Epic (2013/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)
Picture: A-/B Sound: A-/B Extras: D Film: B-
Judging a book by its cover, I was whole
heartedly expecting Epic to be the CGI update of Ferngully. I was expecting the typical ‘save the earth,’
‘hug a tree’ agenda, but oddly none of that is here.
Instead Blue Sky Studios and the
creators of Ice Age deliver a somewhat unique and interesting animated
film. The star of the film is Mary
Katherine (AKA, M.K.) voiced by Amanda Seyfried. MK has tragically just lost her mother and is
sent to live with her long estranged father.
MK’s father (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) we quickly discover is a man of
science and has spent his life looking to prove that tiny, little people are
guardians of the forest and nature.
These guardians are referred to as Leafmen and not before long do we see
MK’s father’s theories are not so crazy after all.
After the initial plot is setup the
audience is explained the legends and teachings of the forest. Within the forest there are Leafmen and
Boggins; whereas the Leafmen are a people of life and renewal, the Boggins
stand for decay and rot. The Fairy Queen
Tara (voiced by Beyoncé Knowles) holds the “spirit of the forest” which allows
for life to prosper; but the holder of this spirit must pass this power on to
another living being every so often.
Coincidentally, MK arrives in the forest the day this passing of power
is to occur. Before the ceremony can be
completed the Queen is attacked by Boggins (hoping to use the power for evil
and decay); soon after (coincidentally again) Mk runs into the Queen and is
shrunken to Leafmen size.
We are then introduced to the leader of
the Leafmen (voiced by Collin Farrell) and his soldier (voiced by Josh
Hutcherson) who will help MK on her journey to stop the Boggins and restore
order, life, and health to the forest.
The film was well done, but a far cry
from the classic/timeless appeal of the Disney/Pixar ventures or even
DreamWorks’ Shrek or Ice Age.
I enjoyed Aziz Ansari & Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd) as goofy
slug and snail, as well as some of the other comic relief elements, but overall
found the film a bit too dry, serious.
Disney/Pixar has somehow refined their craft to a point in which the
comedy and reality are balanced; Epic and other recent CGI films just
don’t have that yet. Epic is by no means bad, and children are sure to
enjoy; but in the end lacks the replay value that would make it a classic.
What this film does have going for it are
its technical features, whose picture and sound are impressive. The 2.40 x 1, 1080p, AVC Encoded, MPEG-4 film
is nearly flawless and stands up well against the Disney/Pixar competition. The animation is crystal clear with a bright,
colorful image that leaps from the screen.
Black levels are dark, inky and frame the aforementioned colorful forest
palate. What is also astonishing about
this film is the level of depth and detail it demonstrates as the forest
appears to have an abundance of layers and lighting that truly makes it life
like. The sound quality, formatted as
7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless Surround, is equally impressive as fills
the soundstage projecting from every speaker.
For the most part the film is fast paced and the sound on this Blu-ray
handles it with ease with solid directionality and panning effects; along with
balanced ambient noises. The dialogue is
perfect. Overall, being a quite dynamic track with no distortion to mention.
The DVD disc included with this set is
simply a downgraded release of a film that was made to be viewed in High
Definition (or even 3D HD). Comparing
one to the other, the DVD lacks the color and definition when concerning picture
and the sound is somewhat muffled and not nearly as dynamic. Stick to the Blu-ray
The extras are there, but weak and do not
add much to the viewing experience as they mostly consist of short
documentaries directed at children.
Digital Copy of Film
Bugs of Camouflage
The ‘Epic’ Life at 2 Inches
Birds, Bugs, and Slugs:
Mysteries of Moonhaven
The only ‘making of’
featurette ~25 minutes in length) is adequate, but far from what this film
- Michael P. Dougherty II