Film review: ‘Epic’ is as generic as its title

Aziz Ansari and Amanda Seyfried were actually turned into a cartoon slug and teen for "Epic." Credit: Blue Sky Studios/Fox
Aziz Ansari, as the slug, and Amanda Seyfried star in “Epic.”
Credit: Blue Sky Studios/Fox

‘Epic’
Director: Chris Wedge
Voices: Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrell
Rating: PG
2 (out of 5) Globes

Perpetual also-rans behind Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, Fox’s Blue Sky Studios previously brought us “Rio” and the absurdly profitable “Ice Age” series. Blue Sky movies have a strictly good-enough-for-government-work feel. Popular without penetrating the zeitgeist, these are marginally adequate entertainments destined to be forgotten on the drive home from the movie theater.

Blue Sky’s latest, the blandly titled “Epic,” is more of the same. Inspired by “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs,” a 32-page children’s book from “Rise of the Guardians” author William Joyce, director Chris Wedge and a small platoon of screenwriters (including Joyce himself) have fashioned an overcrowded hodgepodge of familiar tropes and Xeroxed bits from other, better movies. It’s the kind of movie that even while watching for the first time you could swear you’ve seen before.

Amanda Seyfried voices Mary Katherine, a tweener who recently lost her mom and is sent to live with her estranged scientist Dad (Jason Sudeikis) in a dilapidated country estate. She wants to be called MK now, and has no patience for her bumbling father’s crackpot theory that there’s an army of insect-sized men flying around the forest shooting bows and arrows on birds affixed with saddles.

But of course he’s absolutely correct. There’s a war going on in the woods, where the brave and noble Leaf Men (led by an uptight Colin Farrell) do daily battle with the sinister Boggans, gargoyle-like creatures who soar around on bats spreading rot and decay.

After much convoluted business involving the queen of the forest (yes, that’s really Beyonce) MK finds herself shrunk down and placed in charge of protecting a pod that’s the mystical key to the survival of the woodlands, or something like that.

The universe of “Epic” is so needlessly overcomplicated that the majority of the movie is just characters standing around explaining the story to one another. But if you’ve seen “Lord of the Rings,” “Avatar” or even “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest,” you’ll already be way ahead of them. Wedge tries to distract from the deja vu with oddball celebrity cameos, including Steve Tyler as a singing caterpillar and Pitbull as a jive-talking frog. But the nicest thing you can say is that at least the movie practices the green environmental message that it preaches: The entire screenplay is recycled.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Easter Egg hunt horror as skydiver plummets to…

A FAMILY Easter egg hunt ended in horror when a skydiver plummeted to his death in a New York garden after his parachute failed to…

News

Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…

News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.