The Lives Beyond the Leaves: Review of ‘Epic’

By Victoria Ku, Epoch Times
May 21, 2013 Updated: May 21, 2013

“Epic” is a 3-D, CG adventure based on William Joyce’s novel “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.” A colorful and fun film, “Epic” takes you right into the action of the war between the good and evil forces of nature. 

Mary Katherine (voiced by Amanda Seyfried), who prefers to be called M.K., moves in with her father after the death of her mother. Her father lives alone and is obsessed with the belief that a species of tiny men roams the forest. They ride hummingbirds and surf leaves. 

He has set up numerous cameras triggered by sensors to notify him whenever there is any movement in the forest. For many years, he has been on this chase, with minimal results to prove his theory. 

M.K. is set to leave her father, frustrated by his preference to chase clues rather than talk to her, when her father’s three-legged dog runs away into the forest. She loses her way while searching for the dog and finds Queen Tara (Beyoncé Knowles), queen of the Leaf Men and all good forces of nature, struck by an arrow. 

Queen Tara breathes into a flower pod and tosses it to M.K. before dying. Immediately, M.K. is transformed so that she is as small as the rest of the Leaf Men. 

Thus begins M.K.’s adventure as she realizes that her father was right. 

In the smaller world, Nod (Josh Hutcherson) is a rebellious young man who wants to be on his own rather than serve as a Leaf Man. Nod was raised by his surrogate father, Ronin (Colin Farrell), who is also the leader of the Leaf Men. 

M.K. and Nod each experience transformations as they simultaneously try to save the good forces of nature from the bad forces, otherwise known as Boggans, an army made up of bugs, rats, bats, and all unfavorable creatures. 

Director Chris Wedge is not a stranger to fun adventures with lessons for the younger audience, given his success with “Ice Age” and “Rio.” Wedge keeps the audience entertained without adding new twists to an old formula. 

The vocal cast behind the characters makes this film more epic than the actual climax does. Beyoncé, Colin Farrell, Aziz Ansari, Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, and Pitbull are among the stars who lend their voices to the characters, making them oddly relatable and comical. 

Although every second of the film is predictable, the vibrant scenery will capture your attention. The CG throughout the film could’ve been improved; the characters seem to have more of a Sims quality rather than that of Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life.”

Graphics aside, “Epic” is a wholesome, magical journey that everyone can enjoy. 

4 stars

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