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Epic (2013) - Movie Review for Parents

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Epic
Photo © Fox

Bottom line: Epic is an animated action/adventure flick set in a lush forest and told from a bug's eye perspective. Contains some scenes of intense peril that may frighten very young children, as well as a surprising amount of humor that will have kids and adults laughing.

MPAA Rating: PG, for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language
Guide age recommendation: 5+
Genre: Animated/adventure/comedy/fantasy
Runtime: Approx. 85 minutes
Release Date: May 24, 2013

Epic - Overview

After her mother passes away, teenager M.K. goes to live with her estranged father in his secluded house in the forest. For years, her father Bomba has been obsessed with proving the existence of little leaf people he claims exist in the forest all around. Though everyone thinks he's crazy, Bomba continues his quest. Little does he know, the Leafmen are onto him and have been easily eluding him all these years.

Deep in the forest, Leafmen truly are the protectors of the natural world. Led by their Queen Tara, the Leafmen guard the forest from the evil Boggans, a tribe of bugs intent on spreading death and decay. But when Tara is injured trying to complete a most important task, choosing the bud that will become her heir, something incredible happens. Tara chooses M.K., who is walking through the forest oblivious to the war waging around her, to be the guardian of the pod. M.K. suddenly becomes as tiny as the leaf people, and finds herself in the middle of a critical mission.

Ronin, leader of the Leafmen, vows to help M.K. deliver the pod to the the place Queen Tara specified. Also joining them on their quest are Mub and Grub, a slug and snail in charge of keeping the pod healthy, and Nod, a teenage Leafman who has lost his way a bit. If M.K. and the Leafmen can't get the pod to the right place at the right time, the life of the entire forest will be lost.

Leafman on Humming BirdPhoto © 20th Century Fox

Epic - Guide Review for Parents

If you've seen the previews for Epic, you may have thought something along the lines of I've seen this before. The world from a bug's eye view has definitely been done in movies like Honey I Shrunk the Kids, A Bug's Life, and most similarly, Arthur and the Invisibles. Don't count Epic out, though, the movie offers a beautiful and lush setting perfect for going into summer, the story and characters are engaging, and there is a surprising amount of humor that will entertain both kids and adults.

The vibrant animation of a whimsical, action-filled natural world beneath our feet allows viewers to get lost in this world and engage in the story being told. While the animation falters when it comes to a couple of the characters, Queen Tara lacks expression and her character doesn't really feel believable, for example, other characters are fabulously done.

After seeing the movie, we found ourselves wishing parts of the story had been a bit more filled out. Where did the Boggans come from and why are they so intent on destruction? How exactly does the pod thing work? We thought it would bloom into the new heir, but that wasn't exactly the case. Still, the story is entertaining enough and the movie is overall a fun family flick.

Very young children may be scared by some perilous scenes in the movie. A couple of characters are hurt or killed (Queen Tara dies, but her body turns into a glittery substance and sort of floats away). We also learn that M.K.'s mom and Nod's father had both passed away before the story takes place. Weapons such as spears and swords are shown and used in battle, and a few hand-to-hand fights get a little intense as well. Some kids may be frightened by the look of the Boggans and their menacing ways. For more detailed information on the content in the movie, please see the overview below.

Epic - Content Overview

*May contain spoilers.

  • Violence (High): The movie contains battle action throughout. Leafmen soldiers fight Boggans, bugs who wear rodent skeletons as armor, with weapons such as spears, arrows and swords. Bad guys are shown getting knocked off their birds with arrows and the like. They fall to the ground and are presumed dead. One main character dies after being hit with a spear, and other is presumed dead. Some characters are shown being beat up in mild to moderate fights with bad guys.
  • Scary Scenes (High): Scenes listed under "violence" could be frightening to young children. The battle scenes and other perilous situations, such as when M.K. gets chased by her dog (who is now of course much bigger than she is) could be scary for young kids.
  • Sex/Nudity (Low): Queen Tara is very flirtatious with Ronin. M.K. and Nod find themselves feeling awkward when flying together, which necessitates putting their arms around each other. Nod and M.K. kiss.
  • Drugs and Alcohol (None)
  • Language (Low): A couple of rude words like "jerk" or "ugly" are used.
  • Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (Extreme): Kids may imitate some of the insults characters throw at each other like "jerk" or "ugly says what?" or "shut your fat face." Some of the characters exhibit bad attitudes -- Nod is rebelling against Ronin and the life of a Leafman. M.K, is frustrated by her father's incessant chasing of imaginary people and leaves a note that she is leaving to live on her own. Some forest inhabitants get into bird racing in similar fashion to horse racing and a mob boss type frog has his goons beat up a racer.
Epic movie photoPhoto © 20th Century Fox

  • Sad/Unsettling Scenes (High): Hearing that M.K.'s mom has died, as well as Nod's dad, may be unsettling for some kids. Queen Tara's death is sad, particularly for Ronin. Another character's presumed death is difficult for the characters in the movie. The strain is M.K. and her father's relationship could be slightly sad or unsettling for kids.
  • Movie Topics Kids Might Have Questions About: Imaginary worlds, what causes living things to live, conservation, death of a parent, boy/girl relationships

Epic - Bonus Features

Bonus features on the Epic Blu-ray include fun and educational featurettes that focus on bug science and even a little physics. Kids can also go behind the scenes for a look at how the movie was made. The special features include enough great material to be educational and inspire kids to learn more, enough fun to be entertaining, and just enough substance overall to add real value to the movie purchase.

Disclosure: The studio provided a free screening of this movie for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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