It has been a while since Epic hit the screens here in India but unfortunately, I live in a part of this country where Epic did not see the light of the day and hence the delay in turning in the review. The fact that I had to wait till the Blu-ray was out just so that I could catch it up at the best possible resolution made the delay even more prolonged. Now that I have seen it finally and am jotting down my review for the same I cannot help but feel a tad bit underwhelmed by it.
Simple reasons for that would be the fact that the film turned out to be much less than what I had expected it to be. Both content wise and in the matters of tugging at the heart. If we go back a couple of years and try to remember a charismatic film called Finding Nemo, we can’t help but remember the heart that the narrative put in. From the first scene where the clown fish loses his wife and all but one of his children to the final rescue of Nemo, every scene in the narrative was dripping wet with human emotions and breathless drama. That’s something you expect from a film like epic and that’s exactly where it falters.
The story is straight out of the fairy tales (based on the book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by James Joyce) and revolves around a kingdom hidden right in front of our eyes comprising of tiny men, birds, slugs, bugs and a plethora of other creatures. The queen of the Kingdom must choose the soul of the Kingdom on which the flora and fauna would survive for the years to come and then the same must be carried to a specific place but evil strikes in the form of the creatures known as Boggans led by their leader Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) who plan to hijack the soul of the forest and let it bloom in the darkness sealing the fate of the forest for ever. The queen is shot down by the Boggans but not before she has handed over the soul of the forest to the most unlikely member of the universe, a human girl. The Girl who has practically shrunk to a miniscule size will now have to fight her way through the forest in the company of a handsome leaf man to her destiny. She is helped in her endeavors further by the leaders of the Leaf Men Ronin (voiced by Collin Farrell).
The film starts off well and the events build up quickly. The girl is introduced as someone who is trying to make a connect with her father, who in turns is busy tracking the very leaf men that her girl is about to get entangled with. However, when her girl actually disappears, he realizes his folly of years and loses taste of everything. This is the only bit of human drama that Epic has to offer. The rest of the narrative is cardboard-ish storytelling with nothing but pretty visuals to make up for. But the fact remains that visuals work wonders only when they are complemented by astute story telling.
Having said that, Epic will still rank as one of the prettiest animated films of the year. The rendering of the visuals, the characters, the effects and the 3D is breathtaking. The action sequences are filmed with such finesse that it will make one and all stand up and take notice. Let me draw your attention to the initial sequence where we are introduced to the leaf men, the first attack of the Boggans, the climax and almost each and every other sequence. There are no complaints what so ever from the animation point of view. But the problem still remains with the fact that the story and the events are so uninspiring that it will hardly make and impact on you. A few sequences will still amaze you like the one in which the queen goes in search of the soul of the forest and is subsequently attacked by the Boggans.
The voice talents are apt. Collin Farrell as the chief of the Leaf Men is the most noticeable in his cool demeanor along with the immensely likeable Christopher Waltz who voices Mandrake with utter sureity and a devilish charm . Amanda Seyfried as the girl who is entrusted with the future of the forest and Josh Hutcherson as her companion are pitch perfect in their acts. Beyoncé Knowles as Queen Tara of the forest is electric in a brief appearance. Overall, Epic is could have been one of the best animated films of the year but it ends up dramatically short of its rank. It is one of the major heartbreaks of the year for me.