My Rating: ***1/2 (out of ****)
The way things a currently looking, this might very well not be a Pixar year. A much as I might enjoy Monsters University and possibly Planes, they may very well not be my favorite animated films of the year, and they probably won't be. The Croods is already my favorite animated film of the year, and this movie, Epic, in my opinion, is also pretty good.
The main protagonist of the film is Mary Katherine, or M. K., a likable (and cute) teenage girl who, after her mother's death, goes to live with her eccentric and reclusive father. Her father believes that there is a miniature world of magical little people and creatures that live in the forest, and of course other people, including M. K., don't believe him. However, she soon magically shrunken and discovers this little world, which she must save.
And so on. I admit, the movie is not very epic; it is a bit generic and has just about every cliché possible: good vs. evil, balance of nature, dysfunctional parent/child relationship, etc etc. The film resembles a number of other films, such as FernGully, Avatar, and Honey I Shrunk the Kids, among others. One of the main characters, the Nod, even resembles Flynn Rider from Tangled pretty strongly (but this wasn't a problem for me). However, I disagree with everyone who is calling it charmless, forgettable, too reliant on visuals, and weak in terms of character, plot, heart, etc. That's right, I actually enjoyed it.
I actually thought the movie was handled fairly well and has a decent, solid, enjoyable, well- paced plot. The film started out a bit slow, but I started to get more interested as trouble started brewing in the miniature forest world and then M. K. gets shrunken; from then on the movie was much better, and I got interested and emotionally involved in the story. The film also has likable characters and relationships, and good voice performances by Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Beyonce Knowles, and the rest of the cast. It even had some good humorous parts, including a pair of mollusks and a three-legged dog.
The best part of the film is the animation; dazzling, lively, meticulously detailed, and it helps bring everything to life. Like Avatar, this movie has what I found to be an interesting, immersing, well-designed setting. Also, like Avatar, it has a good, strong ecological message, which I appreciate. It also has heart, charm, and genuine emotion, and additional good moral messages such as friendship, love, bravery, and selflessness.
Bottom line: If you ask me, Epic is hardly epic, but it's good. And it was especially enjoyable for me on the big screen. Kids will certainly love it; and if you are an adult, like me, just let out your inner child and enjoy the film.
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