Epic doesn’t quite live up to its title. In fact, it kind of faded into obscurity. I applaud Blue Sky Animation for taking risks, but it’s difficult not to compare Epic to similar environmental movies like FernGully or Avatar. Ice Age & Robots director Chris Wedge originally pitched the idea to Pixar before it returned to his founding company. Epic is very similar to the DreamWorks film Rise of the Guardians. Both are loosely based on William Joyce children’s books dedicated to his late daughter Mary Katherine. The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs was similarly given a super generic movie title. Epic could literally refer to anything. It tells the story of a miniature society of Leafmen who protect the forest from the blight infesting Boggans.
Although we’ve heard this kind of story dozens of times before, the computer animation is breathtaking. Everything from the tallest tree to the smallest insect feels realistic in this microscopic world. The animation is so good that it doesn’t really matter how basic most of the characters are. Amanda Seyfried voices M.K., the blank slate protagonist thrust into a fantastical world. Jason Sudeikis voices her kooky scientist father devoted to finding the leafmen. The Leafmen are your standard duty-bound soldiers. Josh Hutcherson is the hotshot rulebreaker Nod and Colin Farrell is his mostly serious mentor Ronin.
Aziz Ansari & Chris O’Dowd are the mostly funny comic relief slug & snail duo Mub & Grub. The Boggins are your average horde of mindless monsters. Christoph Waltz is the guy you call for an evil villain like Mandrake. Epic isn’t a musical, but there are at least three major singers in the cast. Pitbull is a gangster toad, Steven Tyler is an all-knowing glowworm, and Queen B Beyoncé is the literal Queen of the forest Tara. She also provided the song “Rise Up.” When M.K. is shrunk, she’s entrusted with a pod that will ensure the forest’s survival. If nothing else, the battles are epic and so is the world it takes place in. Epic is an admirable FernGully for the next generation.