced characters which enrich the film include Ronin (Colin Farrell) the general of the Leaf men, Nod (Josh Hutcherson), an independent minded young leafman whose dead father had been Ronin's friend, a pair of sometimes charming and sometimes aggravating molluscs, Mub the slug (Aziz Ansari) and Grub the snail (Chris O'Dowd), and a glow-worm impresario called Nim Galuu (Steven Tyler) who is also the keeper of the magic scrolls which record everything which goes on in the forest. The film also features the rapper Armando Pérez, better known by his stage name Pitbull, voicing a frog mafia boss.

Every time I go to see a new animated film I think the depiction of the characters, scenery and events could not get any more beautifully done, and every time you get to the next one you realise you were wrong, and this film is yet another visual feast. The plotting is also reasonably tight, keeping your attention, there are plenty of simple jokes for the kids and more sophisticated ones for the adults. It had me laughing at the jokes quite a few times.

Not everyone will like this film - some people will see it as far too similar to "Arthur and the Invisibles" and others will consider it a bit twee and childish. But I would consider it a very good film for children up to the age of about thirteen - my eleven-year-old daughter certainly loved it - and which adults can enjoy with their kids.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2013
This movie was a big hit with my family (husband and 3 kids - 8-year old girl, 6-year old boy, 6-year old girl.) Part of the appeal is that it is one of the few animated films that seems equally targeted to girls and boys - there are both a main girl and boy character, and just a tad of romance, but not so much for this to be a 'married happily ever after' princess type story. The nature animation is stunning, as is the view of the fairy world, and the human world seen from the fairy perspective. I loved the story (tho have not read the book so can't compare) and felt it was all carried off very well. Recommend!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 23, 2013
Naming your very film "Epic" is a tall order. The word "epic" suggests sweeping scope, grand action, and impossible odds. But EPIC is about a race of little people 5 inches tall. It's highest stakes are the survival of a patch of forest and the size of a 16 year old girl. Is EPIC epic?

No, not really. The scope is not all that grand, the screenplay is a derivative mash of other movies (Part Arthur & Invisibles, part Ferngully: The Last Rainforest). The film lacks the inspiration and the ingenuity that makes Pixar so great, the entertaining characters of Disney, but comes up close with DreamWorks in terms of lush atmosphere and beautiful animation (Is it just me, or is DreamWorks on a roll with How to Train Your Dragon, Kung-fu Panda 2, and The Croods?). I've never really LOVED Blue Sky Studios. I mean, the first ICE AGE is entertaining, but ROBOTS, HORTON HEARS A WHO, and the ICE AGE sequels were really hit-or-miss. RIO was fun and colorful, and like EPIC, beautifully animated, but Blue Sky has yet to combine heart, humour, excellent animation, and a great plot. Still, Epic impressed me in several ways, and I will go over them below.

So those are my cons. That and Beyoncé, whose voice performance is woefully out of place.

But as I said above, EPIC impressed me. It is the most gorgeously animated, beautifully drawn, lush, atmospheric, detailed, visually stunning animated film I have seen all year. The detail put into the costumes, down to the clasps and buckles, harnesses, and jewelery is simply incredible. The characters are beautifully designed and rendered, behaving naturally and realistically. The proportions are realistic, and the animation of the lush green trees and sparkling streams will take your breath away. A small scene with a deer will take your breath away. I give the film extra points for being the most colorful, breathtakingly animated children's film I've seen in a long time.

The voicework, too, is superb. Amanda Seyfried and Josh Hutcherson are excellent as human teen Mary-Katherine (who goes by MK) and the reckless Nod. The supporting cast, which include Steven Tyler, Pitbull, and Jason Sudeikis are beyond criticism, but the two standout roles are that of Colin Farrell and Christoph Waltz, who imbibe their cool characters with charisma, emotion, and energy. Farrell plays Ronin, the sword-wielding, hummingbird-flying, bottom-kicking head of the "Leafmen", while Waltz plays the surprisingly sympathetic and fully-fleshed villain - Mandrake.

Other areas where EPIC succeeds is the typically-good Danny Elfman score (he's never bad!), the action, in which "Boggans" and "Leafmen" fight with surprisingly real and devastating consequences, and the presence of two incredibly cute snails, who give the much-needed levity.

In conclusion, EPIC might not be as epic as it thinks it is, nor as original or inspired, but as a gorgeously animated, character-strong animated film that provides kids with good role-models and messages, while entertaining them with "epic" conflicts and amazing ain't half bad! My rating? Four pods out of five.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2013
We missed "Epic" at the theaters. But, we received the 3D BluRay yesterday on my Wife's birthday. Five adults hovering in front of the Sharp 70" Quatra, in the darkened room, with sunglasses. Quite a sight. BUT, more importantly ages 29 to 64 and we all enjoyed "Epic".

I tend to not over think the individual flaws of a film, but how it stands as an ensemble. Sometimes we don't agree with the logic of the story, but in the end, is the important issue is, was the story well told over all. Epic qualifies for "Story Well Told".

"Epic's" RIO genealogy shows though in the most positive ways. Beautiful to watch. Good vs. Evil, etc., and yes Good prevails. I'm certain all of my grandchildren will love it and their parents will approve.

As other have said, the animation is breathtakingly beautiful with amazing attention to detail. The 3D is NOT "in your face" but just enough to gain that extra degree of "being there". It was very tasteful. This is artful animation, not the CG live-action of Avatar. The 3D was just right for me, and the family agreed. The use of foreground vs back ground carried though even into the credits. KUDOs for being true to the 3D art form. This is a film you can forget it's in 3D until you turn the 3D off. Then you know it's missing. Just right...

We'll watch it over and over as each batch of kids and grownups circles through the house to watch in 3D or 2D as the groups prefer.

It will undoubtedly become a "standard" as sure as RIO, Ice Age, Robots, and other BlueSky animated films have. That reminds me, time to watch Robots again!

Thanks BluSky for thinking just enough out of the box.

My primary criticisms: "What's up with the title"? No wonder people didn't flock to see it. Too bad. Don't let the title put you off. The film could have just as easily be title" "Wonderful" or "Enchanting", which it was for us. My secondary criticism is the extra features are only on the 2D disk in the set. Surely the 3D didn't take up that much extra data on the disk, or maybe it did with the exceptional detail. Furthermore, this is a very complex project and I think there were many opportunities missed in the Extra features. They weren't the Extras you'll tell your friends about, etc.. like those found on Shrek and some other animated films. Oh wait!. Maybe I just figured out why they didn't bother to include them on the 3D disk.

Balance your life. Watch "Epic" with friends and family, then go out and enjoy the outdoors the Leafmen are protecting.

SRJ and family in Portland, OR
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2013
My 3 and 4 year old love this movie, nice to find a movie that we can all enjoy together
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the Sherlock Holmes franchise, was convinced that five photos taken by Elise Wright and Frances Griffiths were pictures of genuine fairies. They later admitted that the whole thing was a hoax. That's the modern-day premise of "Epic," in which Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis) has dedicated his life's work - to the exclusion of his family - to proving the existence of fairies. His theory is that we can't see these fairies because they move out of phase, faster than us (or alternately, we're slower than them). And so Bomba's estranged daughter, Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) has come home to live with her father.

If the fairies weren't real this would be a very short film, so it's not a spoiler to say that they exist. There's a dizzying variety, embodied primarily by two sides; the Leafmen led by Queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles) represent the forces of life and the Boggans led by Mandrake (Christopher Waltz) represent the forces of death. A special day is nigh: the summer solstice coincides with a full moon, which is the time Queen Tara chooses a successor by passing on a magic pod that will bloom according to its circumstances. If it grows in the light of the full moon it will empower the darkness, which of course encourages the Boggans to commit a full scale assault.

Somewhere along the way, Mary Katherine (MK for short) shrinks down, randomly inserted Nod (Josh Hutcherson) rebels against the more serious Ronin (Colin Farrell), and snail Grub (Chris O'Dowd) and slug Mub (Aziz Ansari) perform a recurring comedy skit. MK carries most of the film, with the other characters in orbit around her with their throwaway plots (Nod lost his dad and resents Ronin's paternal stance towards him, Mub wants to be a Leafman, Grub has a crush on MK). But mostly "Epic" is a series of epic fight scenes between elf-like leaf warriors and orc-like goblins.

"Epic" does 3D very well. The fight scenes are energetic and the stakes are high; when villains fall off their mount they fall to their death - the film doesn't shy away from this, smearing one Boggan on a windshield - and the action clicks along at a frenetic pace. But when you strip away the novelty of big vs. little, tree vs. fungus people, "Epic" is basically like every other action fantasy film.

This doesn't make "Epic" bad, but it's not particularly kid-friendly either. It's pretty to look at, but up close, it's not nearly as exciting as you might have hoped. My son got bored about halfway through.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2013
This is a movie that the whole family will enjoy it suited for all ages and it warm touching. This is a beautiful movie about the balances of things and how we are all connected . In addition , it goes deep into relationship between daughter and a father. Being a daddy girl even now at almost 30 I truly can relate to this and enjoy old memory with my dad and my daughter with her father.
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