When it comes to imaginative and creative worlds, I feel that William Joyce is one of those artists that know how to do it right. His drawings that have appeared in magazines like The New Yorker and even his own children's books have always fascinated me. He is also known for giving one of the earliest films from Blue Sky Studios, "Robots" it's very impressive visual look. Now almost eight years after that film, he reunites with the studio and director Chris Wedge to give us the studio's creation, "Epic". A film that really delivered on its animation and parts of its story though some of its characters could have been a little bit better. Want to know what exactly I like? I'll give you a brief summary.
A teenager named M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) has moved into the isolated house of her father (Jason Sudeikis), a very eccentric scientist who is trying to prove that tiny humanlike creatures known as Leafmen exist. M.K. is pretty doubtful of this but gets a little more proof than needed when she's accidentally shrunken down by the Leafmen's dying queen and put in charge of a pod, which would later select the next heir to the throne. Needing to get the pod to safety and get back to her normal size, she and a warrior named Ronin (Colin Farrell), a rookie name Nod (Josh Hutcherson), and a snail and slug named Mug and Grub (Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd respectively) take a journey to save the forest from the evil leader of the Boggans named Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) who is planning to destroy the heir to avenge the murder of his son.
I'll just get out of the way what I loved about this movie the most. It's the animation which is the best I have ever seen Blue Sky do at this point. It's top-notch work. Everything looked so beautifully detailed and pretty realistic and it amazes me how much effort was put into the film. It's what I want to see in a grand adventure like this. Speaking of adventure, the story is pretty fascinating as well. I loved seeing how the Leafmen lived and the technology they used and I also thought the scale of the movie was pretty grand as well. There was a peril to it and I felt invested in seeing the pod being safely delivered, but it also kind of makes me wish that we had seen more kingdoms and more of the tiny technology used. As for the characters, I think they're pretty good as well. I really enjoyed the cockiness of Nod's character and the chemistry that he has with Ronin and was really surprised by how much I like the supporting characters. I really thought that characters like Mug and Grub and M.K.'s father would really annoy me, but they surprisingly didn't. I loved their funny personalities and how quirky and strange they were. As for the villain, he's also pretty good. The thing I like most with him is the motivation he has to do what he's doing, which in this case his avenge his son's death which we actually do see on screen. Another thing that the film did well with the characters was the casting of some who played them. Farrell as the skilled warrior, Hutcherson as the rookie, Seyfried as the audience character, Waltz as the villain. The main characters are perfectly cast. Some of the supporting characters were not though, which gets me to the problems I had with the film. While I thought the main characters and some of the supporting characters voices blended perfectly with the character, others like Beyoncé's and Pitbull's stood out like a sore thumb. Their voices were so recognizable that every time I heard them talk, I didn't hear the characters they were playing, I kept hearing Beyoncé and Pitbull. Another thing that I didn't like about the movie was the title. Why was the film called "Epic"? I mean, it's a pretty grand story and very exciting but I wouldn't call it epic. My only guess to why this is was that Fox saw how much money Disney was pulling in when they renamed movies like "Rapunzel" to "Tangled" and "The Bear and the Bow" to "Brave". If that was the case, it was a pretty stupid choice. However, my biggest problem of the movie though was the character of M.K. Not because she was annoying or unlikeable, but in all honesty, I think she's pretty bland and forgettable. Nothing really stood out about her and I felt that she could have been taken out of the story and not a lot would change. She could have been a lot better than she was in the final product.
Though in all honesty, I really think that "Epic" is a pretty impressive movie. I found the story captivating, it's animation breathtaking and most of its character pretty likable. It's one of the better Blue Sky movies we've gotten which further demonstrates that I think they might be better at making original content than sequels. If they do announce a sequel to this film though, I definitely will want to see it.