There are no twists in Epic (3D), and you know how the fight between good and evil will probably end. But that’s alright, because the movie is still warm, funny, heart-rending and leaves you smiling.
Mary Katherine (aka MK), a 17-year-old, has come to stay with her father after her mother passes away, promising to give him one more chance. But he has no time for her, and is obsessed with finding an advanced race of tiny men that lives in the forests that surround his home. He has cameras hidden in every part of it, sensors that are triggered at any movement and a headgear with a magnifying glass. But so far, he seems to be on a wild-goose chase.
Upset, she is about to leave when their three-legged, half-blind pug runs away into the jungle. And much like Alice in Wonderland (and Ant Bully), she gets lost, finds the queen of the leafmen (struck by an arrow) who takes a flower pod and breathes life into it before dying. When Katherine hols the pod, she magically shrinks to their Lilliputian size.
Along with Ronin, the commanding officer of the leafmen and his godson Nod, she has to make sure the pod is safe from the Boggans and that the rays of the full-moon allow it to bloom.
It is nice to see environment being the centre of conflict in many movies now. The movie, based by William Joyce’s book The Leaf Men And The Brave Good Bugs, brings this about in ways that only children’s literature can do. The good guys who represent Nature spread life, and the bad guys are the rot who want to turn the green forest into a dreary monotone. Simple yet, powerful.
While it does remind one of movies such as Avatar and Princess Mononoke in places, given the premise, it weaves a magical story of fearless leafmen who fly on kingfishers; a flower-like queen who walks on leaves and wields Nature’s power; and a girl who finally finds her father. It’s also Nod’s coming-of-age story, in a way. He rebels against Ronin, runs away to be a carefree nomad but is pulled back to fight for his people and the forest. Looking at the world through the leafmen’s eyes is fascinating by itself. The humans seem large, slow and goofy, even as the forest and trees loom with their larger-than-life leaves.
But on the technical side, the 3D doesn’t lend much to the film. On the whole, though, the movie is visually strong and keeps one entertained. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments as well, characteristic of Chris Wedge (of Ice Age fame) films.
And as the climax approaches, with it the epic battle between good and evil, you still find yourself at the edge of your seat, your nails digging into the hand rests, egging the leafmen on in their green armour to triumph. In the end, Epic is all about hope.
Director: Chris Wedge
Cast: Voices of Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrell, Beyonce Knowles and Josh Hutcherson
Storyline: A teenage girl unwittingly becomes part of an advanced race of tiny men in a jungle
Bottomline: Warm and funny