Editor's note: As part of his Seattle International Film Festival coverage, ParentMap movie reviewer John Kubalak and his two kids reviewed 'Epic,' which opens in theaters tomorrow. Find more SIFF picks from John in his SIFF preview.
Epic is the latest film from Blue Sky Studios, the people who brought us Ice Age and Rio. It's based on William Joyce's book The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs.
After the death of her mother a teenage girl comes to live with her father who is obsessed with finding evidence of the existence of tiny fairy-like leaf people in the forest. Crazy as he seems, it turns out he’s right and the girl is magically transported into this world and given responsibility for a magical bloom that has the power to save the forest. The eponymous battle then ensues between good (the leaf people defenders of the verdant life of the forest) and evil (the Boggins, nasty shark/bug things that spread death and decay).
Ages 8 and up, rated PG
There is something for both boys and girls here. Fairy-like people of the forest, some with beautiful dresses, a strong heroine, leaf-men Kung Fu swordplay on hummingbirds that sound like teeny-tiny WWII fighters, and two very amusing gastropods. The villainous Boggins are truly threatening and creepy so I would not recommend this for kids under 8 unless they have a fondness for gross and menacing creatures.
The Boggins are evil shark bugs that ride bats and old crows and their arrows spread death and decay. They are fairly unpleasant but not excessively creepy, just mostly creepy. Aside from lots of battling where injury and death are strongly implied by rarely shown onscreen this is a fairly harmless movie for most kids.
The kids' review
Our family was fairly divided on this one. Our son was not interested in seeing it based on the trailers and the movie itself did nothing to change his opinion. He didn’t care for the Boggins, the slug/snail comedy (although he couldn’t help laughing a couple of times – they’re pretty funny), or the heroics of the main characters. For my part, even though I enjoyed the film overall, afterward I was left with a foreboding aftertaste. I hope I’m not giving too much away by saying that although the good guys in a big summer Hollywood kids movie do okay for themselves in the end, the evil forces in the movie were so effectively portrayed that their presence stayed with me more than the warm fuzzies after the movie was over.
My daughter on the other hand, couldn’t disagree more. She is a huge fan of fairies and the portrayal of the magical world of the forest, while not technically fairyland, has more than enough wonder and beautiful art direction to satisfy any fairy-loving person. She thought Beyoncé was fabulous and beautiful, the slug and snail were hilarious, and I suspect she related to the main character with the crazy dad.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment or have something to add?
If you go ...
Where/when: Epic opens in theaters tomorrow, May 23. Find showtimes.
About the author: John Kubalak is a writer, teacher, volunteer coordinator, raconteur, and scalawag. He does not publish science fiction under the pseudonym Jonathan Black but he does publish a monograph on fatherhood, The Eclectic Dad where this post originally appeared. He has a son, a daughter, a beautiful wife (and a little dog too!) who are adorable, maddening, zany, and brilliant all at the same time.