Epic 3D review (3D Blu-ray)

Epic doesn't quite live up to its title. It's not a bad film, merely average, which seems to be par for the course from studio Blue Sky – the people behind such films as Rio, Robots and the Ice Age series. Epic aims for something grand in scope, but it ends up being mediocre.

It's a tale of the forest-dwelling Leaf Men and their ongoing battle with the Boggans. They're all tiny, insect-sized people, hidden away from the human world. It's all about the balance of life - the Leaf men and their ilk are all about growth and regeneration, while the Boggans are the forcess for death and decay. The Leaf Men Queen (voiced by Beyonce) needs to appoint her heir, a "pod" or flowerbud, that needs to bloom in the moonlight otherwise it will turn bad. Or something. While all this is happening, human MK (Seyfried) is walking by and somehow gets shrunk down to fairy size and tasked with keeping the pod safe after the Boggans kill the queen.

Yeah, none of that really makes a lot of sense, does it. Epic is lovely to look at, but it seems to struggle a little on the story front. It's not terribly engaging, and the eco-message seems a little muddled. It tries to be serious, but as with most animated films, there has to be some comic relief for the kids, and here it comes in the form of a slug and a snail, voiced by Ansari and O’Dowd.

The head of the Leaf Men is voiced by Farrell, who's allowed to keep his Irish brogue (as is snail O'Dowd), and the bad guys are headed up by Waltz. The cast try hard, but the script lets them down. The characters are all underwritten and ill-defined, none more so than wannabe hero Nod (Hutcherson). The plot is slim, the action frantic (lots of aerial battles on the backs of birds and bats, a la Avatar) and none of it is truly engaging.

Epic may be fun for very small children, but for the rest of us,it's a pedestrian tale delivered without panache. Unlike the films of Dreamworks and Pixar, it lacks any real heart or soul. Epic is a bland, workmanlike effort that is far from epic.

3D QUALITY ★★★★ It will come as no surprise to learn that the 3D is just as good on Blu-ray as it was in the cinema – perhaps slightly better. CGI animated films seem to work better in 3D than live-action films, and Epic is no exception in this regard. And as with most animated films, the 3D is at its best in the flying scenes.

EXTRAS ★★½ There are two discs, one with the film in 3D and the otehr with the film in 2D, which also includes the bonus features as well as a digital copy of the film. THe extras themselves consist of: the featurette Birds, Bugs and Slugs: Forest Explorer (5:21); the featurette Rot Rocks (3:18); the featurette Bugs of Camouflage (3:44); the featurette The Epic Life at 2 Inches (3:42); the seven-part featurette Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed (24:39); and the theatrical trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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