Epic is voiced by Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O'Dowd, Pitbull, and Jason Sudeikis. Steven Tyler and Beyonce Knowles also lend their voices to the film. Directed by Chris Wedge. A Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox Films movie.
After the passing of her mother, teenager Mary Katherine "M.K." (Amanda Seyfried) moves in with her eccentric estranged father, Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis). M.K's parents had divorced a decade earlier because her dad's work had consumed him, and he was convinced that "little people" were living in the woods nearby their home. Professor Bomba is a nutty, and absent-minded professor with numerous homemade contraptions used to locate the "little people". In the family home is amiable 3-legged doggy sidekick Ozzie.
After returning home for a short while, M.K. concludes that her father is still hopeless in his search for "little people", and she cannot have a relationship with him, as hard as she tries. She packs her suitcase to leave, but Ozzie accidentally gets out of the house and bounds straight into the forest. So begins the adventure.
Deep in the woods, there is a battle raging on a miniature scale. Queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles) must choose an heir to her throne. Her advisor and chief of The Leafmen guardians, Ronin (Colin Farrell) begs the queen to have a private ceremony to pick the heir, as the evil Boggans and their leader Mandrake (Christopher Waltz) wish to destroy her.
However, Queen Tara is guided by her heart, and wishes to go through with a public ceremony. In the background, Ronin tries to keep Nod (Josh Hutcherson) as a Leafman protector, and honour the promise he made to his fallen father. But Nod is young and wants to choose his own path.
The ceremony goes off without a hitch at the swamp, as Queen Tara chooses the pink water lily that will bloom into her heir. The bloom is tended by Mub the slug (Aziz Ansari) and Grub the snail (Chris O'Dowd). I enjoy films with great sidekicks, and Mub and Grub were exactly that. There were many times that the audience laughed out loud at their antics. Those guys are hilarious!
After the bloom is chosen by Queen Tara, she is ambushed by the Boggans. The queen makes a valiant effort to escape, and The Leafman do their best to protect her, but she is shot by a fatal arrow. As she is shot out of the air, the two worlds of big and small collide, and M.K. catches the fatally wounded queen.
M.K. cannot believe what she's seeing, but tries to aid the queen. It is too late to save her, but as M.K. holds the bloom that is the heir to the kingdom of the Leafmen, she is shrunk down to their size, and experiences life at a sped up pace. Before the queen perishes, she asks M.K. to personally deliver the bloom to Nim Galuu the psychedelic caterpillar (Steven Tyler). Tyler really did this role justice, adding both humour and vocals to Nim's persona. Of interest, all the music in Epic, was composed by the legendary Danny Elfman.
Not wishing to spoil anything else, let me say that all five of my kids aged 2- to 7-years old thoroughly enjoyed Epic! My husband and I also enjoyed the movie too, which is a pleasure when the movie also works for grown ups. The story was fun and interesting to follow, and there were many comedic moments. It appealed both to my sons and my daughter, and was suited for kids of either gender. The movie was beautifully animated in 3D CGI, and showed us the bright and colourful natural world of The Leafman, and the grey and dying world of the Boggans.
I liked how Epic focused on the strong ties of family and community that unite us, and how although we are "many leaves", we're all part of "one tree" (one big family). The film did focus on important family values like teamwork, friendship, forgiveness, and helpfulness. There was definitely a strong theme about coming of age, and friendships blossoming into love. And there was a very important lesson about respecting and nurturing the Earth, including it's plants and creatures.
I've been loving the family entertainment that 20th Century Fox Films has been producing of late, including The Croods, which I also recommend. Fox seems to have a formula of success which includes employing the voice talent of an all star cast, dazzling us with spectacular 3D CGI animation, creating heart-pounding action sequences, infusing the film with lots of humour, and remembering to begin the journey with an interesting and original storyline!
If you're wondering if you should take the kids to see Epic this weekend, by all means go and enjoy the show! BTW, if you're wondering what a "Stomper" is, you'll have to see Epic to find out!
Are you planning on seeing Epic with your family? What are your favourite family movies of 2013 or of late?