Sunday, June 2, 2013


The best thing that can be said for Epic is that the animation of the natural world is fantastically good. The leaves and trees, the hummingbirds, the light and shadow, the water, all of it is wonderful. The opening sequence, which consists of shots of the forest, is the best part of the film. The animation of non-natural scenery is also pretty good, and the character design is sufficient.

The plot is fairly reminiscent of magical-princess anime - the main character is an ordinary girl who is transported to another world and immediately becomes instrumental in saving it. In other words, there is nothing new or really interesting in the plot. It is a kids movie, but that's no excuse for a lack of originality. The leaf warriors are ripped off of the elves from the Lord of the Rings movies. The general is inappropriately named Ronin, and fights with a katana for no apparent reason. Another character appears to be heavily based on the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland.

For a kids movie, this is pretty intense. The bad guys are very dark, tonally. There is a lot of violence. Death is a central plot point. Younger kids will probably be scared. There is also a romantic subplot. That, along with the age of the main character, makes me think that the target audience for this movie is tweens or young teens.

My biggest problem with Epic is with the overall message. This is going to get slightly spoilery, but not too badly so. The plot of the forest-world story is that we want nature and life to win against decay and death. That's fine, if unoriginal- there's even a Fisher King element to it, which is nice. The main non-romantic subplot in the forest-world story is about the importance of taking responsibility and finding one's place in the world. That's fine too, though it's frequently heavyhanded. The main plot of the outside world is the problem. The girl's father is crazy. He's a bumbling fool and a nice guy, and he happens to be right, but that doesn't make his actions ok. The film condones an obsession so destructive that it ruined a marriage and broke apart a family. I have a hard time with that.

The scenery is top-notch, the score is very good (as one expects from Danny Elfman), but otherwise Epic just isn't very good. And it's not terribly epic.

1. Now You See Me
2. Star Trek: Into Darkness
3. Oblivion
4. Iron Man 3
5. Jack the Giant Slayer
6. Beautiful Creatures
7. Oz the Great and Powerful
8. Epic
9. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
10. Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters
11. The Great Gatsby

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