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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animated > Action > Fantasy > Adventure > 3D > Epic (2013/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD/CGI Animation)

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.  Extras include:

·         Theatrical Trailer

·         Digital Copy of Film

·         Rot Rocks

·         Bugs of Camouflage

·         The ‘Epic’ Life at 2 Inches

·         Birds, Bugs, and Slugs: Forest Explorer

·         Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed

o        The only ‘making of’ featurette ~25 minutes in length) is adequate, but far from what this film deserved.


-    Michael P. Dougherty II


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