Chris Wedge’s Epic may be fun to look at, but the simplistic storytelling makes it difficult to care about the film’s animated characters. Crafted by a total of five screenwriters, including the picture book source material’s author William Joyce, the fantasy rushes to establish one solitary character trait apiece (everyone seems to be minus one beloved friend or family member) before blasting off into some pint-sized heroics. With little invested in magically shrunken human M.K. (Amanda Seyfried), the tiny forest warriors known as the Leafmen, and their unified battle to protect the forest, their quest is a sadly boring one. Not even comic relief mollusks voiced by the modern dream team of Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd can elicit enough family-friendly giggles to rescue the film from its snoozefest destiny.
Upon M.K.’s arrival at the home of her scientist father Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), Epic has an impeccably crisp appearance in which nature, the humans, and props such as a taxi cab reach new heights of animated versimilitude. The Leafmen’s enchanted world, however, improbably pales in comparison and as the realms blur and the story shifts to the microscopic landscape, the wonder significantly fades. On top of this visual oddity is the matter of characters’ voices sounding a little too refined, as if they’ve been run through an audio sieve. As a result, Colin Farrell’s head soldier Ronin appears to be giving an ongoing lesson in Irish elocution while Beyonce’s Queen Tara seems one backbeat away from belting into “Halo.” In a film where tiny men saddle up on hummingbirds, that’s one more step removed from reality and another obstacle in connecting with this lukewarm tale.
Rated PG for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language.
Epic is currently playing at the Carolina Cinemas on Hendersonville Rd.