(Photo : Fox)
'Epic' submerges viewers into the world of tiny forest people, led by Queen Tara (Beyoncé) and protected by the Leafmen, who work tirelessly against the evil forest people called the Boggans, led by Mandrake (Christoph Waltz). The beautifully animated film is told by 17-year-old Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried), who returns to her childhood home to restore her relationship with her estranged father Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis) after her mother's death.
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After growing tired of her father's fantasy tales of little forest peoples, Mary Katherine, or MK as she prefers to be called, is magically transported to the world of Queen Tara and her people.
Arriving shortly after an attack on Queen Tara by the Boggans, MK must help the Leafmen protect a pod that could save the forest from the Boggans' destruction. Led by Ronin (Colin Farrell) and Nod (Josh Hutcherson), MK embarks on an adventure to ward off the Boggans and make it to Moonhaven back in time for the bud to bloom. Along for the ride are the pod's caretakers, a slug named Mub (Aziz Ansari) and a snail named Grub (Chris O'Dowd).
Director Chris Wedge and his team at Blue Sky Studios do a wonderful job on the animation and flow of the film. The scenes in the forest are beautifully created with vivid colors and movement and provide a great contrast to the dreary, dark world of the Boggans.
Wedge's voice selections are also right on the spot, with each actor bringing his or her character to life perfectly.
Singer Beyoncé's portrayal of Queen Tara is perhaps the best casted character in the animated film, with Ansari's Mub and Farrell's Ronin following closely behind. Queen Tara is not only the perfect representation of Beyoncé in character, but physical attributes as well. However, Hutcherson's Nod and Seyfried's MK seem like tired characters, ones that they have, time and again, portrayed in film.
Hutcherson is no stranger to the role of unlikely hero. He currently portrays Peeta Mellark in the box office hit series 'The Hunger Games' and has also portrayed the hero in the 'Journey' series. While, Seyfried has not been typecast as much as Hutcherson, her character MK is nothing new. The storyline with a child or teen discovering that their parent isn't as crazy as they first thought to be is not only old but worn out.
The theme of loss, through death, is also present but not entirely delved into. MK and Nod have both lost a parent and have lackluster father figures to guide them. However, their loss is barely mentioned. Accordingly, Ronin and Mandrake also lose important people in their lives, but while the deaths may motivate their actions, they are more influenced by their overall goals whether those be good or evil.
Despite the boring, if not over used plot, 'Epic' does in fact have some redeeming qualities among its characters. Ansari's Mub and O'Dowd's Grub provide the perfect comic relief to the adventure story. Another redeeming quality of the film is its enchanting soundtrack by Danny Elfman. The film's music flawlessly combines the sounds of fantasy with the magnetic rhythms of adventure.
Overall, 'Epic' is still worthy of a family trip to the theaters. The overarching theme of good defeating evil and beautiful animation are surely to captivate young viewers and perhaps teach them a lesson or two in the process.
'Epic' premieres this Friday, May 24 in theaters around the country. The nearly two-hour long animated film will also be shown in 3D.