With The Voices Of: Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Beyonce Knowles, Chris O’Dowd, Jason Sudekis, Steven Tyler, Pitbull
Written By: James V. Hart, William Joyce, Daniel Shere, Tom J. Astle, and Matt Ember.
Directed By: Chris Wedge
Holy Hell. FIVE people touched this screenplay. I feel like they had an idea for the movie, and kept asking a new writer to make it “less like Ferngully”. Instead of fairies living in trees, we have leafmen living in trees. There’s a villain, who looks suspiciously like the Boogieman from Rise Of The Guardians. They could be brothers. And we have two of the most annoying comic relief characters in a kids film this year. The snail and slug are awful. Every scene they were in was completely void of laughter.
So what’s the story? MK (Seyfried) goes to live with her dad (Sudekis) after her mom dies, and they speak two different languages. Her dad has never learned to be a dad because he’s been documenting the lives of little people he believes are living in the forest. MK thinks he’s crazy, but he’s right. There are leafmen, and they have their own way of life. Something big is about to happen, and some shit goes down, and MK finds herself transformed into a little person. The queen (Knowles) gives her important instructions, despite not knowing who she is, and then dies. So MK is entrusted with the survival of an entire race.
She gets help from her love interest (Hutcherson), who is overly cocky because, well, poor character choices… and Ronin (Farrell), who I would deem the only well written character in the film. Ronin is a soldier who was tasked with caring for Hutcherson’s annoying character after his father died, and had no idea how to, and the kid is an ungrateful twerp on top of it. There are obvious similarities between him and MK, like “beat you over the head” similarities. MK learns to grow by watching this relationship unfold.
There’s this dark race of creatures that like to kill everything in their path, led by Boogeyman’s brother (Waltz), and his bumbling sidekick (Pitbull… because… fuck you). They want to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Or, at least, a large part of the forest. There’s a war. MK learns important life lessons and her father learns to be a dad. Sort of. Oh, and Steven Tyler voices a wise old caterpillar.
Some of the voice cast are appropriately cast. Knowles does a lot with very little, Tyler is actually a good choice for his role, and Seyfried and Hutcherson are perfectly cast in whining character. I spent most of the movie thinking Ronin was voiced by Brendan Gleeson, only to find out it was Colin Farrell. Farrell rarely uses his native accent in films, so it caught me off-guard, I guess. Ansari and O’Dowd are awful choices for awful characters. Sudekis is OK, I guess. Waltz has a bizarre accent that almost works as the villain, and Pitbull… well… at least his character is minor.
There were better animated films this year. Epic just feels like a sub-par retread of things we’ve seen before. And for an animated film, these characters aren’t memorable. I can’t imagine kids are asking their parents for Epic themed clothes, toys, games, merchandise, etc. Epic will go into a bargain bin at a store, where parents will pick it up for their kids to watch in a car trip some day. That being said, it was still better than Escape From Planet Earth. A little bit.
FINAL GRADE: C-