Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review: Epic (2D)

World of Blackout Film Review

Epic (3D) Poster

Epic (2D)
Cert: U / 102 mins / Dir. Chris Wedge

Well, there's a turn-up. From an incredibly dull looking trailer comes a film which I thoroughly enjoyed. The story itself is as 'reliable' as you'd expect, but it's structured so solidly that it really doesn't matter. It's classical adventure-fare, so will be ideally suited to a younger audience, and the U-certificate means there's little in the way of any real edge or threat. But at its core, Epic is a very well-told tale, with some beautiful visuals (even in the 2D version I watched), and that should charm you to some extent. It reminded me of a lot of things I'd seen before, both in animation and live-action, but never to the point where I thought it was directly ripping-off other stories (just, y'know, vaguely. Very vaguely, a lot of the time. I spotted a Podrace and a Death Star run in there, as well as elements of Back To The Future, but that's just me).

Thankfully, the humour (visual and scripted) is kept to a manageable level, and the eco-moralising I was expecting is all but absent. The voice-acting is pretty much spot-on, and Danny Elfman's score never oversteps the mark (both of which issues have derailed many a film in the past). Most importantly, it kept the smaller viewers engaged for the full-run, so it's working for its target-audience. Saturday afternoon can be a noisy, fidgety affair in a cinema, but once the lights went down there wasn't a peep. Obviously, this didn't stop one particular Dad checking his phone twice during the film, but you can't have everything. I blame the parents.

Epic is nothing you haven't seen before, but then, it's trying to save the forest, not step outside of it. Whether it has the punch to warrant a sequel or not remains to be seen, but as a self-contained family movie, you can't go far wrong.

A small thing to look out for: In the scenes when Mary Katherine isn't miniaturised, the Leafmen are rendered with a plasticky texture, making them look like toys. Once she's in their world, the character surfaces all feel real (as real as this movie gets, anyhow). I can't work out if this was an artistic decision or a marketing one. It's quite a nice touch, either way, although it does suggest a subtext that MK and her father are dreaming or hallucinating the entire episode. As we see several mushroom-people in the forest-kingdom, it's probably best not to dwell on that one too much...

Is the trailer representative of the film?
It's representative of the look, but not really the feel.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
If it's the animation you're interested in, cinema; if it's the story, you won't lose anything by watching at at home.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
At some point.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
What do you look for in an animated movie? Do you prefer a 'classical' story-arc, or do you like it when a film spreads its wings, but risks leaving its younger audience behind?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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