Wednesday, May 22, 2013
REVIEW: Epic 3D
May 24, 2013
20th Century Fox,
Blue Sky Studios
1 hour 42 minutes
There have only been two other animated films to have come out in 2013 so far, and only one of them, 'The Croods,' was worth going to see. The fact that there have been very little animated/family movies to be released this year is disappointing, so to see that something like 'Epic' is coming out is both a nice sight and a bad one. On one hand, the animation looks stunning and there is some decent talent behind it, including 'Ice Age' and 'Rio' director Chris Wedge and stars Colin Farrell and Christoph Waltz. On the other hand, however, the jokes look terrible, the story looks like something we've seen before, and there are voice talents that have little to no acting experience, including music superstars Steven Tyler and Pitbull. After seeing the film, I can say that 'Epic,' while not perfect or an animation masterpiece, is a surprisingly enjoyable family movie that does have its moments of excitement and clever humor, despite a forced romance and a subplot that has no relevance to the film until the very end.
Teenager Mary Katherine, or MK as she likes to be called, is moving in with her father, a crazy man obsessed with finding the "little people" living in the woods behind his house, after her mother passed away. It's clear that these two don't have the best relationship, since the father is too obsessed with his work and MK just wants to find some closure. After MK stumbles upon a little flower on the ground, she is magically shrunken down and transported to the world of the little people her father has been going on about for years. These tiny people, or "leaf men" as they like to be called, are on a mission to protect that little flower, which has taken a holding onto MK, from the rotting villains of the forrest, and make sure it blooms so it can become the new queen of the forrest. If the rotting baddies get ahold of this queen to be, then it could become the dark prince of the forrest and destroy life in the forrest, and the world, as they know it.
Even if their movies aren't the greatest, it's hard to deny that the movies at Blue Sky look absolutely stunning. Every character in this film has their own unique look, and some are designed more uniquely than others. Even the most minor of characters have some type of trait that makes one just say "wow" while watching. I even admire their use of 3D. This is one of the very few time when a 3D kids movie never had a single moment where something pops out at the screen. Instead, the audience just straps in and gets transported into this gorgeous world with a lot of depth and clarity. It's about time animated movies didn't go all the way in terms of making a goofy kids film. Sadly though, there are a fair amount of unfunny jokes that take away from the film overall.
Whenever the film tries to strive in the humor department, the result is just about as mediocre as any unfunny kids movie can be. For the most part, a lot of the jokes fall flat, especially when the film is trying to make a stupid pun or a bathroom reference. The funniest stuff in the film actually comes from a three legged dog in the film. That's mostly physical humor, but that stuff just made me laugh. The film even lacks originality in terms of the plot. There's an unneeded romance that's thrown in there for the hell of it, a subplot that has little to no significance in the film until the end, and a story that, in a way, has been done before. Still though, the film manages to break past all of those errors to make a harmless and enjoyable enough animated flick worth seeing with the family.
The voice cast overall is just decent. There are some good performances from the actors, and some forgettable and bland performances as well. The actors who fall in the bland category include Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, and even Christoph Waltz. Sure, their roles were fine for what they were, but honestly, anyone could have played those characters and the film would have stayed exactly the same. The four are all very talented overall, but their talents weren't taken full advantage of in this film. The best performances overall came from Jason Sudekis, Beyonce Knowles, and surprisingly enough, Steven Tyler. These actors actually seemed to have fun with their roles and did it because they wanted to entertain the children, and not entertain themselves with money. Sure, there are a lot of talented actors in this film, but sadly very few of them show any passion in their performances.
While 'Epic' has its fair share of flaws, it is a somewhat enjoyable family film. It has all the elements of a bad kids movie present, including a useless subplot, a forced romance, and very weak comedy. However, it does have outstanding visuals, clever ideas about the forrest and the motion of humans and tiny insects, a decent enough cast, and some fun battle sequences. The pros of this film luckily outweigh the cons ever so slightly enough to give this movie a mild recommendation. It's nowhere near as good as the original 'Ice Age' flick, but it is far superior to 'Continental Drift,' so that alone is a good thing. While this isn't the most original and most spectacular animated movie anyone will see, this is definitely passable entertainment that will make parents happy that their kids are happy. Plus, parents may even get a few chuckles out of this. If your kids want to see a movie, and you think 'Iron Man 3' might be a little too intense, then 'Epic' has the perfect amount of humor, adventure, and heart to satisfy any family with small children.
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