Fantasy fiction has given us a lot of new ways we see our own world. One perspective that seems to be popular is the idea of tiny people. They are usually only a few inches tall, yet they know how to adapt to our large homes and create their own adventures. A spider is now a monster and marshmallows can fill ones hunger for a year. There have been plenty of B-science fiction stories (a lot from the fifties like The Incredible Shrinking Man) and family movies like Honey I Shrunk the Kids that deal with being tiny in todays home. Honestly, I don’t get it.
Stories about tiny societies have never been that much of a draw. Even as a child, while these stories were interesting, they were never a favorite. Now that I’ve grown up, I see this kind of tale less interesting. I think it may be because from a perspective point of view, seeing our world from a smaller size doesn’t really add much; all were seeing is bigger toys and food. Why does that project an awe from a lot of people. Where’s the magic in that. Epic attempts to change the…tiny society world and make it cool.
In the middle of a forest, young Mary-Katherine (played by Amanda Seyfried) is visiting her father Professor Bomba (played by Jason Sudeikis). He’s thrown his career out the window because he believes that a tiny race of people are living in his backyard. He’s created theories about them, but doesn’t have any evidence. Mary-Kathrine, or MK as she calls herself wants her dad to give up his crazy mission, but he seems more interested in his research then his daughter. When she tries to run away, she comes across a tiny woman who turns out to be the queen of these people. Queen Tara (played by Beyoncè Knowles) shrinks MK and asks her to deliver a magic Pod to a wizard.
As soon a MK realizes she small, her father has turned out to be correct and finds a group of solders named the leaf-men. The leader Ronin (played by Colin Farrell) finds MK and asks her to come with her as they need to protect the pod from the evil Mandrake (played by Christoph Waltz) who wants to destroy the forest. MK ends up going on a journey that takes her deeper into the woods where she finds a beautiful world of magical plants, comedic slugs (played by Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd) and other earthly magic to save the forest.
On one hand, I should like this film, because it looks beautiful. The scenery makes the forest look like a fantasy tale I would tell for children. It really comes alive and creates a good atmosphere (I wish I had seen this in 3D). But when the film decides to fill the scenery with other characters, it really brings it all down.
First of all, most of the human characters are cardboard cutouts. Amanda Seyfried is the rebellious teen, Colin Farrell is the no nonsense military guy, and Jason Sudeikis is the mad scientist. The worst comes from Josh Hutcherson as Nod, whose character is so bland and forgettable, he needs to fire his agent for this. Speaking of bad roles, the two slug comic reliefs are very annoying and unfunny. It’s like listening to a five year old tell jokes you’ve heard before, but you listen just to be nice. Even the villain’s motivations are confusing (why destroy the forest? You have to live here too!). Surprisingly, the best performances come from Pitbull as a gangster frog and Steven Tyler as a glowworm. They seem to at least try to be entertaining, but when your musicians are better then the real actors, you know you got a big problem.
Even then, the story of entering a world to save it is nothing new. Wizard of Oz to Avatar, I’m sick if this story cliché. You all know whats going to happen, so your forced to sit through something your probably going to forget next week.
I’ll give this two and a half leaf-men out of five. I’m sure that Epic will be liked by children (they seemed to be laughing in my theater), but adults will be wishing that they could have seen Star Trek Into Darkness instead. Despite some good looking animation, Epic is too familiar and cardboard cutout to recommend.