Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Epic - A Two-Minute Movie Review

Lawrence of Arabia is widely considered a movie of epic proportions. Schindler’s List is clearly epic.  Spartacus and The Ten Commandments are both epic films. These movies are long productions with sweeping stories that needle at you for days. Epic, the movie by Twentieth Century Fox Animations and Blue Sky Studios,  is not epic. But it’s not bad.

As I walked into the movie theater to see Epic, I was reminded of the hundreds of Super Buffets I’ve run across over the years that I wouldn’t step someone else's foot into on a dare.  Labeling oneself as “super” or “the greatest” or “epic” is a poor-man’s Jedi mind trick. Say it loud enough or in a pretty enough font and someone might actually believe Epic is, indeed, epic – even if it does only run 102 minutes long. But Jedi mind tricks don’t work on the weak minded, so I sat down in my seat ready for a disaster…that didn’t come.

Epic is the story of our first interactions with a world of human-like creatures that live among us in the woods. They ride humming birds and mingle with slugs and snails. The queen among them, played by Beyonce Knowles, is a tiny Mother Nature figure who holds the key to keeping the green grasses green and the trees leafy. Her death threatens nature’s balance. But the queen is not without a last trick: she summons a human, Amanda Seyfried’s Mary Katherine, to join with the young and rebellious Nod, voiced by Josh Hutcherson, to make sure a proper heir is found before everything turns to dust.

Epic feels like an animated movie that either ran out of budget or time – or both.  The ending comes quickly and seems too tidy; only a few characters are properly fleshed out.  While occasionally witty (Aziz Ansari’s Mub steals the show), Epic is nothing more and nothing less than animated retread. It follows a tried and true and vanilla path, despite its lofty name.  And like your typical Super Buffet, seconds are not recommended.

Epic is rated PG.

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