Sunday, July 14, 2013

Epic (stylized as epic) is a 2013 American 3D computer animated fantasy-adventuredrama film loosely based on William Joyce's children's book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.[6] It was produced by Blue Sky Studios, and directed by Chris Wedge, the director of Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005). It stars the voices of Amanda Seyfried,Josh HutchersonColin FarrellChristoph WaltzAziz AnsariChris O'DowdPitbull,Jason Sudeikis, with Steven Tyler and Beyoncé Knowles. The film was released on May 24, 2013.

Plot[edit]

Following the death of her mother, Mary Katherine (a.k.a. M.K.) (Amanda Seyfried), a 17 year old teenager, moves in with her estranged and eccentric scientist father, Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), who has been searching for tiny human soldiers, about which M.K. is skeptical. She wants her father to stop his work. Unknown to the both of them, Bomba is right that there are tiny soldiers called Leafmen. They protect the forest Bomba lives near from evil creatures called Boggans (who shoot arrows that can kill any living thing) and their malevolent leader Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) who plans to destroy the forest. An independent young soldier, Nod (Josh Hutcherson) decides to quit, much to the ire of the no-nonsense Leafmen leader Ronin (Colin Farrell) who wants Nod to learn about teamwork.
The queen of the forest, Queen Tara (Beyoncé Knowles), who is aware of Ronin's apparent attraction to her, decides to choose an heir to her throne and goes out to a field of leaf pods, guarded by a laid-back slug named Mub (Aziz Ansari) and an uptight snailnamed Grub (Chris O'Dowd). Tara chooses the smallest pod as the heir. Immediately after she does so, the Boggans attack. Tara flees the area with the pod, and though her bodyguards do their best to protect her, they are soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of Boggans. Tara uses her magic to slow down her pursuers, and is at one point rescued by a flower child who idolizes her. Eventually, Ronin arrives for her and the pair fly off on Ronin's hummingbird mount. They are then attacked by Mandrake and his son Dagda (Blake Anderson). Dagda is killed by Ronin, but Tara is shot by Mandrake, and falls off Ronin's bird into the forest.
Meanwhile, M.K., annoyed at her father, decides to leave and leaves a note on one of his security monitors. Before she can leave, the family's one-eyed, three-legged dog, Ozzie, runs into the woods. While looking for Ozzie, M.K. sees Tara falling. A dying Tara gives her the pod and uses her magic to shrink her. She tells M.K. to take the pod to aGlowworm named Nim Galuu (Steven Tyler) before she dies. After meeting Ronin and the Leafmen, along with Mub and Grub, a confused and scared M.K. joins them. Ronin discovers that Nod has entered a race against other creatures and bugs on birds. He goes back on a deal with a tough bullfrog named Bufo (Pitbull). Before Bufo and his gypsy moth and scorpionfly goons can kill Nod, Ronin intervenes and orders the goons to leave. A reluctant Nod joins him, M.K., Mub, and Grub after hearing about Tara's death and falling for M.K.
They eventually find Nim Galuu, who is a showman and keeper of magic scrolls that tell what has occurred during the history of the forest, in a tree. After learning about Tara's death, he leads the group down to the scrolls, where M.K. discovers Tara's brief message before shrinking her, and a message that will get her back to normal size. When Ronin leaves, Nod takes M.K. on a enthralling deerride, where they begin to fall in love with one another. Mandrake (to whom Bufo fearfully reveals the location of the pod, which he overheard from Ronin and Nod) arrives and kidnaps Mub and Grub and imprisons them, along with the pod, which he hopes to bloom in darkness to destroy the forest and revive his son. To get into Boggan territory undiscovered, M.K., Nod, and Ronin set out to Bomba's house to get some disguises, where M.K. learns that her father is what the Leafmen call a "stomper" and have been leading Bomba off their trail. After getting the disguises, Ozzie (who earlier returns to Bomba's house) sees M.K. and chases her, catching Bomba's attention. He sees the group and catches M.K., but faints after seeing her. Before leaving, M.K. marks where the Leafmen territory is on one of Bomba's maps with a red push-pin.
When they reach the Boggan land, which is a wasteland of dead trees, Ronin distracts the Boggans while M.K. and Nod rescue Mub, Grub, and the pod. They are eventually found out by Mandrake, who summons the Boggans to stop them. M.K., Nod, Mub, and Grub escape alive, but Ronin sacrifices himself to ensure their escape. Before the full moon can sprout the pod at Moonhaven with moonlight, Mandrake's bats block the light, causing the pod to begin sprouting in darkness. When the Leafmen set out to fight the Boggans (with Grub unsuccessfully joining them) M.K. sets out to get her father for assistance, but an exasperated Bomba, after regaining consciousness, decides to give up on what he has been doing to find his daughter and shuts off all his cameras, believing that he didn't really see M.K. and that he's been insane all his years, but changes his mind when he sees the push-pin in his map.
After locating M.K., Bomba is overjoyed to see that he has been right and when he follows M.K. to Moonhaven, he (with his daughter's persuasion) uses his iPod to make bat sounds, causing the bats to follow Bomba. Meanwhile, Mub and Nim Galuu try to stop Mandrake from reaching the pod, but are unsuccessful. Just then, Ronin appears, bearing scars and bruises from Boggans. Mandrake manages to outdo him, but Ronin is defended by Nod, who earlier finally understands the importance of teamwork. Before Mandrake can obtain his victory, the moonlight takes over the pod before it blooms in darkness, causing it to bloom in light and Mandrake gets sucked into a tree. It also heals the forest after much damage from the Boggans.
The chosen heir is the flower child who idolized and saved Tara earlier in the film. Grub becomes a Leafman, Nod and Ronin reconcile, and Nod and M.K. hug and kiss and become a couple before M.K. is given back her original height by the new queen. After reuniting with Bomba and becoming his assistant, the reunited human family still keep regular contact with their new small friends (M.K. with her boyfriend Nod) as they continue the research of the world in their home.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

In 2006, it was reported that Chris Wedge would be directing an animated feature film based on William Joyce's book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs for Fox Animation. Joyce, who had already collaborated with Wedge as a designer and producer on the 2005 film Robots, was set to produce the film.[12] At one point, Wedge got permission to find a new home for the film and turned to Pixar, led by John Lasseter, whom Wedge knew from working on Tron. When Pixar tried to close the rights for the film and start development, Fox changed their mind, and the film returned back to Fox. The film was officially greenlit in 2009, under the title Leaf Men.[6] In May 2012, Fox announced the final title for the film, its first cast details, and a plot.[7]
Although the film is based on Joyce's The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, and it borrows many characters from the book, its plot has been significantly changed. Wedge explained: "But while Bill wrote a wonderful book, it is a quaint story. We wanted to make a gigantic action-adventure movie." To address online speculations about whether the film is similar to other films, like FernGully: The Last Rainforest or Avatar, Wedge said: "I hate to associate it with other movies. It is adventure on the scale of Star Wars. And it does immerse the audience completely in a world like Avatar. But it has its own personality.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Epic received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 64% based on 112 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Though its narrative themes are all too familiar, Epic is beautifully animated and crafted with just enough flair to make for solid family entertainment."[21] Another review aggregation website Metacritic, which assigns anormalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 52 out of 100 based on 29 reviews.[22]Audiences polled by the market research firm CinemaScore gave Epic an "A" grade on average and an "A+" among kids.[23]
Stephan Lee of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, saying "The story lacks the specialness of a Pixar movie — it retreads the same eco-battle archetypes as FernGully and Avatar — but it's a perfectly appealing explosion of color for a lazy summer day."[24]Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a mixed review, saying "Where the animated film comes up short is on the inspiration front -- despite the intriguing terrain, its stock inhabitants lack the sort of unique personality traits that would prevent them from feeling overly familiar."[25] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two stars, saying "It's difficult to keep its story and characters, or even its visual design, in your mind's eye, in part because the five credited screenwriters overload the narrative with incident and threatening complication."[26] Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Epic's visuals are enthralling enough for little and big folks to offset a predictable, albeit sweet, story."[27] Kyle Smith of the New York Postgave the film one star and a half out of four, saying "It’s not that the plot of Epic is complex; it’s just untidy. There’s a lot going on that goes nowhere."[28] Moira Macdonald of The Seattle Times gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying "The story's simple enough to appeal to young kids (the 8-year-old with me pronounced the movie "awesome"), but adults will enjoy the beautiful animation, whether 3D or 2D."[29] Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News gave the film one star out of five, saying "Even young would-be botanists will find this charmless animated adventure as exciting as watching grass grow."[30]
Stephen Holden of the New York Times gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying "As beautiful as it is, Epic is fatally lacking in visceral momentum and dramatic edge."[31] Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave the film two stars and a half out of five, saying "The emotional connection that should have the crowd cheering wildly for the heroes and booing the villains never clicks in."[32]Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the two and a half stars out of four, saying "It's one of those - generic entertainment with a brave heroine, cutesy-poo supporting characters, parental figures who are either absent or absent-minded, etcetera, etcetera."[33] Tom Russo of The Boston Globe gave the film two stars out of four, saying "Their fantastical great-outdoors adventure is certainly very pretty to look at, and has a general agreeability about it. But the movie would need to engage us far more powerfully for that hyperbolic title to fit."[34] Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film two stars out of four, saying "Anyone over the age of 7 or so - not to mention their accompanying adults - isn't going to find too much here to truly engage them, let alone linger past the final fade out."[35]Andrew Barker of Variety gave the film a positive review, saying "If this is all familiar territory even to film-literate young children, it's nonetheless executed with professionalism and a few dashes of panache."[36] Glenn Kenny of MSN Movies gave the film two out of five stars, saying "A 3D eco-fantasy whose mantra-like insistence that we're all connected by nature is one of the main things that underscores the abject insincerity of the sentiment as the movie articulates it, "Epic" is very nearly epic in its stifling mediocrity."[37]

Box office[edit]

Produced on a budget of $93 million,[3][4] as of June 30, 2013, Epic has grossed $104,856,000 in North America, and $135,567,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $240,423,000.[5]
In North America, the film earned $9.3 million on its opening day,[38] and opened to #4 in its first weekend, with $33,531,068, behindFast & Furious 6The Hangover Part III and Star Trek Into Darkness.[39] In its second weekend, Epic opened to #5, grossing an additional $16,616,310.

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