This Week In Home Entertainment: Epic And Boardwalk Empire Season 3
Making the world feel miniaturized has always been able to instill a sense of wonderment in children. From Honey, I Shrunk the Kids to A Bugs Life, giving children a perspective of the world that is very different from what they see from their own height is both educational and exciting. Disney has sections of parks devoted to this concept, and Blue Sky Studios recently got into the miniature perspective with Epic, a story of small leaf men living in the woods and trying to protect the forest from rot and decay.
The queen of the forest (Beyonce Knowles) is set to choose her successor, causing unease across the woods and meadows. It the perfect opportunity for bad guy Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) to make a bid to take over, using decay as weaponry. When the succession ceremony goes awry, a regular-sized teenager named M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) must become tiny in order to fight with a group of leaf men to protect the forest. Along the way, she also finds love and friendship, and learns about herself.
The film doesn’t break the bank with new story or character ideas, the journey that M.K. goes on is more incredible than epic, and Knowles really, really should never have been given the chance to do voicework. While these things are largely noticeable to adult audiences, the kiddies shouldn’t mind. They’ll be too busy laughing at a snail and a slug (played by Chris O’Dowd and Aziz Anzari), and thinking about inhabiting the world from a much smaller perspective.
Where kids and adults can get on the same page is the animation. The perfection and attention to detail in Blue Sky Studios’ work is staggering. If anything has the right to be called epic in this film, it’s the animation craft. The perfection of the animated sequences struck me the most during a shot in the film where a deer is crashing through a forest, running past M.K.’s father, Bomba (Jason Sudeikis). The movement of the plants and the deer and the startled reaction of Bomba in the sequence in what is basically a throwaway shot explains why Blue Sky Studios offers some of the—if not the—best animation being put together right now. I didn’t see the film in 3D in theaters, but I can imagine the scenescapes are even more impressive in that format.
Given the right story, the studio should be capable of putting together an instant classic that is worth returning to again and again. I’m not sure that Epic is that movie, but it’s at least worth watching once.
You can order Epic over at Amazon.
Best Special Feature: The entire disc is geared towards younger kids. In fact, the slugs in the movie pop up onscreen when you first pop in the disc to sell all of the bonus features to kids. Interestingly, most of the segments on the disc are informational, and include facts about the animals and the bugs in the film, how rot actually helps the forest and more.
My favorite bonus feature was probably “Bugs of Camouflage,” which features a long-haired bug dude who explains how bugs camouflage and how those covers have evolved over time. If you have kids that are fascinated by different bugs, this is one to watch, for sure.
Other Special Features:
“Birds, Bugs and Slugs: Forest Explorer”
“The Epic Life at 2 Inches”
“Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed”
Enhanced Coloring Book App Features.
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