Following a young girl’s attempt to restore her relationship with her father after her mother passes away, but her father is a disorientated recluse in the forest, convinced he has found a miniaturised civilisation at war. Before you can say Fern Gully, Mary-Katherine, or M.K, is shrunk down and must join forces with the Leafmen, a militaristic legion in constant struggle with Mandrake, a creature that commands the very essence of death and decay.
The film is very, very easy to watch; it doesn’t play up any possibility that M.K’s father might be crazy as we see the leafmen in full action in the first five-ten minutes. There isn’t even that much weight to her mother passing away.
A lot of the characters therefore are pretty one-dimensional. We have a fish-out-of-water heroine, a plucky young hero, a hardened mentor, and a villain who wants to kill things. Because he is eeeeeevil. They don’t have personalities so much as plot devices making them do things, doubly so for secondary characters who virtually do nothing but act like plot devices; as such the only character I had any feeling for was Ronin, the veteran leafman, but that’s because he was the cooler stereotype.
The visuals are… okay. They are creative at times, but as the film progresses there isn’t much to see: dandelion plant people, hummingbirds, leafmen, more hummingbirds. It isn’t a very long film but it certainly felt long.
So yeah, it didn’t give me very much to chew on. The villain is half-baked and could have been a lot more threatening with a more “death is a necessity for life” angle rather than just wanting the world to rot (I didn’t even notice he was voiced by Christoph Waltz!) the comedy falls flat almost all of the time (except for one part that involves static electricity, that was funny!) and because everyone is purely driven by plot convenience you will already see where the story is going and predict all of it.
For very young kids it should entertain for a while, but everyone else will probably get a little bored.
Epic is what you get if you mix Fern Gully, Spiderwick Chronicles and The Borrowers all in one, and proves to be something of a generic time waster.