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CGIFeature FilmTalkback

“Epic” Talkback

Blue Sky’s eighth feature film, Epic, directed by Chris Wedge and based on a book by children’s author Bill Joyce, opens in the United States today. Reception to the film has been fair to middling. The film currently owns a 63% critics’ rating and 74% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Stephen Holden in the NY Times sums up the majority viewpoint: “As beautiful as it is, Epic is fatally lacking in visceral momentum and dramatic edge.”

Check out the film and report back here with your opinion in the comments below. As always, this talkback is open only to those who have seen the film and wish to share an opinion about it.

(Epic Billboard via Daily Billboard)

  • I think it does lack some build up to the dramatic moments, but I really really loved the character design. Both in the way they move, and in how everything looks (sets, props, cosutmes, etc).
    The only thing I found to be sub-par is the design of the small “humans”. Their anatomy looks like Barbies and action figures.

  • Scott550

    Loved it. Saw it last night with co-workers and had a blast. Far better than that croods cartoon–especially in the design, camera, and animation departments. Incredibly imaginative all the way around. Fox really dropped the ball on the marketing of this film.

  • Jake Panian

    It’s cool to hear some positive feedback!

    But I gotta say in regards to your comment Scott, the Croods had some amazing work in it! The art of book was super inspiring!! :)

  • lola

    Epic was not so epic. Story could have been more interesting if they didn’t devote half of it to getting cheap laughs and making pop culture references. Also a lot of the ‘celebrity’ voice acting was terrible. Christoph Waltz didn’t fit his character at all.

  • Jams

    I just watched it, truth be told, I wasn’t as disappointed as I expected. These days I judge films by how little they bother me rather than how good I expect them to be, a sort of a defensive mechanism.

  • The visuals were astounding, I loved the design of the characters and the environments. The writing, however, is kind of standard. It has lots of overused cliches that we’ve seen in CGI features. But, it was pretty enjoyable overall.

  • patrick

    Saw it last night. Now I knew it was going to be more of an adventure then a ren and stimpy like experience, I just wished the ad I saw for wasn’t so misleading. It literally put all of the funny and non-battle moments into the 30 second ad. I can see that this is a good film but if you’re more into something that is of the humorous kind of road I wouldn’t recommend it.

    Also (side note) saw the trailer for surfs 2…. I don’t think I need to say anything about that.

  • RickyB

    Movie was alright. Lush set pieces and good sentiment. Standout characters were the dad and the second in command bad guy (Christolph Waltz’ son?), fantastic character work there. The dad especially, holy smokes. Just stylized enough to have his animation design emphasize his personality. Anyone know who the lead was on him?

    As others said the celebrity voice work was not that hot but man, Beyonce was another level of bad. Jason Sudekis did a nice job. I think him and Bill Hader are doing great things in the voice acting community these days.

  • Moonie

    There should have been some sort of warning for the musical number. That was…. uuuugh.

    Visuals were amazing, but everything else did not work at all. Voice acting was awful, jokes fell flat (the only times the kids in my theater laughed were at the jokes from the trailer – and they repeated them after, which makes me think they were mostly laughing because they recognized them), villain was far more intriguing and sympathetic than the good guys.

    I think the only element I really liked besides the visuals was MK. She was a nice protagonist, and I liked seeing the “everyday guy thrown into a weird adventure” as a girl for once (without her secretly being a princess or anything.) It was nice she didn’t give up everything for her man, either.

  • Nik

    I found this film to be an epic bore. The story wasn’t anything new and seemed too similar to other films like “Ferngully,” “The Ant Bully,” and “Avatar.” So many of the scenes just seemed to go on and on. Yes, the film was very pretty, but pretty isn’t really that interesting for 100 minutes.

    And as I watched the film, I kept thinking that the facial and body movements of the main characters looked awfully familiar. I slowly realized that the girl MK, particularly her expressions, moved just like Rapunzel from “Tangled.” The guy Nod looked and acted a lot like Flynn from “Tangled.” The nerdy father acted like Dr. Doppler from “Treasure Planet” (WHY must all nerds be spastic and clumsy???). The villain Mandrake reminded me of Pitch Black from “Rise of the Guardians” (but with a fancy hood/robe) which wasn’t surprising as both films are based on Joyce’s books. The pug dog (which reminded me of Percy from “Pocahontas”) was just too overworked…he had to not only be hyper and clumsy, but also stupid and 3-legged. Poor pooch!

    The design of the plant people was the most appealing/interesting aspect of the film, but why weren’t the Leaf Men also plants as well? Why were tiny humans in the forest? Why did they use only hummingbirds to ride on? Why not something big and powerful that could fly silently in the dark, like an owl? And what was with that odd musical number, which suddenly ended abruptly? Also, Queen Tara had odd, stiff movements and I started wondering then if mocap had been used for parts of the film.

    When the toad Bufo (voiced by Pitbull) showed up, I had a flashback to the old Harmon-Ising cartoons that had the frog that looked like Fats Waller and then I started thinking about someone updating one of those old MGM cartoons where the frogs would be gangsta-rappers terrorizing some little kid in a dark forest. But then Bufo disappeared from the film. Huh.

    I’ve enjoyed Blue Sky’s other films (with the exception of “Robots,” also based on a Joyce book), but this film seemed to be a lesser, and less original, effort.

  • BlogNInja

    The movie while incredibly beautiful LOOKING, felt like every idea that was thrown at the story pitch meetings was kept, but nothing was actually fulfilled. ESPECIALLY the idea of the two main characters falling in love. I know in animated fare there is a great deal of love at first sight, but this movie solidly shows there is no attraction at first sight. It’s annoyance and Nod does NOTHING to appeal to the main character MK. All heroic actions are taken by the mentor character of Ronin, and even the emotional development is taken through this character. Nod just sort of stumbles his way through the movie making only mistakes and just because they took a VERY platonic deer ride we’re to accept that the two of them should kiss at the end of the movie in an emotional manner.

    Similarly the musical number which is sort of just shoved in there and then abandoned felt like “We have an idea…” and then it never got past the idea.

    The idea that Nod’s bird was beat up, old but still a worthy steed, never shows a climax to his character. He doesn’t show up in the final battle to save the day and simply disappears in favor of Nod getting a super fast hummingbird.

    And where Nod is annoying, a failure and his only personal connection to MK is when he makes fun of her father, then says he lost a family member to the giant humans is a derailed moment because he immediately says “JUST KIDDING.” He at no point earns his place back among the leaf men and we’re left to just be okay that he takes up his armor again and that’s that. But here’s the thing, he wasn’t thrown out. He quit. And then it is made to seem like he’s supposed to prove himself. This reminded me a great deal of the flub in the Green Lantern feature where Hal Jordan doesn’t want anything to do with the Lantern Corps, and then leaves Earth just to go to the Corps and ask their permission to go to Earth to save it. It…was unmotivated as is most of this movie.

    And all in all Nod’s voice acting wasn’t horrible. Justin Hutcherson and Amanda Seyfried both fit their character designs and perform acceptably. Unfortunately everyone else regardless of their skills and accolades in live action films really weren’t suited for this film.

    All that said, I think the general consensus here is that Blue Sky delivered 90% gorgeous visuals, but made some seriously poor decisions in story structure and voice casting.

  • I think an appropriate and clever ending to this film would have been for the pod to have bloomed in semi-darkness so that it would bloom as a hybrid of growth and decay. Then the new heir would represent balance in the forest.

    I wrote a blog post about the inspiration behind the film as well as some of my thoughts on it: http://pickledperfection.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-inspiration-for-epic-by-bluesky-and.html