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Epic

Are stunning visuals enough to conceal the plot holes in this animated tale of good vs. evil?

Teenager M.K. (Amanda Seyfried: The Big Wedding) is forced to move back in with her father (Jason Sudeikis: Movie 43) after the death of her mother. A veritable stranger to her, Dad is far more interested in tiny people who he believes live in the forest than in his mourning child.
    Dear old dad might not be as crazy as M.K. believes.
    A magically shrunken M.K. discovers there is a world beyond the leaves, and it’s locked in a bitter battle. The Leafmen, a race of two-inch tall warriors, are charged with protecting the Queen of the Forest. They fight the dreaded Boggans, an evil race that wants to destroy the forest through decay.
    The conflict has been at a stalemate for years, but once every 100 years, on the night of the summer solstice, the power of the forest must be transferred from queen to queen. The Boggans see their chance to uproot the Leafmen and their floral brethren as the transition occurs.
    In keeping with the plot of almost every fantasy movie, M.K. is pulled into the conflict.
    Epic is a beautiful, entertaining mess of a movie that does not live up to its hyperbolic name. The plot is thinner than our current ozone layer. The thin eco-friendly message is undercut by the magical plot. If the queen can regrow a tree with the wave of her hand, why is deforestation a problem?
    As decay is an essential part of the life cycle of any ecosystem, teaching children that the elements of decay (the Boggans) are evil is a bit foolish.
    Epic also features one of the most infuriating character types, the annoying upstart. This character questions authority without reason, reacts petulantly when blamed for bad decisions and never shows remorse. Nod (Josh Hutcherson: Red Dawn) fills this role. Though in theory the hero, he hampers M.K. and her quest.
    Still, all is not lost. Voice actors give depth to shallowly drawn characters. Both Seyfried and Colin Farrell offer excellent performances that evoke emotion and humor. Standouts in the cast are the two mollusks: snail Grub (Chris O’Dowd: This Is 40) and slug Mub (Aziz Ansari: Parks and Recreation). Ansari and O’Dowd, though superfluous to the plot, add much needed humor while managing to make even slime trails charming.
    Though the plot is often silly and predictable, director Chris Wedge, the man behind the Ice Age films, creates stunning visuals.
    Epic did wonders entertaining its target audience: children. The theater filled with giggles every time Grub and Mub oozed onto screen and gasps whenever the evil Boggans appeared. Round up your young moviegoers to enjoy this beautiful, if silly, epic.

Good Animation • PG • 102 mins.