A celebrity cast including Beyonce Knowles and Colin Farrell can't save this rather wet adventure
The title of the latest animated film from Ice Age and Rio creators Blue Sky Studios refers to the scale; although offering a sweeping story of huge armies, arduous journeys, lost princesses and aerial assaults, the action never travels beyond the confines of a little girl’s back garden. From The Borrowers to Arrietty, the idea of tiny people navigating real-life household and outdoor obstacles on a giant scale has obvious appeal for small children, and director Chris Wedge’s film aims to exploit that with new-fangled 3D depth.
After the unexplained death of her mother, urban teenager MK (Amanda Seyfried) reluctantly returns to the countryside to the guardianship of her estranged father Professor Bomba (Jason Sudekis). The eccentric Bomba has lost the love of his family due to his fervent belief that there are not only fairies at the bottom of his garden, but a whole sub-culture of species, ruled over by good Queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles). When the queen’s influence on her kingdom is put in peril, MK finds herself miniaturized and helping out the Queen’s loyal servants, the Leaf Men. With the help of Ronin (Colin Farrell) and (Josh Hutcherson), MK travels to meet jovial centipede (Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler) on a mission to battle the evil Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) for the kingdom.
The curiosity value of hearing Tyler voice a jolly arthropod is about the only fun for adults in this rather wet adventure, with only the comic relief of dizzy snails Mub and Grub (Aziz Anzari and Chris O’Dowd) to recall the far-funnier Tex Avery-influenced antics of rodent Scrat in the Ice Age films. Adapted from William Joyce’s children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, Epic is a big, brash but ultimately somewhat boring fairy story that relies too heavily on celebrity casting for appeal.