Sometimes, it's the subtle moments in life that remind us how small we really are compared to the rest of the world. I was often reminded of that while watching Epic, Blue Sky Studio's newest creation (They also made Ice Age, Rio, and those 3-D Dr. Seuss movies.). I was also reminded of how unsubtle this fantasy-adventure movie could be"”the title of the movie rests my case. But that doesn't mean I didn't have any fun!
When evil threatens the way of life for a secret universe that exists within our world, M.K., your average, American girl-next-door (nicely played by Amanda Seyfried) is chosen to assist a tiny society of warriors (The Leafman) and their quest to keep the peace. The film has a lush look that doesn't need to be seen in 3-D because the animation seems diluted because of it. Since the majority of the film takes place within a forest, it has characters that look aesthetically amazing yet almost pleasing to the human appetite. I feel like I saw a Super Bowl ad for Green Giant.
Epic excels with thrilling action sequences that sweep you into the moment while the rest of the story retracts into a generic state despite its unique premise. Sure, kids won't care about the cheesy moments, dialogue, underdeveloped characters, and relationship dynamics, but the film was made by adult filmmakers who should know better. The voice acting is solid, but not on par with the visual effects. Actual actors like Christoph Waltz can make blandly written characters better while musicians that try to act (Steven Tyler, Pitbull, and Beyoncé) clearly show they're out of their element.
While Beyoncé does have acting experience, she is unable to disappear into her character, Queen Tara. You could argue Tara was maybe written to have the megastar's likeness, but the filmmakers have stated that it was never their intent. That was shocking to me because there was a scene where Tara was surrounded by a flowery environment, and I thought she was going to start singing, "All My Single Daises". Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd provide uneven comic relief as two lovable slugs. Ansari will get the most laughs while O'Dowd wasn't given enough punchlines to keep up.
Pixar and Dreamworks better watch their backs. The town of the animated elite is already looking bigger than the both them. When at its best, Epic is a dazzling action-adventure that will leave the other summer movies green with envy.