This movie had a really great trailer. A sweeping view of the forest as the camera zooms to follow a Leafman, scored with a great song that sounds like something Deathcab for Cutie would do. This snippet of the adventure continued as the film rolled, starting the story of MK (Amanda Seyfried), a 17-year old girl presumably visiting her estranged father Professor Lombard (Jason Sudeikis). The eccentric professor could not be too bothered by the reappearance of his daughter as he is in the middle of proving the existence of tiny little people in the forest surrounding his home. Yes. Tiny little people. Good thing he was not crazy because they do exist! And are in fact waging war to protect the balance of the forest. The Leafmen keep the dark Boggans in check from polluting the forest with rot and decay. But the Boggans led by Mandrake (voiced by the sinister Christoph Waltz, of whom I will now forever be frightened of) see a hole in the defenses as the Leafmen’s Queen Tara (Beyonce) engages in an elaborate once-in-a-hundred-years’ ritual to choose a pod that will be her heir. The Boggans attack, killing the Queen, and she falls just as MK runs to the forest. The human girl shrinks to tiny people size, and guess who’s not laughing at her father’s crazy now.
The adventure continues as MK together with head Leafman Ronin(Colin Farell. IKR, weird) and rogue, irresponsible, insensitive (okay, he made penance in the end) younger Nod (Josh Hutcherson) and pod-caretakers Mub (Aziz Ansari) the slug and Grub (Chris O’Dowd) the snail journey to protect the chosen pod, just as Mandrake continues his pursuit.
The story is elaborate and convoluted enough to make for a rich Pixar movie experience, or a shambled pile of unorganized plot lines. And it pains me to say Epic scores somewhere in the middle. In my initial disappointment, I was quick to surmise that maybe I’m just too old for movies with talking slugs and tiny people. But I have enjoyed my fair share of Pixar and Disney outings, so that can’t be it. The movie had its healthy share of laughs (slug humor at its finest), tears, PG romance, and tense intense action scenes. But throughout the 102 minutes of film I sat there biting my lip for more. More jokes, more moments, more coordination maybe. Just, more. For one, quite a few things were left unclear. I mean, was I the only one curious about what happened to MK’s mother and more importantly, to poor sweet Ozzie the dog? Beyonce’s Queen Tara was likewise either underdeveloped, miscast or both, apart from other nitpickings I tried to swat away. As one critic pointed out, the movie lacked the usual special-ness of a Pixar film, and although I did not march angrily back to the ticket booth for a refund, I was sad the movie was not epic as promised.
Photo credits to owner.