Movie Review

Epic also known as “Leafmen”

MPAA Rating: PGfor mild action, some scary images and brief rude language.

Reviewed by: John Decker
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family Teens
Genre:
Animation Adventure Comedy Fantasy Family Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 42 min.
Year of Release:
2013
USA Release:
May 24, 2013 (wide—3,800+ theaters)
DVD: August 20, 2013
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

battle between good and evil

insects in the Bible

spiders in the Bible

EARTH’S ENVIRONMENT—Should Christians be concerned about the environment? Answer

What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer

author: William Joyce

Teen Qs—Christian Answers® for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.

Featuring: Jason SudeikisBomba (voice)
Steven Tyler … Nim Galuu (voice)
Amanda SeyfriedMary Katherine (voice)
Pitbull … Bufo (voice)
Beyoncé KnowlesQueen Tara (voice)
Josh HutchersonNod (voice)
Judah Friedlander … Larry (voice)
Colin FarrellRonin (voice)
Aziz Ansari … Mub (voice)
Blake Anderson … Dagda (voice)
Christoph WaltzMandrake (voice)
Chris O'DowdGrub (voice)
Emma Kenney … (voice)
Jason Harris … (voice)
Director: Chris Wedge—“Ice Age,” “Age: The Meltdown,” “Robots”
Producer: Twentieth Century Fox Animation
Blue Sky Studios
more »
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

“Discover a world from the creators of ‘Ice Age’ and ‘Rio’”

It is possible to atrophy your discernment engine after observing too many hyped up environmental messages intended to inculcate youth into “go-green” mentality. I do hope to not lose sight of that engine so that I may point out the indoctrination to potential onlookers. I also hope not to miss value where commendation is due. We are, after-all swimming in green stuff, these days. Other than “The Hobbit,” when’s the last time you saw a cartoon or any children’s film for that matter, that wasn’t oriented around some green/animal-lover/environmental theme? I am not enough of an expert on the history of animation to say where it started. “Fern Gully” comes to mind. Salt that with some Peter Pan and pepper it with “Pocahontas,” add some impressive up-to-date visual effects and very high quality audio engineering—you’d hardly have to bake it—and it would be “epic”, lower case.

I’m dizzy with repetition, with typicality in story, and this story’s got it. Minus my criticisms and musings this film has a story line with no heartbeat, more a bump on a log. This flat contour is what you get sometimes when you’re preaching a sermon; in this case, the sermon is enviro-gospel—the bad news of the forest that we must save. Void of content—it preaches a pulpit-free, faceless message, proclaiming “feeling over knowledge” (their words, not mine) wrapped in “Avatar” like graphics—a second cousin on its mother earth side, I believe.

So “nicey” is the sword fighting as to be appropriate for the youngest ones. The dialog is equally flat—but it must be, because children cannot be indoctrinated on images alone. The movie does have a lot of death imagery, due to this battle against he who would destroy Mother Nature, but it is still fairly gentle. Ninety-five percent of it is guaranteed not to scare the littlest ones—there is one part where a living bird turns to skeleton, potentially disturbing, but it passes quickly. Circling bats, skulls of dead animals—those are your potentially frightening images. They are not on the level that would stir apprehension for parents with children over seven, in my opinion.

This movie has a goddess upon whom the entire forest relies, her spirituality is earthly, relating to what grows things, to life. Who doesn’t like life over death? For other content: Who won’t take a mended relationship over a stifled one? We have the chivalry of a handsome helping hand, contrasted with a dopey hero who mostly happens upon success like a drunk falling on a large pile of cash. [Side thought: How often are our heroes “the dopey and yet fortunate” these days?] We have a sassy but kind, misunderstood teenage girl—and mother is gone from the picture, which follows yet another typicality that goes something like this—“you cannot learn life until the parents are moved out of the way.” Ring a bell?

(The following is entirely tongue in cheek.) This film got the father right. I mean, he’s nerdy and much to be disrespected, but he’s right in the end. Who wouldn’t want that? A “right” father in a Hollywood movie? And what’s he right about? Oh yes—he’s right about the battle for the forest. He’s right about spending his life chasing all that is good and green. Father was removed from the main character’s life long before the film began. He comes back. I believe the father represents something other than himself. His presence is thin and his character is put to good green use. Family as a topic is somewhat lifted up, it’s apparent that mother has died, and there is some mending to take place. Yes, family is somewhat lifted up, in a rather twisted way, with little to no presence of the father until now and the death of mother. When will we as Christians learn that our message, without the whole message, is not the message at all? Family is a worthy topic, but yours truly is not fooled by the placating.

In the end, this movie has some entertainment value. It’s colorful; some of the graphics on the water are very advanced and quite pretty. There is nothing very violent or disturbing among the battles, which is respectable for a children’s film. There is no foul language of any sort. There is a romantic kiss among the unmarried, it is short and sweet. There is nothing lewd, little to nothing even bordering on crude; it’s very clean. It is lightly humorous. It is not, overall, visually stunning, but has some nice visuals to offer.

Lastly, and comprehensively speaking, the strongest underlying characteristic, the most drawing or intriguing aspect of the film is its environmental message—full of goddesses and little green men. My opinion, for those young enough to enjoy its simple entertainment value—I would not expose them to it due to its environmental indoctrinations, for those old enough to see through the indoctrinations, most of the entertainment value is masked in simple, childish fairy-tale with an unfulfilling plot.

Violence: Moderate to heavy (for genre) / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor

FOR KIDS—What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer

FOR PARENTS—EARTH’S ENVIRONMENT—Should Christians be concerned about the environment? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—A fun family movie. If your kids can handle Bambi and Peter Pan, they can handle this. Funny, well done, engaging. It could easily have descended into “treehugging” territory, with the baaad humans poisoning the gooood forest, but it didn’t; the bad guys are essentially anthropomorphized tree blighters that can cause botanical tumors. Also, rats and bats. Dad is portrayed overall in a positive light, another plus. The only PC-ism was the brief presence of women “warriors,” thankfully not as major players. Also, perhaps that the forest realm is a matriarchy, but not much is made of that. Enjoy!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jeremy Klein, age 58 (USA)
Positive—This movie was very fun to watch in the way that “Rise of the Guardians” was fun. The adults laughed, as well as the kids, though not because there was adult humor thrown in (there wasn’t), but just because the normal humor was well-done. The only thing that bothered me was a slug made some blusterous threats and mocked another character, but not in a way that would negatively affect most kids (you’ll hear worse insults on a pre-school playground).

The movie portrays a “little people” race whose queen helps the forest grow, and an opposing race who destroys it (think “Ferngully,” but with more “epic” battle action, and the bad guys this time aren’t humans). This is your basic good-versus-evil movie set in a fantasy forest setting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rachel, age 24 (USA)
Positive—I took my two sons and their friend to see this movie recently. It was a lot of fun! I kept looking over and watching their faces during the movie. They were smiling, laughing, and totally captivated for the whole movie. And so was I. It was so great to watch a clean, fun, adventure with my kids. The animation was spectacular, and the characters were endearing. It was beautifully creative and fun to watch. This will definitely go down as one of our favorite summer movies.

As far as the themes on nature… I think there was a lot of material there for parents to teach kids a lot about God’s nature and how He cares for us. There were examples of sacrificial love, bravery, appreciating your parents, good leadership, not giving up, faith, and appreciating and caring for the beauty that God has made. God’s word says He cares for the lilies of the field, and the sparrow, and how much more does He care for all of us!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tara, age 42 (USA)
Positive—Our family went to the theater and watched Epic. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, it was a little “Fern Gully” -ish… but it was enjoyed entirely by our six year old girl and eight year old boy. There were no “adult” innuendos, which I personally detest in “children's” movies… can’t recall any bad language at all. The scary parts, my daughter got in my lap a couple of times, but she wasn’t really scared… and afterward she said it wasn’t scary at all.

And as for us (mommy and daddy), we enjoyed it as much as our kids did! We didn’t go into this movie expecting anything great, but we were highly entertained by good clean fun. We looked no deeper than that. We recommend it!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Laura, age 38 (USA)
Positive—I thought “Epic” was a decent film. I do not think anything New Age was shown in this movie. At one point, a flower girl wishes to use mind abilities, but it is shown to be physically natural for their kind, rather than occult. I also like how MK bonds with her (seemingly) eccentric father. Overall, I thought it was a decent movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Peter, age 23 (USA)
Positive—This movie was adorable! If you enjoyed “Peter Pan” and “Tangled,” this is one you will enjoy. Me, my sisters and my 2 year old nephew went to see this movie and we were very pleased. I, being a young adult, actually found this movie to be entertaining. I can understand a Christian’s precaution to the mystical realm of entertainment, and we should be watchful- although this movie gave no indications of anything remotely demonic or mocking towards Christianity. It is simply a movie that feeds a child’s imagination, which is no different than any other kids movie. I highly recommend it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Rachael, age 20 (USA)
Positive—When there’s no foul language in a movie, and there’s no naughtiness, I’m good. I feel it’s safe enough to take my grandchildren to this movie. Something I consider when I see a movie is—since I’m a saved woman who knows the Lord Jesus as her personal Savior—I know that He’s with me wherever I go. So if I figure if I can sit through a movie and not be ashamed knowing God is with me, because He is in my heart, I’m content. Nothing really wrong with this movie. At first I don’t like the smartaleck girl, but I do like that she changes her tune after awhile. That’s rather normal for all children at that age. Thank the Lord they don’t stay that age forever. LOL
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Grandma24, age 52 (USA)
Positive—When my 20-year-old son took me to this film, I was frankly expecting something like “Fern Gully,” which I detested. But this film simply used the forest genre to teach how tribal warfare operates. I couldn’t help think this movie might be an allegory. The two tribes fight to have the bud (destined to be the womb for the new princess) grow up in their own land, either light or dark. God wants all babies to be born into the light: families that know God, worship Him and try their best to live His way of life. But so many are born into other families.… how sad for God!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jim, age 60 (USA)
Positive—I found it refreshing to see a movie that I felt uplifted the values of honor and family without being lightweight. Nod was a very typical modern youth suffering from the absence of a father, and, thanks to someone stepping in and refusing to give up on him, learned what really mattered in the end—albeit the hard way. Ronin was a man of honor and courage, bound by his word and truly servant-hearted.

As for MK and her dad, I was pleased to see a floundering-to-broken father-daughter relationship restored, and a dad who ultimately chose his family over his dreams. Realistically imperfect, I thought. And MK learned to love her dad and not judge. Everywhere you looked you saw the value of family upheld, which is incredible for modern America. The loss of family was the primary cause of the characters” conflict, and the restoration of it the key to their success.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jessica, age 25 (USA)
Positive—Epic is a fun movie that children, including my 18 year old boy who tells me he isn’t a teen but an adult, liked very much. So my 8Adult liked it. I was bored, as was my wife, but there were good points. It had enough good points to justify seeing it, especially at the dollar theater.

It did have an obvious save the forest ring to it. I don’t mind green films. I suppose we should be more careful. What I disagree with I ignore just like any film with a message I take exception to. The action was exciting. The humor was humorous most of the time. The ending was positive. The villain was bad, though they made him a somewhat loving father, and the good guy was completely good, eventually.

I can’t give the morality an Excellent because of the sexy talking snail and the Goddess of the forest. Why does Hollywood keep turning us toward paganism and running away from God?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Chris, age 47 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Okay, but kind of boring. Most adults will probably be bored with this movie. And I LOVE animated movies; they are my favorite; so that comes from someone that really enjoys animated movies. The graphics were good, probably something kids would enjoy; but I fell asleep! Wish I would have seen something else.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Samantha, age 38 (USA)
Negative
Negative—Aside from the bland action oriented plot, the story is complete new age/mother earth mumbo jumbo. Nature is shown as harmonious (as if there were no curse upon nature as Genesis 3 tells us) except when evil creatures try to destroy the forest and trees (their motive is never quite clear, except that don’t seem to believe we are “all part of a single tree”).

I am actually rather glad that the movie itself was not particularly good, so that people will not be as motivated to see this film. Imagine a Biblical world-view where nature is under a curse and only through Christ can man and nature be restored to Eden? That is a movie they will never make, but what a movie it would be!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Dr. D., age 46 (USA)
Negative—This movie is not for young children. The evil king’s appearance is demonic, and he plays a big role in the movie. I told my children (4 and 6) to cover their eyes but, the movie went back and forth showing good and evil so much that I should have turned it off at the beginning. Our culture including Christians has become desensitized to evil movies, TV, illustrations in books even for children but, it is not okay. Opening the door to evil, is not only a sin but, allows the demonic realm to come into our homes. We have a responsibility before God to have wisdom when picking movies and pick ones that don’t cross the line over into the demonic.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kristin L., age 42 (USA)
Comments from young people
Neutral—I do believe there is such a thing as reading too deeply into things. This movie, “Epic,” I’ll admit, does not contain a very exciting plot, but I was not offended by anything in it. As a Christian, I can still sit back and appreciate pure fantasy to a certain extent. There is nothing sinful in desiring to care of the earth, but it’s the pantheistic teachings often thrown along with the “Go Green” movement that are wrong. Overall, I thought “Epic” was clean and refreshing, and perhaps a good conversation starter for a family, as well.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Emily Rose “emshemie,” age 15 (USA)
Neutral—Nothing new here, just a sit-back and relax feel-good family film! Having said that, there were a few frightening creature scenes that may possibly scare toddlers…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Emshemie, age 15 (USA)

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