Epic is about a smart, spirited, and headstrong 17 year-old, teenager named Mary Katherine "M.K." who, after the death of her mother, moves back to live with her estranged father, Professor Bomba, along with her pet dog, Ozzy. Bomba has long studied a group of warriors who live in the forest and protect it as guardians of good. He often will go into the forest and survey them. She, like every other human in the movie, doesn't believe in all the stuff her father has devoted particularly his life to. She loses patience with him and his stories and their reunion is all but a disaster. One day, the professor does not return from a hike in the forest, so Mary Katherine sets out to look for him. Hours later, she comes upon a group of glowing, falling leaves. Catching one of them, she is suddenly shrunken down. In her minuscule state, she discovers the group of warriors Prof. Bomba has studied, who are known as the Leaf-Men. When she is forced to reside with the Leaf-Men, she gains a new perspective and developed friendships with everyone in the forest. To find her way home, M.K. must do than believe in this world; she'll help to save it from the Boggans and their ruthless, villainous leader Mandrake. This is a story about betrayal, sacrifice, friendship, love, bravery, courage, and caring for something else rather than yourself.
The acting is really superb and all the actors have great chemistry together: Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz, Colin Farrell, Aziz Ansari, and Jason Sudekis are terrific, while Beyoncé is the best of all. She is a real acting triumph in the film, and her performance is so critical in the film, as Queen Tara will do anything to ensure the safety of the forest and the lives of her friends, and that she leaves M.K. a very important mission to do her behalf when she couldn't. She brings a lot of integrity, passion, and heart to her role and helps carry the film with spectacular grace.
There's a lot to love about the film, including its production design, visual artistry, and the 3D, which are as dazzling, grand, spectacular, and innovative as, say, Avatar. The 3D is really worth the price of admission; the film features strong emotional depth and an immersive experience that can be greatly experienced in 3D, and the animation, in particular, is terrifically phenomenal and realistic. Danny Elfman did a very good job with the music score as he captured the spirit, excitement, essence, and heart of the film.
With the script written by William Joyce, James V. Hart (Hook, August Rush), Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember (Get Smart), and Daniel Shere, the story's narrative was famillar to other films, but so was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, How to Train Your Dragon, Hotel Transylvania, and The Croods, and yet, it was cleverly written that it stands out on its own from other films so there's nothing to worry about. They, along with Chris Wedge and the story artists, have aggressively expanded William Joyce's original story by giving it fantastical mythologies about the forest, more development on the characters, and the supplementing the action-adventure genre in the story as Wedge envisioned. I liked the fact that Joyce worked on the script, because when you have a small story that was expanded to be more ambitious and dramatic, then it's best to have input from Joyce as he included a lot of cool and interesting plot points in the film.
For instance, Joyce modeled Mary Katherine (M.K.) very much after his own daughter; she, unfortunately, died from a brain tumor in 2010 and it was a very personal and devastating loss for him. I truly wish that this movie should've been dedicated to her memory, as it would mean much to her family and friends. She would've been very proud of the movie, her father's work on the film, and the main character in the film, Mary Katherine (M.K.).
Wedge's direction triumphed the most in the film. He came a long way from his beginnings and he wanted to make the film something special. He wanted to make this as an action-adventure epic on the scale of Ben-Hur, Star Wars, Gladiator, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he succeeds it. He doesn't intend it to be cute and I'm grateful that it wasn't; previous action-adventure animated films Titan A.E. and Atlantis had intense situations with childlike supporting characters, thus leaving the films with a poorly identified targeted audience about what's a film's targeted audience and this was not the case for Epic. I liked how he handed with both the characters and actors, and his direction is ingenious and visionary. He can really handle big ambitious epic films with ingenious storytelling on this scale, even if it's an animated film. The epic spectacle is never at the expanse of the story, characters, and the heart of the story.
Epic goes to prove to people that animated films can also really handle the action-adventure genre as much as live-action films do, just like how Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Akira, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Incredibles, and Kung Fu Panda trilogy did. With this film, Blue Sky Studios wanted to prove everyone that they can do so much more than pop culture references, cheap jokes, and unimaginative storytelling. They've not only exceeded that, they surpassed it and beyond. With this film, this is a promising launch of the new Blue Sky Studios, which has declared war on DreamWorks, Disney Animation, and Pixar.
You will be laughing, astonished, amazed, blown away, and inspired, because Epic truly stands out as one of the most surprising film experiences of the year, and could be one of the best films of the year.
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