Amidst all the fiery action of ‘Fast & Furious’ and ‘Star Trek’ movies is ‘Epic,’ the animated tale about a teenaged girl who finds herself in a whole new, magical world. The whimsical movie is chockfull of huge stars lending their voices to characters — but should you go see it?
The box offices are packed with the usual summer action blockbusters, but for those who aren’t looking to see something blow up every ten seconds, there’s Epic (out on May 24), a family-friendly animated fantasy tale. The movie, which certainly does promise to be “epic,” is a story of a young girl (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) who is transported to different land where a battle between good and evil is taking place. With voices by Beyonce, Josh Hutcherson, and Colin Farrell, and an exciting storyline, Epic could be the first great animated flick of the year. But let’s see what the critics thought!
New York Times
As you watch its characters zoom through a lush forest on the backs of hummingbirds, the gorgeous 3-D adventure comedy Epic suggests a warmer, fuzzier Avatar, with a green heart. Directed by Chris Wedge, the movie is a hymn to nature rendered in phantasmagoric detail as refined as anything I’ve seen in a computer-animated family film. But as beautiful as it is, Epic is fatally lacking in visceral momentum and dramatic edge.
At times, Epic seems to be trying to mimic Avatar, both in its action sequences and its attempts to tap into a we’re-all-connected-through-the-forest mysticism. There’s even a kind of Tree of Souls/Tree of Voices type place, where memories are stored. But the connection feels more generic than heartfelt, the need to scale everything up more dutiful than ambitious. (Whatever you may think of Avatar, it at least had a mad conviction that justified its awesome size and reach.) There is one genuinely delightful sequence, when the miniaturized M.K. and her companions find themselves trapped in her dad’s laboratory: Her beloved dog suddenly becomes a lumbering, terrifying monster, and the little people’s interactions with common household phenomena like lint and static cling produce fun results. But the charm of these scenes reminds us of the wasted opportunity the rest of the film represents. For all its attempts at wonder and spectacle and play, Epic is mostly a slog.
Los Angeles Times
When the movie should touch the heart, it just misses. When moments should produce gales of laughter, it struggles for a smile. When panic and fear should set the heart racing, it doesn’t. And when, in the midst of all the talking and fighting to save the forest, a caterpillar in a satin jacket breaks out in a bluesy song, you may wonder if Steven Tyler, yes that Steven Tyler, has jumped and jived into the wrong movie. The title itself only underscores the dissonance. Epic suggests bravado and swag when something along the lines of A Nice Little Adventure for Wee Ones would probably have been more on the mark.
New York Post
I had the sensation of sitting through a fourth-grade school play that contained no children of my own: the very definition of a nightmare.
New York Daily News
If you have a little one fascinated by the struggle between dung and mulch, “Epic” may briefly hold your child’s interest. Yet even young would-be botanists will find this charmless animated adventure as exciting as watching grass grow.
Oh, boy. Queen Bey will NOT be pleased with the critics. If we’re taking their words for it, maybe we should stick to the action movies on Memorial Day Weekend. But what do you think, HollywoodLifers? Is Epic worth seeing? Let us know!
WATCH: ‘Epic’ Trailer
— Andrew Gruttadaro
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