IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 102 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
Mary Katherine, a near-20s teenager, visits her estranged and eccentric scientist father, Professor Bomba, who has been searching for tiny human soldiers, to which M.K. is sceptical about and wishes for her father to stop his work. Unknown to the both of them, Bomba is correct as there are tiny soldiers called Leafmen who protect the forest Bomba lives around from evil creatures called Boggans, who shoot arrows that can kill any living thing, and their malevolent leader, Mandrake, who plans to destroy the forest. A young soldier, Nod, filled with independence, decides to quit, while meanwhile the queen of the forest, Queen Tara, decides to choose an heir to her throne,but but is attacked and shot by Mandrake. When Mary runs into the forest after her dog Ozzie, she sees Tara falling. The dying Queen uses her magic to shrink her…
Now let’s get the ‘not so good’ out of the way first; Epic, despite being based on a book, is highly derivative of many previous animated films and at time plays like a combination of Ferngully and Arthur And The Invisibles, and most of the characters and character relationships [o look, it’s more headstrong teenagers] are old-hat too. Otherwise, the latest cartoon movie from Blue Sky and their premiere director Chris Wedge [responsible for the great Ice Age and the hugely underrated Robots], is pretty good. More than anything else, it’s a thrilling fantasy actioner with no shortage of exciting sequences, usually enhanced by fast camera pans which are sometimes jaw-dropping but made me glad I saw the film in 2D, as opposed to 3D where there’s a good feeling I would have felt sick. It’s absolutely stunning visually, with possibly the most beautiful fantasy forest on screen, really showing off the beauty of the natural world as well as filling it with a truly weird and wonderful array of inhabitants. Of course there’s some good humour, mostly provided by two slugs, one of whom is voiced by Steven Tyler in an interesting mix of a voice cast taking in Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz and….um…..a miscast Beyonce. Good fun for kids [though some bits may be a little scary] and adults alike, and never dull for a moment.