Epic Blu-ray Review
If you pick up EPIC and comment that you haven’t seen it you may be wrong. If you’ve seen A BUGS LIFE you may not be as surprised by the on screen action. But you will be amazed at the beauty of the production. On its visual merits alone it ranks a look.
After her mother passes away we find Mary Katherine (Seyfried) – known as M.K. to her friends – goes to visit her father. Dad is a scientist whose obsession with tiny forest creatures not only cost him his reputation but his family. M.K. takes a walk in the woods and soon finds herself two inches high and involved in a war between battling factions of tiny creatures: the Leafmen, led by Ronin (Colin Farrel) and the Boggans, who follow Mandrake (a deliciously evil Waltz). Cue A BUGS LIFE.
The older I get the more I marvel at the magic that can now be created thanks to computers. EPIC opens with a breathtaking tour of a majestic forest, complete with babbling brooks and waterfalls. The foliage is so crisp and sharp you can almost hear the leaves crackling under your feet; the water so clear and blue you can feel the spray on your face. As the film progresses we meet some interesting creatures, among them Queen Tara (Beyonce’ Knowles), who puts the story in motion when she makes a dying request of M.K. Also included in the cast of characters are two gastropods that are clearly the film’s comedy relief; a snail named Grub (Chris O’Dowd) and a slug named Mub (Aziz Ansari). The menagerie also includes a singing glowworm (played with charm by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler) and even a young, handsome Leafman named Nod (Hutcherson), who naturally becomes smitten by the newly arrived M.K. Now if you think of Nod as A BUGS LIFE’S Flick, M.K. as Princess Atta and Mandrake as Hopper you pretty much know what happens next.
Story aside, EPIC has two things working in its favor: beautiful graphics and a committed voice cast. Based on the book “The Leafmen and the Brave Good Bugs’ by Oscar winning filmmaker William Joyce, the film is visually stunning. Joyce shares screenwriting credit with five other writers and is credited as the film’s production designer so his input was definitely hands on. Director Wedge keeps the film moving from one scene to another smoothly and the film moves easily over its 100 plus minutes. The cast has fun with the scenes they’re given and never hit a false note.
Coming from Blue Sky Studios, the company behind the popular ICE AGE films, the production values are what you’d expect: top notch. Danny Elfman’s score is the perfect complement to the beautiful camera work of cinematographer Renato Falcao. But it is the animators that deserve the lion’s share of the credit here. They’ve created a film so beautiful you could hang it on your wall. A great tag line would have been “Come for the story, stay for the beauty!”
EPIC BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio the film pretty much jumps off your screen. The images are sharp and clear and the colors vibrant and bright.
Audio: The film is presented in a new (to me) process: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. The sound is loud and clear with the sounds of the forest not overwhelming the dialogue.
Birds, Bugs and Slugs: Forest Explorer (5:21): A cool look at the real-life insects used as inspirations for the film characters.
Rot Rocks (3:18): A short feature dealing with the benefits of rot and decay, most notably in the woods.
Bugs of Camouflage (3:44): A man known only as “Ken, the Bug Guy,” shows how certain bugs blend into their woodland homes.
The EPIC Life at 2 Inches (3:43): Think your life would be the same if you were two inches tall? Wrong!
Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed (24:39): In seven segments, this featurette deals with every aspect of the film’s creative process.
Sneak Peeks: Looks at upcoming films, including a Blu-Ray release of the Tony Award winning Broadway musical “SHREK: THE MUSICAL.”