Movie Review


Prepare for something epic
Epic Movie Poster

US Release Date: 05-24-2013

Directed by: Chris Wedge


  • Amanda Seyfried
  • Mary Katherine (voice)
  • Josh Hutcherson
  • Nod (voice)
  • Colin Farrell
  • Ronin (voice)
  • Christoph Waltz
  • Mandrake (voice)
  • Beyonce Knowles
  • Queen Tara (voice)
  • Aziz Ansari
  • Mub (voice)
  • Chris O'Dowd
  • Grub (voice)
  • Pitbull
  • Bufo (voice)
  • Jason Sudeikis
  • Bomba (voice)
  • Steven Tyler
  • Nim Galuu (voice)
  • Blake Anderson
  • Dagda (voice)
Reviewed on: May 30th, 2013
Nod, voiced by Josh Hutcherson, in Epic

Nod, voiced by Josh Hutcherson, in Epic

Stealing the basic premise of Ferngully (1992), Epic tells the tale of a teenage girl who is magically shrunk and joins a society of little Leaf people battling to save their forest from being turned to rot. In Ferngully, the environmental message was loud and clear as the bad guys were loggers destroying a rainforest. In Epic it is little bug like creatures called Boggans who want to turn the green forest into a gray waste land. Why they want to do that is never even suggested, unless you count being evil in and of itself a reason? They have arrows, and the leader a staff, that kill any living object they touch.

Mary Katherine is a teenager who, after the recent death of her mother, is sent to live with her estranged father, who lives in a house in the forest where he searches for proof of the existence of little bird riding people. As expected, she is moody and angst ridden. It does not help that her father seems more interested in his research than a teenager in emotional need.

After Mary chases their three legged dog, who is intended as comic relief in the human world, into the forest, she runs into a battle between the Boggans and the Leaf people. It is taking place during a magical Leaf ceremony to pick a new magical leader of the Leaf people. Mary gets caught in the magic and it turns her small. She comes into possession of a magic pod that she must take somewhere by a certain time to save the world as they know it.

She is joined by Ronin, the head Leaf soldier and the rebellious Nod. Ronin raised Nod after Nod's father was killed. Remember, rule number one in any family film is that no one comes from a traditional intact family unit. Nod wants to be free and make his own decisions, AKA avoiding responsibility. For comic relief in the fantasy world there are two snails who come along for the ride. "Actually, I'm a slug. No shell over here, baby." Okay one snail and one slug.

As the film started, I sat back in awe of the animated recreation of nature depicted on screen. We then come across an aerial battle between humming bird riding Leaf soldiers and crow riding Boggans, and the film starts to fall apart. Nod gets captured by a crow. Ronin knocks the Boggan riding the crow off the bird in what I thought was an attempt to rescue Nod, but then Ronin just flies away as Nod gets carried off by the black bird. I get that this is Ronin's way of teaching Nod how to be independent, but if he is not going to show much concern for Nod's safety then the audience is not either. Later in the film, Nod shows up without any explanation of how he escaped the bird's clutches.

The scene following that first battle provides the movies single best joke. As Mary is riding in a cab to her father's home in the woods, the Boggan that Ronnin knocked off his bird splats onto the windshield of the taxi. It was the only time my son and I laughed out loud.

The big flaw of Epic is with the premise that the entire balance of nature is determined by a single little person with magical powers to make things grow. In Ferngully, the message was that every seed is magical. Epic, while trying to pay homage to nature, belittles it. Instead of being in awe of a tiny seed that can grow into a huge tree, we have Beyonce waving her hand. Nature responds to the environment around it, be it a change in season, man's intrusion or its own internal survival of the fittest. The tallest plants get the sun. The deepest roots get the most moisture. Bugs eat plants...etc.

This film is never clear on what the Boggans are intended to represent. If they are not intended to be allegorical to something else then this film is moot. The action is passable when it happens. The humor is juvenile. The love story pointless. The father/daughter conflict is a pace killer. The film makers should have used this story as symbolism for a greater purpose or just made an all out action adventure film. Instead they did neither. As it is, this film generates very little emotional reaction from us.

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