It’s all a wee bit mud­dled

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

THEY changed the ti­tle of this an­i­mated film from Leaf­men to Epic, but the prob­lem re­mains – it’s still about leaf men: tiny for­est sprites in Robin Hood gear who ride hum­ming­birds like stal­lions and fire ar­rows at one an­other. Wee peo­ple with daisies stick­ing out of their heads reach up to greet the day. Epic sprang from a book by Wil­liam Joyce, whose imag­i­na­tion also pow­ered the failed Rise of the Guardians. The two films share a pen­chant for ter­ri­ble jokes, char­ac­ters who are weird with­out be­ing in­ter­est­ing and mud­dled sto­ry­telling. Our en­try­way into this wee world is MK (Amanda Seyfried) who, on a trip to visit her goofy nat­u­ral­ist dad (Ja­son Sudeikis) in the woods, dis­cov­ers he is cor­rect in the­o­ris­ing an ad­vanced race of in­sect-size peo­ple lives high up in the sky. By the time she learns this, though, MK has shrunk to 5cm af­ter a mag­i­cal en­counter with the lit­tle peo­ple’s queen (Bey­once´ Knowles). The only pos­si­ble heir to the realm, a ran­dom green pod, must be pro­tected, lest the nir­vana of the leaf men (led by Colin Far­rell as head sol­dier Ronin and Josh Hutch­er­son as his pro­tege, Nod, pic­tured) be de­stroyed by the forces of de­cay led by the armies of an evil bug-man named Man­drake (Christoph Waltz) and his bum­bling son (Blake An­der­son). Some­body – ev­ery­body – in­volved in this film failed to no­tice Find­ing Nemo could be ex­plained in six words (over­pro­tec­tive fish-dad seeks way­ward son). It’s not that the plot of Epic is com­plex; it’s just un­tidy. There’s a lot go­ing on that goes nowhere. Nod, for in­stance, strikes up a flir­ta­tion with the minia­ture hu­man MK as the two bat­tle to save the pod un­til it blos­soms at the next full moon. When she re­turns to where she came from, she’s go­ing to be 30 times his size: I don’t think this re­la­tion­ship is go­ing any­where. For a chunk of the movie, the main goal is to get the pod to sup­posed sage Nim Galuu – but he just turns out to be a doo­fus voiced by Steven Tyler. He’s a batty cater­pil­lar in a bathrobe is­su­ing con­fused prophe­cies. He seems to be a cross be­tween the clue­less Wizard of Oz and the manic show­man King Herod in Je­sus Christ Su­per­star. And why, if a pod is the key to ev­ery­thing, is it en­trusted to the slow­est char­ac­ters (a slug and a snail voiced by Chris O’Dowd and Aziz An­sari)?

– KYLE SMITH

Epic opens on Mon­day.

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