on 18 January 2014
EPIC 3D  [Deluxe Limited Edition] [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray + Digital HD] [US Import] From the Makers of Ice Age! Extraordinary! A Magical and Wondrous Movie for Everyone!
From the creators of 'Ice Age' comes the year's funniest, most exhilarating animated adventure! Transported to a magical world, a teenager [Amanda Seyfried] is recruited by a nature spirit, Queen Tara [Beyoncé Knowles], to help the "Leafmen" save their forest from evil warriors. The whole family will love this fast-paced thrill-ride, with its astonishing animation and an all-star voice cast that includes the voices of Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O'Dowd, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, and Beyoncé Knowles. Danny Elfman composed the original music for the film, which was released on 28th May, 2013 by Sony Classics. Beyoncé performed and co-wrote with Sia the original song, entitled "Rise Up."
FILM FACT: Annie Awards 2014 Nominations: Animated Effects in an Animated Production for Alen Lai, David Quirus, Diego Garzon Sanchez and Ilan Gabai. Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production for Thom Roberts. Directing in an Animated Feature Production for Chris Wedge. Music in an Animated Feature Production for Danny Elfman. Production Design in an Animated Feature Production for Michael Knapp, Greg Couch and William Joyce. Casting Society of America Awards 2013 Nominations: Outstanding Achievement in Casting for Animation Feature for Christian Kaplan. Motion Picture Sound Editors 2014 Won: Best Sound Editing in an Animated Feature Film for Randy Thom and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle. Producers Guild of America Award 2014 Nominated: Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Picture for Jerry Davis and Lori Forte.
Voice Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O'Dowd, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Beyoncé Knowles, Blake Anderson, Allison Bills, Jim Conroy, John DiMaggio, Troy Evans, James Fricchioni, Judah Friedlander, Helen Hong, Kelly Keaton, Emma Kenney, Kyle Kinane, Anthony Lumia, Todd Cummings, Malikha Mallette, Joe Massingill, Edie Mirman, Rosa Salazar, Allison Webber and Thomas F. Wilson
Director: Chris Wedge
Producers: Jerry Davis and Lori Forte
Screenplay: Daniel Shere, James V. Hart, William Joyce, Matt Ember and Tom J. Astle
Composer: Danny Elfman
Cinematography: Renato Falcão
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Croatian: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Czech: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Slovak: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Slovenian: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Croatian, Czech, Slovak and Slovenian
Running Time: 103 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 3
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Blue Sky Studios
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Am I the only one that's sad about DreamWorks leaving Paramount behind as a distributing partner and making the transition over to Fox? Fox hasn't had a very good track record with animation, so this move really had me worried, that is until now. 'EPIC' isn't on par with PIXAR or DreamWorks type of quality, but it's a step in the right direction and a much stronger effort than other Fox-distributed films.
Mary Katherine [Amanda Seyfried], known as M.K., who is named after William Joyce's deceased daughter, is in a hard period in her life. The animation film opens shortly after her mother's funeral. Not quite old enough to be on her own, she is moving in with her father [Jason Sudeikis], who she hasn't seen in years. M.K.'s parents divorced long ago, a major source of the marital problems being her dad's obsession with his scientific work. Sadly, nothing has changed. He still places 100 percent of his efforts in proving that tiny people exist within the forest. He believes that these small people, known as "Leafmen" who serve as the guardians of nature. Of course, we quickly learn that he's correct, that the "Leafmen" are in a constant battle against equally tiny bad guys called "Boggins" who promote rot and decay.
Shortly after M.K. arrives at her father's home, the lore of the forest is explained to us. You see, forests have always thrived because a powerful fairy queen [Beyoncé] carries "the spirit of the forest." Every so many years, she passes that spirit along to another being. The day that M.K. arrives just-so-happens to be the day that the queen is going to pass along the spirit. As the "Leafmen" assist the queen, the Boggin army attacks and thwarts their plans, trying to steal the spirit of life and corrupting it with rot. As M.K. wanders through the forest, she stumbles upon the queen and gets pulled into their worldand shrunken down and everything. With the help of the head of the Leafmen [Colin Farrell] and a cute young "Leafmen" soldier [Josh Hutcherson], M.K. must restore a healthy balance to the forest and put a stop to the "Boggins" decay before it can destroy the entire forest.
There are plenty of wordy serious moments, but they're intermingled with good fun. Just to keep the kids entertained, there are even silly childish moments, especially those with the slug and snail [Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd]. A good amount of comedy is infused for the parental audiences. Here's to hoping that this upward trend of light-heartedness and humour continues and that DreamWorks has a positive influence on Fox. By the way, as a sort of protest, I here and now declare that I hate and detest Chris O'Dowd, as I think he is the most worst, horrible and stupid actor to ever be on this planet and I wish he was banished forever.
Although the script is a bit hit and miss, at least the voice cast carries the film right along. The surprise performance comes from Josh Hutcherson, who is rather boring in his live-action film roles, but his vocal performance in 'Epic' is easily the best thing that he's done so far. Seyfried, Beyoncé, Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd are solid. Colin Farrell is very good. And a few other surprise performances come from Steven Tyler and Christoph Waltz. Of course Christoph Waltz's unmistakable voice is lent to the villainous head "Boggin." 2013 was loaded with lots of animated family films, but none of them have been amazing, but to me 'EPIC' is one of the year's better 3D animation film.
Blu-ray Video Quality – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has given us the 3D Blu-ray in a three-disc and five-format release. Fox has given 'EPIC' an absolutely flawless 3D 1080p awesome encoded image in a equally awesome 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Animation is always the best format for 3D Blu-rays and 'EPIC' is no exception and looks even more stunning, than when I saw this 3D release in the cinema. 'EPIC' doesn't use gimmicky 3D of forcing images off the screen, which is rare for a 3D animation film. Instead, it pushes the world of the film deep beyond the face of the television, as if the borders of the screen are the framing of a window. The world created is visually appealing, appearing like the images of fantasies in the mind of a child. Taking place in large settings, there are layers upon layers of material that extend the picture far into the background. From dust particles floating through the foreground to the blowing trees of the background, the distance between the two is an infinite playing field for the action of the film. There is never a lack of depth. The filmmakers ensured that objects are constantly placed in all areas of this setting. While some films make you forget that you are watching a 3D film, but with 'EPIC,' the amazing environments are subconscious realistic. I appreciate the amount of detail that 'EPIC' was given. The lighting of the forest gives the picture a warm and glowing softness that carries a stark contrast with the lifeless world of the "Boggins." No matter which of the two settings we're in, fine details are visible. Be it hairs on a bee's body, leafy patterns, rough bark or oily bird feathers, textures and fine features can always be seen. The animation film is so strong that it leaves no room for banding or aliasing. Colours are so vibrant that when we see the grey result of the "Boggins" decay, the gravity of their rot carries a strong emphasis. Black levels are deep and rich without removing the fantastic fine details. After watching the film twice, once in 3D and once in 2D, I cannot find a single fault with the impressive picture quality.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – I love that more and more studios are starting to go with 7.1 audio. Fox has given 'EPIC' an awesome 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio treatments. Just as much love was put into the audio mix as the video quality. From the very opening scene, the amazing dynamics of the audio mix become evident. Set mostly in forests, environmental sounds of cicadas, birds and bugs are layered throughout the channels. The sounds of a breeze blowing through leaves of a tree create an imaging effect that allows you to follow the direction of the wind. Other sounds, such as soaring arrows or passing bats and birds, also show off the strength of imaging. All speakers are constantly lit up with these great examples of environmental effects mixing. The vocal tracks are absolutely clean and clear. Large crowd scenes offer background banter that emits from all channels. Music also plays perfectly. Be it Steven Tyler's in-movie song, Beyoncé Knowles's closing credits track or Danny Elfman's score, the music is a great-sounding spacer-filler.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: Please note that all Special Features are contained on the 2D Blu-ray disc, but aside from the "Sneak Peeks" they are all HD exclusives.
Special Feature: Birds, Bugs and Slugs: Forest Explorer  [1080p] [2.40:1] [5:21] Serving as a miniature nature documentary, this feature briefly teaches children about some of the real life creatures and plants featured in 'EPIC.'
Special Feature: Rot Rocks  [1080p] [2.40:1] [3:18] The villainous threat in 'EPIC' is decay, but this documentary explains how the act of rotting is a beneficial part of nature.
Special Feature: Bugs of Camouflage  [1080p] [2.40:1] [3:44] Take a look at some of nature's very best bugs at blending in and surviving.
Special Feature: The 'EPIC' Life at 2 Inches  [1080p] [2.40:1] [3:42] Here is a special feature made for adults! This brief video scientifically explains how the human body would function at a height of two inches. Who knows how factual this information is, but it's definitely interesting.
Special Feature: Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed  [1080p] [2.40:1] [24:39] Broken into seven chapters and viewable as a "play all" feature. This feature dives into the making of the film. While the documentary supported the film's content, this one breaks down the film and how it came to be especially the characters, the story, the animation, etc.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [2.40:1] [2:12] Like the film, this film trailer is very well crafted.
Sneak Peeks [1080p] [10:55] To watch all of the trailers, they are only available via the 2D Blu-ray disc, plus as well as a commercial for Team Energy Star and the trailers for 'Turbo,' 'Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness' and 'Dragons: Riders of Berk.'
Finally, because the trailers for 'EPIC' made it out to be a mish-mash of other family films, I literally expected nothing from it when I popped in the Blu-ray disc. Much to my surprise, I found it to be quite enjoyable and much better than the most of this summer's other family films and enjoyed it from beginning to end. The story of 'EPIC' isn't the most unique, but it also isn't without its creative charm. The 3D Blu-ray set includes every possible digital format of the film [3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy and Ultraviolet] and it also comes with extracurricular family entertainment. A packet containing two sets of easy-to-grow seeds is included, but I have no idea why they included this, as to me it was a wasted addition, but I suppose if you have a garden, then you will think it a good bonus. The flawless audio and video qualities of the 3D Blu-ray are just another reason this set is a worthy purchase. Most of the special features are directed towards mainly children, but there's a decent 25-minute making-of for the adults also. So all in all this is an amazing Blu-ray packaged and had a totally entertaining awesome experience and again the 3D was also totally awesome and made you feel you was in the actual forest and I am so proud it has been added to my 3D Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom