It’s half term and the only other film on wide release contains strong language, sex and drug references, and brief nudity so you’re lucky that this is actually a fun watch that you can enjoy as well as your tiny person(s).
The Hangover Part III
Speaking of strong language, sex and drug references, and brief nudity… It says a lot about this franchise that I still can’t figure out if I’ve seen Part II or not. Something about a monkey?
Something in the Air (limited release)
French film set in the late 60s about young Europeans wanting to continue a revolution. Not the French revolution mind, you want Les Misérables for that.
The King of Marvin Gardens (limited re-release)
Jack Nicholson stars in a story of two brothers and a misjudged get-rich-quick scheme. First released in 1972.
Benjamin Britten: Peace and Conflict (limited release)
Docudrama about the schooling of English composer Benjamin Britten. Narrated by John Hurt who you last saw blowing your mind in a children’s Sci-Fi show.
The Moth Diaries (limited release)
Lily Cole stars in this British horror set in a girl’s boarding school. Girls can be horrible to each other at the best of times without a supernatural element messing with things.
Grave of the Fireflies (limited re-release)
It has been 25 years since the original release of Grave of the Fireflies, on the same day as My Neighbour Totoro, making both films the same age as me. “A tragic film covering a young boy and his little sister’s struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.”
My Neighbour Totoro (limited re-release)
It has been 25 years since the original release of My Neighbour Totoro, on the same day as Grave of the Fireflies, making both films the same age as me. “When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wonderous forest spirits who live nearby.”
Amanda Seyfried stars as M.K.; a young girl who has recently lost her mother (in typical children’s film style) and is forced to live with her wacky dad in the countryside. Her dad, played by Jason Sudeikis, believes that a civilisation of tiny people live in the forest by their house and spends his days searching for them. M.K. is naturally sceptical of her dad’s theory but when she chases her dog into the woods and ends up shrunk down and involved in an epic (THAT’S THE NAME OF THE MOVIE!!!) battle to claim power over the forest as she helps the Leafmen fight the rot-spreading Boggans as well as trying to return home and to her normal size.
Phew. Plot synopsised!
We were pleasantly surprised by Epic; it was a sweet and funny tale that didn’t overstay its welcome. The story was simple and didn’t stray too far from the classic animated film formula but was enjoyable nonetheless. The jokes were genuinely funny and stemmed from character rather than pop culture references (hello Shrek!) so the film has lasting appeal; the jokes will still be funny long after Britney Spears* is a distant memory. As we left my co-writer Kat said “that could have been a Pixar” which is high praise indeed, though perhaps not totally accurate. Certainly better than Cars* though…
Where Epic falls down is in its villains. Christoph Waltz lent his sinister tone to the leader of the Boggans and they were threatening enough but I wasn’t completely clear on why they wanted the whole forest to turn to rot. Sure they were evil, but why? Maybe they just got tired of Al Gore* harping on about the environment and decided to kill all the trees so he had nothing left to save.
Epic‘s strengths lie with the good guys. M.K. is a feisty female lead that may even pass the Bechdel test if talking to a queen played by Beyoncé Knowles about a genderless flower pod counts. She has a lighthearted romance with Leafman Nod, as played by Josh Hutcherson, and any time the film threatens to get too serious or more scary than its U certificate allows Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd are on hand as a pair of amusing gastropods. Colin Farrell is also present as an older Leafman but he is taking the backseat in this film and does more disapproving than anything else.
Overall the film is a lot of fun and had us both chuckling away throughout. With half-term holidays coming up next week Epic could serve as a perfect distraction for any tiny people in your life. We would advise people to see it in 2D though, headaches and double vision are abound and the 3D adds to little more than your ticket price.
*Examples of out-dated pop culture references