Director Chris Wedge has two major credits to his name, "Ice Age" from 2002 and "Robots" from 2005. "Ice Age" is a classic animation extravaganza, something that feels great every time you watch it. I wouldn't share as much enthusiasm for "Robots." So how do those films stack against "Epic?" The new animated film which came out last weekend?
"Epic" feels like a dream, a dream that is richly imagined and holds a story which is boldly told. One could just get wrapped up in each frame, which flourishes with detail. This is by far one of the most detailed animated films ever made, and I highly doubt we'll see anything like it the rest of the year. The quality of the animation is enough to get lost in.
But as a film lover, I need more than just the pretty pictures. The most effective animated films being made these days cater to all ages. Of course, these are lighthearted and swashbuckling tales so that they are appropriate for the little ones, but there also needs to be some kind of mature factor to keep the parents from dozing off. If the animation is leaning toward one demographic over the other, someone is going to be bored. There needs to be a healthy balance of entertainment for all ages, which is a what all the great animated movies do now.
I felt Epic catered quite a bit to kids. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The kids will definitely love this movie, a lot of the Kindergartners who I work with everyday have been telling me how awesome "Epic" is. And for their age group it is remarkable. I can see how the boys would love Ronin (voiced by Colin Farrell) a no-nonsense military leader of the Leafmen. The little girls probably love Tara (voiced by Beyonce Knowles) the queen of the forest who must find an heir. (Why it is so important to find an heir to rule the forest isn't explained in great detail.) The girls will also probably M.K. (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) who is a 17-year old teenager who has to live with her scientist father (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) who believes there is an intelligent race of little people living in the forest. M.K. doesn't believe in her father's research until she is magically transported to the world of the Leafmen, then she plays a crucial role in the war against the Boggans.
I am sure the M.K. and Daddy story line was supposed to appeal to the adults in the theater, but that cutesy stuff we have seen a lot before. I can definitely see how kids will love this, but adults maybe bored expecting something along the lines of "Ice Age" "Disney/Pixar" or "Wreck-It Ralph" this is a movie which appeals to kids only. I enjoyed a lot of what "Epic" had to offer, I just want people to understand what they are getting into.
Besides Farrell, Knowles, Seyfried, and Sudeikis, other cast members include Aziz Asnari, Christoph Waltz, Josh Hutcherson and Pitbull. Everybody does very good voice work, and like I said above, the film is a visual feast. All I am saying is that when something like this is being marketed as "fun for the whole family," for this movie, it means "fun for the kids." But if you go and check it out, and you're like me, you will get lost in the many wonders of "Epic." It really just depends on what type of animation you like.
FINAL GRADE: B+