Saturday, October 19, 2013

Epic

"Epic" is the perfect, ironic title for this movie, because everything is tiny... but just because something's small doesn't mean it's not epic. Course, it doesn't mean it is either...

Yeah, I'm not sure I understand either... On to the review!

Mary Katherine, or M.K., (Amanda Seyfried) is a troubled teenager who just lost her mother. She goes to live in the middle of nowhere with her estranged dad, who's a bit wacko. See, he has this crazy theory that the woods are inhabited with a race of tiny advanced people, and, well, he's right. Tiny human-ish versions of leaves, flowers, sticks and insects live in the forest. The leaf men are the warriors, riding on birds, and protecting their home and Queen from the evil rot. Amongst them, is a seasoned captain, Ronin (Colin Farrell) and a young wayward warrior he tries to keep in line, Nod. (Josh Hutcherson) When M.K. is magically shrunk down to their size, she discovers not only that her father is right about the tiny people, but they also need her help. With the assistance of Ronin, Nod, and two snails-- er, excuse me -- a snail and a slug, she sets out for an important mission to save the forest from the literally-rotten-to-the-core villain. (Christoph Waltz)

And she thought he was crazy!

The first thing you'll notice about this movie is that it's pretty predictable. Okay, it's downright predictable. Disappointing, especially considering the potential of the premise, which in spite of its promising originality, can't make up for a plot taken straight from the mold. There's so much room for creating with the tiny imaginative world, and what do the writers do with it? Doubtlessly inspired by their title, they go big, and environmental, with the fate of the forest at stake, only brushing the surface of creative possibilities. And that's pretty much how the whole film goes -- anything that turned out good is directly counter-weighted by something else that falls short.

"...can you imagine the possibilities of this!?" Who said that quote? (Hint: it's from a movie I wish this one was more like.)

For an example (and to move along) if they'd concentrated more on characters, and made them root-able and loveable, the entire story could have been about M.K. trying to get home, (or something even more creative than what I can think of) and it could have been great. Sure, not exactly "epic," but involving -- I find it easier to connect with actual characters than the things those characters care about, so make the characters relatable. This is a no-brainer. Now, M.K. is a very well-balanced heroine; smart, goofy, sweet, not too girly and not too tomboyish, but even with all the development she gets as the main character, she still feels under-developed. Same goes double that for Ronin and Nod. Ronin fares better thanks to Farrell's more seasoned talents, and his character being cooler and more understated, but apparently no one was on the same page with Nod. Every so often, Hutcherson's vocal inflection doesn't match how his character was animated. (At one point the voice sounds mad, but the character looks sad.) I've never seen this happen before, and the confused result is very distracting, and disappointing to me (who was hoping for a Swashbuckling, funny Flynn Rider type character, and got let down.)
 
They're fine when they're not talking though!

The problem is with the animators. I don't understand it, but for some reason the human (and humanoid) faces are blandly animated in general; "surprise" is the only emotion done with any real success. It's weird, because otherwise the animation is top-notch. The tiny world, and the forest, and even all the normal things like the house are lovely, and characters like the snail and slug are very expressive, with almost nothing to work with! (Or maybe that's why they were better.) I suppose it also helps that they were solely comic characters. In fact, anything that has to do with comedy in the movie is done well, with only a few miss-fires, and that may be this movie's redeeming quality (even though most of the best jokes are in the trailer.)

I want to be tiny so I can be epic while riding a hummingbird...

And now that I've picked the whole movie apart, I hope it won't be too much of a surprise when I say, I enjoyed it. Well, mostly. After all, how could I hate something that made me laugh? It had its moments of being cute as well, and when there weren't faces being weird, it was stylish, and pleasant to look at. And I can still enjoy predictable plots, as long as they're executed well, as this one was -- paced evenly, and with no holes... as far as I can remember. And that is as positive a note as I can manage for my not-so-epic Epic review ending.

6 comments:

  1. I can't say that I am particularly interested in the movie and after reading your great review, I will probably just skip Epic.

    -James

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    1. You wouldn't be missing very much if you did skip it... Thanks for the complement!

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  2. I saw this in the theater kind of by accident, and I also found it enjoyable, but not spectacular.

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    1. Oh, I bet it would have been cool in theaters just because of the visual enhancement. I'm glad you could enjoy it too!

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  3. I saw Epic just a bit ago and I agree about the animation...the big shots were okay but when you get close up to the faces it was a bit strange...and I remember the voice not quite matching the picture sometimes (however you say that).... But the snail and slug were so funny! And weird. Anyway, great review! :)

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    1. Yeah, it was strange, wasn't it? I was almost beginning to wonder if I was overreacting because it bothered me a lot but my family didn't even notice, so I'm glad you noticed it too. I agree, the snail and slug pretty much stole the movie with their very odd humor! Thanks a bunch!

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