The new movie, Epic, recently opened on our last day of school. Obviously, a celebration was in order. Popcorn, Twizzlers, and an animated adventure by way of a wall-sized screen…yes, please! I mean, what a way to end the school year, right?
First, let’s talk animation…oh. my. The opening scene takes you on an aerial ride through the forest, and I’ll be honest it took me awhile to realize it was actually animation. I mean, I knew this was an animated film, but it looked so real. Epic is from the creators of Ice Age and Rio, but this film falls into an entirely different category than those movies. The graphics, the “cinematography” (or whatever it’s called in animated films), everything was…well, Epic. A visual feast for the eyes.
The movie does not rest solely on artistic flare, however. It has a great story to boot. Mary Katherine (who goes by MK now that she’s a teen), shows up to live with her estranged father after her mother dies. Although they were once close, their now-strained relationship is mostly the result of her father’s obsession with discovering a small civilization he believes to exists in the forest. Things get really interesting when MK ventures into the forest and is inadvertently shrunk to roughly the size of a field mouse. That’s when she discovers her dad was on to something after all.
I especially liked the characters in this movie. They were realistic and believable, yet noble and kindhearted. MK has been disappointed by her dad, but she has not grown bitter or resentful. She longs to have a relationship with him and desperately tries to do so. Her dad is obsessed with his work, but he loves MK deeply. He wants a relationship with her, too, he’s just not sure how to get there.
Even the “fantastical” characters (like the Leafmen) display great feats of bravery and honor while struggling with more “human” issues of pride, arrogance, and immaturity. They show great perseverance, respect, and honor all while protecting the forest and its inhabitants. Traits like responsibility, gentleness, stewardship, and caring for others are touted as heroic qualities to be honored and for which to strive.
There may be some who take issue with the forest being protected by tiny men dressed in leaves whose duty it is to protect a spiritualistic queen. But we’re talking about miniature men who ride sparrows and travel with talking slugs. I think we crossed the line into fantasy a long time ago.
Long after my kids forget about Leafmen and dancing caterpillars (which I’m sure will be awhile), I hope they remember the overarching theme of the movie. More than a mere struggle between good and evil, Epic promotes the message that we must fight for good, look out for one another, and never give up.
All in all, this is a movie I would highly recommend for families with kids of any age. (The battle scenes are a bit intense, so use wisdom and caution if your kids are very young. For a more detailed review of the content, click here.)
Ultimately, Hubby and I give it two thumbs up. We agreed it was like Avatar meets Tinkerbell meets Honey, I Shrunk the Kids meets Braveheart.
Basically, it is EPIC.