A Grand Scale and Epic Proportions.

Animated feature-films have been almost as big a part of the film industry as any mainstream blockbuster and they are oft voiced by the biggest names in Hollywood. Walt Disney himself pioneered so many new techniques with his release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs all the way back in 1927, but very little has really changed. For instance, the computer may have replaced a lot of the hard working people who used to spend huge amounts of time hand painting all the frames of animation, but it can’t create or draw anything on it’s own. It also can’t write a new story, and it would appear neither can William Joyce, James Hart or Chris Wedge, who collaboratively penned Epic with only thoughts of box office receipts, instead of starry-eyed children, but since when did children care about such mundane facts?

The other thing computers have (almost) guaranteed, is the beautifully presented and rendered animations that we now get treated to, and when presented in 3D it can be quite breathtaking. Isn’t it just the way of things? Now that 3D is well and truly established, and (thanks to the very latest conversion logarithms) even used to dust off the old classics like Titanic or Jurassic Park, but at what cost? It would appear that while the technology used to bring the characters to life, is charging ever forward with much creativity, the writing is not, and is why a lot of animations are based on established children’s books. William Joyce wrote the book and screenplay for the successfully excellent Rise of the Guardians and while he also wrote Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs” which just wasn’t original enough to be made into a film in my opinion, but once again, the thought of earning vast sums of money trumps all.

So we have a strange reclusive father, who is so immersed in his work he fails to see anything else, and his hunt for “an advanced civilization of tiny people living in the forest” has driven his wife away and estranged him from his daughter. She turns up on his doorstep after promising her mother she would try to get along with him, but it would appear the paternal bond just may be beyond redemption. In the forest we see the tiny people in some sort of power struggle, who mainly consist of the stereotypical cookie cutter characters we get in so many animations these days, but the team behind this could have given us so much more. The evil fungus growing little people want to take over the beautiful forest and have it overrun with weeds and rats, but for this to happen, the queen must be killed. There just so happens to be a cosmic line up of the planets, and now they have their big opporchancity to wipe out all the good creatures of the forest, but will they be successful and what will happen to father and daughter?

There were one or two character voices who I didn’t feel matched the faces or personalities, with Colin Farrell’s Ronin being a perfect example. This one needed a strong voice to match the lantern jawed forrest soldier and that quite simply is not what Colin Farrell sounds like. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, as did my fourteen-year-old daughter but we both were a little annoyed at no one pushing the envelope with the story but also with the fact that they produced a movie simply by dressing up a rather unoriginal story with 3D.

Grade: B-

Ed Blackadder