Slug life – Epic review

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By Jess Lomas
June 25, 2013

While humans are obsessed with the global warming debate and to what extent we’ve impacted the environment, it turns out it has nothing to do with us at all. In Epic, the new animated feature from the creators of Ice Age, Mary Katherine a.k.a M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) returns to her estranged father’s country house after the death of her mother. Her father, Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), is an eccentric scientist who has pushed everyone close to him away in his pursuit to prove the existence of miniature beings living in the neighbouring forest. Just as M.K. is about to give up on him too she is inadvertently thrust into the age-old battle between good and evil as the Leafmen, who protect nature, fight off the Boggans, who destroy it.

Shrunk down in size by Queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles) and tasked with protecting a sacred flower bud, M.K. must help Leafmen leader Ronin (Colin Farrell), arrogant rookie Nod (Josh Hutcherson), and protectors Grub (Chris O’Dowd) and Mub (Aziz Ansari) get the bud to safety so that it can bloom in full moonlight and reveal the new Queen. Standing in their way is the leader of the Boggans, Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), who aims to capture the bud for himself and prevent the forest from flourishing.

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The first thing that strikes you as special about Epic is the landscape animation, which is prominently realistic and detailed; the character animation a distant second. For all the successes of the Ice Age franchise, the animation was visibly more simplistic than its Pixar counterparts. In Epic, director Chris Wedge and his team have pushed the limits and delivered stunning scenery that really pops in 3-D. Comparisons to eco-family flick Fern Gully are unavoidable, yet Epic sets itself apart by refusing to swamp its audience with environmental messages and mantras. Beyond the repeated motto – ‘Many leaves, One tree,’ which is more a reminder that no matter how alone we may feel we are all connected – the movie, while showing an environmental battle ground, is primarily focused on relationships and family.

Epic may have an uninspiring title that still invites grandiose expectations, but those who are willing to go along for the ride with M.K. will be delighted. Criticisms could be made of some one-dimensional characters and predictable plot developments. Overall, however, this is a charming, classical family film in every sense of the genre.

4/5

Epic arrives in NSW/VIC/QLD cinemas June 27, and SA/WA cinemas July 4, 2013.

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