The opening scene of Epic will have you captivated immediately. It is definitely the next level of animation, it is like nothing you have ever seen before. The forest came alive in the scene and you were taken into the world that we live near all the time but never saw quite the this way in a movie. Epic is visually amazing but it also tells a great story of the fight against good and evil. This battle takes place in the forest with the creatures plants, animals and insects being protected by an elite group called the Leaf Men and the Boggans are trying to destroy everything in the forest.
The movie starts out introducing us to the forest but it also lets us meet Mary Katherine (MK) who will become the hero of our story. She is a teenage girl who is coming back to stay with her father in his remote home in the forest after we presume her mother has passed away (while it is NOT a Disney movie it certainly draws a strong similarity here). Her Dad is an eccentric scientist who has an outlandish theory about small creatures living in the forest that we see everyday but seem to not notice.
When MK goes out to find her dog who ran out of the house she starts her real journey when she happens to get herself in the middle of one of the big battles between Leaf Men and the Boggans on the most important day in a hundred years: the full moon on the summer solstice. I do not want to give away to much of the movie but I will say that the voices and the characters are great matches. Beyoncé is Queen Tara, an amazing mother nature-ish character and I love that they made her character playful and fun not serious. I think her character really shows the way we all need to appreciate nature as beautiful and worth enjoying. Steven Tyler as Nim Galuu, the record keeper, is hilarious and will make the grandparent generation feel a little weird seeing a rock icon from their era playing an old man with a lot of quirky tendencies. Colin Farrell plays Ronin the serious Leaf Man (warrior) trying to save the forest from evil. He does everything in a serious way, while he is a hero in the story I found his character to be a bit boring.
Who steals the show? No surprise that Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd’s character steal every scene they are in. I love when kids movies with strong messages mix fun into it and give the parents a good laugh too. Mub and Grub a snail and a slug were the keepers of the pod, which is very important to the survival of the forest. Their characters were central to the plot but they really made the movie fun, I think slugs and snails might be the next big thing for kids after this movie.
My only complaint about the movie was a the scene with the mouse (no need for a spoiler alert here). I have a terrible, irrational, fear of rodents particularly mice and seeing our hero MK faced with a tiny field mouse that was as big as Godzilla made me squirm in my seat. I am pretty sure the kids around me had no issue with it but I did close my eyes for a good part of the scene and I cannot unsee what I saw either!
“If anyone can come out of this with a moment’s more pause for thought than they would have had before it or if kids want to go out and pick up a rock and see what lies underneath it and put the iPad down for five minutes, happy days, you know?” -Colin Farrell
Is the movie about the environment? Honestly, no, but you can see a tie to the physical location of the movie and themes of good and evil to an environmental lesson. Do people love the forest? Yes! Do people want to see the forest saved and protected to live on? Yes! But are there also people purposely and unconsciously killing the forest and the creatures that live there? Unfortunately yes. I think that lesson is easily explained to children but it is not hitting you over the head when you watch the movie.
So when you leave the movie and you are talking to your kids about the theme of the movie and the environment use it as a time to talk to them about other environmental issues like climate change. What if there was a big storm in the forest at the end of the movie and the moon was blocked? What can we do to make sure the forest stays the way it is? Have your kids write their thoughts down to enter the Team Energy Star contest for a chance to win great prizes. Energy Star partnered with the movie Epic in an effort to get the word out to kids to think about saving energy and how that can save our planet. Kids are so thoughtful and have such great passion for the environment let them share it in the contest. Even if they do not want to enter have them go to the Energy Star website and learn more about what they can do to help save the forest we live in.
I definitely recommend that you take your kids to see this movie in the movie theater. It is a movie that needs to be seen on the big screen. I saw it in 3-D and it was amazing but I think I will take my daughter who is quite young to see it in a regular theater. Great story, amazing visuals, and a platform for a great discussion with your kids about the environment! I hope you go see it!
Disclaimer: Energy Star invited me to the premiere to review the movie and discuss the partnership. This did not affect my opinion, I really liked the movie!