My family and I went to see the movie `Epic' this morning. We didn't really know anything except that it was about tiny people, the cinema was showing it really cheap, and after such a rough couple weeks a movie seemed like a good idea.
I loved it. (And I'm going to talk about it here, so if you don't want to risk spoilers now would be the time to bail.)
First off, the graphics were stunning. Someone put a huge amount of thought into what a society of tiny people would be like -not just the ascetics but also the underlying logic of the world. They made a war between what are basically flower fairies and the fairies of fungi believable. That's hard to do.
Second, the characters are easy to relate to. Even the villain has some humanizing touches, which shocked me in the best way. I was expecting a Redwall villain -scary with no redeeming qualities. It was nice to know even evil fungi fairies care about their family. And the comic reliefs managed to be funny without being annoying, which was another pleasant surprise.
The heart of the story is parent/child relationships. The heroine is a human girl who has just come to live with her absent-minded-professor father. She thinks he's delusional because he believes in tiny people who have an advanced society somewhere in the forest. After a falling out with him, she gets shrunk and has to go on a quest to help the leaf-men (what they call the flower fairies' army. The tiny people are never CALLED flower fairies, but some of the graphics are obviously based on the Victorian flower people). It's the only way to regain her regular size so she can reconcile with her dad, who thinks she's run away from home.
The male lead is an immature leaf man who doesn't want to be part of the army. His commander raised him when his father died in battle, and both of them have a hard time separating their working relationship from their personal relationship. The fact that the commander hates admitting that he has personal relationships doesn't exactly help.
It's amazing how many really good CG animation movies are out there: Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon, The Incredibles, Megamind, and now Epic. I was around for the Golden Age of Disney, when The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Rescuers Down Under, and Beauty and the Beast all came out one after the other. It's kind of like that again -as if the storytellers in Hollywood suddenly remembered, `hey, we don't have to talk down to kids! We can create interesting characters and amazing stories!'
I just hope it lasts.