|In his own words, WTF?!|
One of the many prerequisites for a functional animated movie is a story that would hold up without animation. This is not to say that all live-action films are necessarily superior to animated ones, nor to insinuate that all stories are more suited to live-action than animation, but only to point out that bright colors and buoyant characters alone are hardly sufficient props to support a motion picture. Another basic rule governing animated and traditional movies alike is that they must retain even a semblance of logical coherency, no matter how fantastical their setting or incredible their heroics. Blue Sky Studios’ Epic violates both of these rules with ease and commits so many cinematic infractions on the side that it will tire all but the most impressionable of children. The reason why someone elected to tell a story of animated humans who live in animated homes next to an animated forest wherein dwell animated leaf people who ride animated hummingbirds and fight animated “boggons” is that the very idea of tiny nature people sharing the same planet with us lumbering, massive “stompers” is, for lack of a better word, a stupid premise, so stupid that it couldn’t possibly stand on its own without pretty CGI to mask all the faults behind its all too familiar plot. I was already predisposed to hate this pile of three-legged dog crap just because it’s another issue in a long series of anti-capitalist, man-hating kiddie propaganda, but the blatant Environmentalist undertones of Epic are surprisingly the least of its offenses – the greatest being that it’s just dumb.
|Really. Who was the ******* **** who thought this was a ******* good idea?|
cinematography camera work direction storyboarding is just as bland as the performances. Some animators have harnessed the freedom of digital software to simulate camera movements so sweeping and complex that they would be effectively impossible in real life. Exhibit A) of this kind is Dreamwork’s Kung Fu Panda, with How To Train Your Dragon trailing close behind; both films featured several spectacular tracking and spinning shots that wouldn’t be easily achievable with real camera gear. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have animators who deliberately try to minimize the impression of software upon their project’s cinematography. Surf’s Up cleverly satirized documentary filmmaking by mimicking the handheld camera bobs and jerks that permeate the genre, while Rango paid homage to spaghetti westerns with its emphasis on still shots, broad landscape profiles, and dramatic framing. Epic doesn’t faithfully observe either of these techniques, nor does it carve out a unique and interesting style to call its own other than a jarring preeminence of Anti-Physics. In a home invasion sequence initiated by mini M.K. and her new mini pals, the filmmakers repeatedly demonstrate the Theory of Sizeist Relativity, which holds that bigger things always move slower than smaller things regardless of their actual velocities in respect to a common point. So what if the dog by virtue of its superior strength and length of stride would easily outrun the tiny leaf people? Viewers don’t want to see a massive dog charge into its diminutive targets at high speed because that would be unexpected, and viewers generally buy tickets to see their expectations fulfilled, not to see realism. Hence the dog running in slow-motion while all the microscopic heroes flee at normal speed. Again we witness the controversial Theory in numerous conversations held between toads, caterpillars, fruit flies, and gastropods that are all animated at roughly the same height and width but pale in comparison to the towering, carnivorous mice which prowl the wilder regions of the woods.
“Hey, I have a little brother who’s retarded/squashed by a stomper. Don’t use that word in derogatory fashion.”
[A moment of awkward silence]
“I’m just kidding, I don’t have a retarded/squashed brother!”