Greetings, fellow stompers.
That’s the name they have for us, stompers. And if you can’t see or can’t hear those who call us that, don’t blame Epic, the clever new animated film based on William Joyce’s children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.
To complement its parallel stories filled with various themes, Epic delivers some gorgeous animation along with a consistent supply of in-your-face action sequences specially formulated for 3-D. It also includes some of the standard elements of G- or PG-rated animation, such as a goofy canine sidekick and a pair of wisecracking second bananas (here, a snail, Grub, voiced by Chris O’Dowd, and a slug, Mub, voiced by Aziz Ansari). But Epic covers a serious subject, one that demands attention without driving away a possible younger audience.
In the two stories that head for one epic confrontation, young stomper Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) goes to visit her father, a scientist discredited because of his research into the possibility of a advanced society of little people that we, the stompers, cannot see. But in the little world, they have troubles of their own.
The Leaf Men of the forest guard their Queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles), the possessor of the magic bulb that gives perpetual new life to the forest. Her love and protector, Ronin (Colin Farrell), prepares to face off against the deadly People of the Rot, the evil meanies who can take away the magic and kill the forest’s living organisms. Their leader, Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), exudes a rotting charm.
Before long, Mary Katherine somehow becomes a little person, fighting alongside her new love Nod (Josh Hutcherson), flying on birds, and making friends with snails and slugs. Director Chris Wedge deftly choreographs these various elements, introducing themes of environmentalism and universal connectedness along with a spirit of regeneration.
But even the full plate of messages does not bog down what is essentially an adventure story, filled with colorful palettes and charming creatures, even if some of them are stompers.
Rated PG, 102 minutes.