The 2013 summer season of Hollywood movies has been underway for a while now, but in Australia, the animated features are just starting to come out (Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 in a week's time). But one did come out a lot earlier than its competition: Epic. When I saw the trailer for this I was very tempted to skip it because it just looked like a Brave rip-off. Also the anthropomorphic forest kingdom premise in the trailer seemed eerily like FernGully, Avatar and The Borrowers (or for Miyazaki fans, Arrietty). Nonetheless it was the most promising film in theaters to watch before the big two is coming out next week, so fill up my popcorn bucket!
Epic is from the same studio that produced the shaky success of Horton Hears a Who, Robots and Rio, none of which are as financially successful as its flagship franchise Ice Age (whose quality has declined with each sequel). I had my reservations of whether they were even in the same league as Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks and will ever able to produce the same level of humor, emotion-wrenching story-telling as these two rivals have in recent years. And in my opinion, they're getting there with this film. in fact, given how sub-par the most recent Pixar films have been you could even say that on a good day, they're comparable.
Epic is a story about Mary Katherine, a girl who is trying to reconnect with her estranged father after her mother passed away, but inadvertently gets reeled into the world of tiny humans her father has been unhealthily obsessing about and trying to prove its existence. Through all the high flying adventures and fast-paced action, she learns about...hmm...family is important?
I'm a bit tired and busy this week so no spoiler/nitpick section this time. What I can say is this: it has lots of creativity, imagination and intelligence packed into it. You can feel there is effort placed at every level, and that the producers really wanted to tell a timeless tale but updated to stay relevant. However the very one thing it tries to teach throughout the film is perhaps the main thing the film fails. There are a lot of pacing issues, a lot of inconsistencies, lots of modern day references and slangs littered throughout. The film also suffers from not knowing what it truly wants to be and so you feel like it's the surprise offspring of Disney, Dreamworks and some computer graphics student's honours year project.
But overall, it is exactly what kids in 2013 will love and can relate to. Their parents should find the film a pleasant experience as well, since there are some family themes embedded and a surprisingly touching undertone with the main character and her father, even though he doesn't get much screen time. Epic may not be a film that will be a classic in the canon of must-watch Animated features, but it certainly surpassed my expectations, and, for the most part, is an epic film.
6.5 / 10.0