Sunday, June 2, 2013

Theatrical Review: EPIC


Location: Pocono Movieplex
Date: Sunday, June 2, 2013
Time: 12:15pm
Party: 2 (my sister & I)

M.K.- Amanda Seyfried
M.K.'s dad, Bomba- Jason Sudekis
Ronin- Colin Farrell
Nod- Josh Hutcherson
Mub- Aziz Ansari
Grub- Chris O'Dowd
Mandrake- Christoph Waltz
Nim- Steven Tyler
Queen Tara- Beyonce Knowles
Bufo- Pitbull

[Coming Attractions]

The two of us had the theater all to ourselves... with the exception of a boy about 5 or 6 who claimed he'd seen the movie three times already and his dad was seeing "Fast & Furious 6." 

Question 1: 
Why was he completely on his own?

It wasn't as if he talked through the entire picture, but he had trouble staying still a lot of the time and his attention wasn't where it ought to be.

I don't pretend to understand any of this. This movie could have gotten away with a G-rating, but I guess the MPAA people thought there were enough somewhat scary moments and bits of rude humor to bump it up to PG.

Are there no G-rated movies anymore?
At least that was my question until I saw that "Monsters University" got a G-rating.

Pixar can be counted on for that about 90% of the time.

The previews were all animated movies and included 2 sequels.

"Smurfs 2"
I saw bits and pieces of the first one. Not quite as bad as I expected, but I don't see myself seeing this unless it's on cable.

The trailer looks nice. It seems they're promoting it as a spin-off of "Cars" because there are cars in the movie. Again, nothing to get super excited about.

"Despicable Me 2"
Saw this trailer during Star Trek and it still looks great. We did go to see the first one, after all.


Question 2: 
Why did nobody like this movie? 

Richard Roeper claimed that the celebrity voices were a distraction and that it has more stimulation for a younger audience than adults.
Hmm, maybe I answered my first question right there.

Maybe it just caters more to younger people because it has that "child-like wonder" factor. The animation is simply incredible. I remember seeing the teaser trailer last year (it was during a 3D movie so the trailer was in 3D... sadly we didn't have that luxury) and simply being in AWE of all the bright colors and such.

That's just one of the many ways I roll when it comes to movies.

It has an environmental message at its heart, but it's not preachy like a lot of movies people groan at merely the mention of. 
Right now the only example I can draw up is "The Lorax." I didn't read the book as a kid so I didn't know what to expect, but I felt deceived by the trailers that promoted it as a funny, light-hearted kid's movie. In the dark parts, it got REALLY dark.

And before anyone cries out that this is a deliberate rip-off of "FernGully"... I can't speak on behalf of that one way or the other. I saw the movie so long ago that I have no recollection of it.
The end credits said it was inspired by a children's book.

Thankfully, us humans aren't the bad guys in this one.
They're merely visitors.

The movie begins when teenager M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) arrives at her dad's place, which happens to be in the middle of the woods. He'd been spending his life searching for an "advanced civilization of little people living the forest," leading to his estrangement from society and his own family. M.K. wants to explain how she feels about his way of life, but he's too busy tinkering with his latest discoveries (via several of his motion-sensitive cameras strung throughout the forest) to even listen.
But as she's on her way to leave, she ends up having to catch their dog- an old three-legged pug with bad eyesight- who ran into the woods. Did he need to have three legs? No, but even though he's animated, he was freaking cute.

In the forest where the leafman (the little warriors who ride hummingbirds) live, they're preparing for a special day that only happens every 1,000 years. The queen of the forest (a warm performance from Beyonce) has to choose an heir. She picks out a seed blossom from a pond that must be bloom under the light of the full moon when it's at its peak.

But our villains, who are fully aware of this, arrive to complicate things. Their leader Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) wants to make everything in the forest decay simply because that's the way he likes things.

Sadly this massive chase scene that ensues ends with the Queen Tara getting killed, but not before she and M.K. meet and she gives her the task of looking after the seed. Not to mention she shrinks her down to their size.

A few voices stand out and gave decent performances, but I viewed this film as a whole rather than the sum of the parts. 
It's nice to hear Colin Farrell with his Irish brogue for a change. Josh Hutcherson, we all know as Peeta from "The Hunger Games," plays his young charge who is going through some growing pains and rebels, but evolves into somewhat of a love interest for M.K. It isn't explored terribly well, but it's a kid's movie- what do you expect? 
He gets a little friendly competition for M.K.'s affections from Mub the slug (yeah, I totally see that couple happening [rolls eyes]), and his friend Grub continually brings up his dream to become a leafman (despite the fact he's actually a snail).
Christoph Waltz plays a good baddie, but his voiceover work doesn't hold quite as much water as he does in the flesh where his accent alone gives me chills. 

Steven Tyler is probably the biggest stand-out other than Beyonce, making us totally believe that Nim is an eccentric "uncle" wise-man type.

The storyline is pretty easy to follow from there. After consulting Nim on what to do with the seed, they have to take it Moon Haven where the full moon will shine the brightest. The bad guys get a hold of it, Mandrake wanting it to open in darkness so he can use it to destroy the forest. Of course, the good guys have to infiltrate the evil lair to get it back and even then, the battle isn't entirely over.

The action comes and goes as it's needed so the movie is paced really well. And when the chips are down, everyone plays a part, even M.K.'s dad, and you get the desired happy ending.

Overall, it's straight forward, well-written, acted decently, provides a feast for the eyes and has a little something in it for everyone.
I really enjoyed it and hope anyone who reads this decides to give it a shot at some point, no matter what the critics say.

Grade: A

[Program Note]

Speaking of those critics, they all panned the magician heist film "Now you see me." Yet it managed to beat out this week's designated Blockbuster "After Earth" in box office earnings.

I'll be going to be seeing that solo on Wednesday. Not just to prove the wrong critics (something I like to do every now and then), but also because the trailers looked more awesome each time they showed them in theaters.

2 comments: said...

Wait I can leave my five year-old alone in a theater while I go and watch a different movie? Other than the fact that my wife would kill me I think I might also have child protective services up my ass.

Glad to hear that this is not awful as Jr. has been bugging me to check this out.

Dan O. said...

It's sweet and fun for the kids, which is good enough for anybody. Even a single man like myself. Good review Jackie.