June 9: #9, Epic
"Honey, I Shrunk the 'Avatar'!"
My kids and I have seen the trailer for Epic a few times, and they have wanted to see it ever since. I don't blame them; it's a great trailer. Of course, it's easy to make an amazing trailer and considerably harder to make a movie that is as good for its complete two-hour running time. Still, when you're trying to watch a butt-load of movies in a limited amount of time and you can multi-task by watching an animated movie now and then that won't make you want to claw your eyeballs out, you do it.
So, Epic came to the DeWitt Operahouse and I went to see it along with the wife and kids. How was it? It was good. Really, it was like a mashup of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Avatar, as the plot leads to a teenage girl shrinking down to microscopic size and immersing herself in a mysterious civilization of tiny little people who protect the forces against the evil forces of Skeletor- er, sorry- the "Boggans", who want the forest to rot for reasons unknown to anyone whatsoever and to that end, shoot arrows that kill living things.
Where the film parallels Avatar is in its message of conservation, although the way the message is communicated in Epic is a lot less heavy-handed and preachy than in Avatar. The teenage girl who gets the shrinking treatment has just arrived to live with her estranged dad, who is a scientist obsessed with the idea of microscopic people living in the woods, and the story thankfully doesn't go too deep into their father-daughter issues, either.
So Epic succeeds at exploring some serious themes without getting preachy or losing the interest of the kids in the audience, but what else? Well, the animation is top-notch, and particularly impressive during the many action sequences. The voice acting is great, too. Of course, every major animated film these days features excellent animation and voice acting.
Ultimately, Epic is a good movie for kids and adults alike that doesn't insult the intelligence of its audience or devolve into fart jokes from one-note characters with silly voices.The laughs instead come from a loveable three-legged dog and various physical comedy that mostly hits the mark. However, the film does have its generic points, such as a male protagonist that is essentially a watered-down Flynn Rider from Tangled. Overall, Epic is a good movie and better than most "family-friendly" movies, but ultimately isn't something you'll remember years from now. Grade: B.