It seems that whenever I try to get somewhere for something important at a very specific time, and even leaving myself an extra 20-30 minutes just in case, I get the bus with the driver that goes stupidly slow making me late for whatever engagement that I have. As such, I barely made it to Epic this morning while unfortunately missing the trailers. I don't think there's anything too surprising coming up. In the animated films category we got Monster's University (June 21), Despicable Me 2 (July 3), Turbo (July 17), Planes (August-ish), Sunny with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (September 27), Frozen (November 27), and Walking with Dinosaurs (December 20). I'm sorry but I'm really not looking forward to Planes. It really seems rushed as Disney was first working on Frozen and then Planes was announced to be released but at an even earlier date than Frozen. Plus, it's probably being made for the same purpose of Cars 2 and that's because it sells a lot of toys. "Fun" thing that happened, the movie projector broke 5 minutes before the end of the movie. They did finally fix it and I got to see Epic all the way to the end and all the credits. It broke the "experience" somewhat but I got a free movie pass out of it! By Blue Sky studios, Epic is based off of the book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs. It was great seeing Blue Sky pushing what they are able to do. They have only started to introduce human characters in Rio but have yet to do a movie with a full cast of human characters. It is similar to what Pixar does, each film isn't really just about making a film but a continuous learning and developing process and applying the techniques and technology created in a format to be shown off. I'd have to say that my favorite character was Mub, the slug, voiced by Aziz Ansari. He was just hilarious.
Epic was epic-ly beautiful. First, please watch it in 3D as it was amazing. I know there are people out there who don't think it's worth paying the extra few dollars to see a movie in 3D as it is just a sort of gimmick but I will argue artist intentions. Animated movies are being specifically made in 3D and seen as such. The 2D is just another process that the studio will put out for those who don't wish to see it in the 3D format. Looking at something in the original format is so important, especially to me as an artist. Taking classical fine art for example, you don't get the same experience and feeling of color, texture, and the tactile quality of the materials of looking at a painting in person versus in a photograph. Seeing a Rothko or even a Pollock in person is vastly different compared to a photograph. Rothko's color fields will completely surround and envelope you as you look into it and Pollock's splatter paintings are layered so heavily and in such an exact way that it achieves depth and perspective. In Epic, Blue Sky has layered many elements of the foliage together and really pushed the depth of field to make the audience feel small in a vast and large extending forest. If anything else, support the industry! Stereoscope creates another field of job opportunities for people to get in.
The textures were beautiful. There was one scene were a deer comes in and so we look at it overall in large but then it comes close and we get to see all the details up close from a tiny person's point of view. I loved the details on the slug's back and it was all nicely moist and slimy. The human characters' skin textures were somewhat safe and plain in my view, especially when compared to the patterns, wrinkles, and such of the Boggans' (the evil rot people). I can understand going human for MK (the female protagonist) and her father but I do wish that something more interesting could have been done with the leaf people as they mainly just looked like tiny humans wearing green leaf patterned armor. Particularly as everybody else in the world were clearly insects or plants but the leaf men were clearly not.
For animation, the one that stuck out the most to me were the slug and snail. Particularly the eye-stalks and how they would move around and act also as limbs as times were interesting and hilarious. I don't know if it was hard or not, but something interesting that the animators had to do was animate in super slow motion. In the world of the leaf men, bugs, and the rest of the magical creatures they experience time in an accelerated format so when the two worlds meet, from the point of view of MK and the leaf men, the normal world that is inhabited by MK's father and dog move at a ridiculous and hilariously slow speed.
I had two small qualms with the story. First was why the queen had to run away. It has been mentioned that she is extremely powerful, with a wave of her hand she can undo all of whatever the Boggans destroy. There was a large hoard of Boggans coming to attack her so I suppose it may have been too many to fight off but she is queen of the forest and in her own realm. She did a little bit of ass-kicking here and there but I felt like the queen could have done so much more, such as calling all of the forest to rise up and strike the Boggans. Maybe there was a limit to her powers or maybe her powers were waning as it's time to pass it on to her heir, but it was never explained so we just need her to be chased down so the story can move on to focusing on MK's journey. The second point would be to why MK could suddenly jump incredible distances. Sure, maybe the leaf men can do it because they're magical creatures that might be part grasshopper but I don't think being shrunk down would suddenly give a normal human super leg strength.A slightly bigger issue that I have is the love relationship aspect between MK and Ronin. They went on an adventure together and I did feel that they started to like each other but not really to the point of love, where there's a spark, and the kiss scene. At the end, when MK returns, there was no continuation of that love, they were just video chatting like two friends keeping in touch. To me, the movie felt more about MK reconnecting with her dad and to do so by learning about how everyone is connected and not alone through the leaf men and so this barely perceptible tangent of love relationship between MK and Ronin was meh.
I forgive the above because there was a musical number in the movie. I'm a sucker for those and was so disappointed when there wasn't one in Wreck it Ralph.
It's great. Go watch it. Go watch it in 3D.