Epic arrives with the most ambitious of names for a film. That moniker is usually reserved for wide-spanning motion pictures whose scope is as large as its ambition -- think Lawrence of Arabia. In fact, as shown in the Epic trailer, the film is about a world that is quite small… almost impossible to see with the naked eye.
The story follows a seemingly out of his mind scientist living deep in the forest who is convinced that there is an epic battle (there it is!) between the forces who seek to feed the wooded area’s passion for growth and those who seek to see it riddled with decay.
Amanda Seyfried voices M.K., a young woman who has been estranged from her scientist father since her mother took her and left the man more interested in studying the tiniest of life than focusing on his own. Jason Sudeikis (recently seen in the We’re the Millers trailer) is welcoming his daughter back home, but if he is excited… he has a funny way of showing it. Mere moments after she arrives, alarms go off from his cameras embedded deep in the forest.
This could be the proof he’s waiting for… so he takes off, leaving M.K. along with the family’s overly excitable Pug.
As the audience sees, Sudeikis is spot on. There is a war going on between the life of the forest, led by Queen Tara (Beyonce) and enforced by her military leader childhood friend Ronin (Colin Farrell). The forces of decay (led by the always awesome in his evil-ness Christoph Waltz) have an army and their specific mission on this day is to interrupt the selection of an heir to Queen Tara among the flower buds.
See, every 100 years or so, the royal in charge of the forest must pass on her or his legacy. It’s a huge deal, with a massive parade and all of the forest’s plant life gathered for the society-saving event. Waltz’s Mandrake plans an ambush to kill the Queen and stop the passing of royalty that ensures the forest’s survival and will usher in an era of decay and destruction from which the forest will not survive.
Meanwhile, there’s a subplot involving a character that carries himself like Han Solo. Nod (Josh Hutcherson) is clearly a talented warrior and Ronin has all but given up on the renegade with great talent and little interest in serving the greater good. But, when (we’ll spare you the details) M.K. is shrunk to their size… his heart goes pitter patter and he suddenly finds the inner power to defend the world he resides in that is under attack.
The vocal talent is strong in Epic, especially Aziz Ansari and Bridesmaids scene stealer Chris O’Dowd as a slug and snail, respectively. They are the comic relief, but also hold the key to ensuring their civilization’s survival.
Epic is obviously a kids’ movie. Children will adore it and parents will relish in the lessons it emits. It will spawn many a conversation between parent and child about the circle of life, nature and its important place in our world, as well as the importance of family. Yet, our Epic review finds that adults may find the journey a little tedious. But, Epic is not for them. It is squarely for children and the inner child in all of us.
Given that Epic is from the makers of an animated franchise, Ice Age, we wonder if this is just the beginning of the epic journey of the forest and those who seek to defend it.