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May 24th, 2013

Movie Review - EPIC


Starring: Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Beyoncé Knowles, Blake Anderson, Aziz Ansari, Chris O'Dowd, Steven Tyler, Jason Sudeikis, and more.

Directed by: Chris Wedge Story by: William Joyce, James V Hart, and Chris Wedge Screenplay by: James V Hart, William Joyce, Daniel Shere, Tom J Astle, Matt Ember Based on the book "The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs" by: William Joyce Cinematography by: Renato Falcão Music by: Danny Elfman

Premise: Moving to her father's house after her mother's death, Mary Katherine is disappointed to see he's still up to the same strange research that led her mother to leave him years before. Her father believes there's an advanced civilization of diminutive people living in the forest. So when it looks like the solstice, combined with a full moon, has her father running about even more than usual, MK decides the new arrangement isn't going to work after all. But when the three legged, one eyed pug, Ozzie runs off into the forest, MK goes after him, and stumbles into the middle of a battle of good versus evil. (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Thumbs Up: I've always enjoyed the work of Colin Farrell and Josh Hutcherson and their voice acting on this film was well done. Amanda Seyfried gave a great performance as the grieved and troubled MK. Christoph Waltz looked to have had some fun as Mandrake. Beyoncé Knowles came across as a great and wise queen. The comedy tag team of Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd definitely did a lot to amuse. Though some of the different accents thrown in at different places and not always consistently so did jar a little in places.

Of course one of the most fun characters in the film had no voice at all - Ozzie - the three legged, one eyed, old pug.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Blue Sky Studios did an awesome job with the look of the film. From the gorgeous hummingbirds to the wilting of plants, the detail was astounding. Seeing the leafs and plants used as clothes, flying boats, and moving doors made the world of the forest really come alive with wonder. The scenes of Queen Tara arriving at the small lake in her flying ship and then stepping on the lily pads were gorgeous.

Inversely, watching the rot arrows deform the tree limbs, wilt leaves, and other destruction were also quite impressive. Mandrake's home was the essence of decay.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Overall the plot of the film worked, but wasn't necessarily outstanding. There were a few small surprises, though not many. We barely got a glimpse into the culture of the Leaf Men and those they protect, or even the structure of life in the forest, which would have given the plot more depth and context. The whole side business of betting and fixed bird races didn't mesh well with what little the audience was shown of the culture. Even the problems with Nod seemed forced and without any real substance. Late in the film, we find where Nod lost his father, it made no sense why Ronin and Nod's dad would have been there in the first place and it was never discussed. (If anything, it lent a dark undertone to what the two might have been up to at the time.)

I found the use of Ronin's name rather odd. Since the Leaf Men obviously followed many oriental ideals in the way they fought and lived, the fact they would give their commander a name meaning 'masterless samurai' seemed strange. Though with what happens to the queen, perhaps it was apt.

Another odd point was a thread pursued in three different prongs - the act of loving someone yet there being obstacles keeping you apart and no solution ever becoming apparent - the queen and Ronin, Grub and MK, MK and Nod. It's rather a depressing theme and seemed out of place in what was advertised as a combination action and comedy animated film.

Conclusion: EPIC wasn't so epic. And its name if one of the worst for a film ever. The animation is totally well worth watching. The film definitely had its moments, but it won't have you running off to tell all your friends about it. With all the birds, Grub and Mud, and Ozzie, there might be enough there to entertain the younger kids.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Better For Matinee)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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