I was really looking forward to the summer movie season ... until I realized a good chunk of the films are all action, all the time. Or just inexcusably bad. So when my mom suggested we take my two nephews to see children's flick Epic this weekend, I didn't expect much. Not only did the colorful production restore my hope in summer's crop of films, but bring me to tears (don't laugh!) and make me want to check out more kids movies even though I'm pushing 25.
The animated flick, which has a host of big name actors and celebrities that millennials adore (Beyonce, the incomparable Aziz Ansari, Bridesmaids actor Chris O'Dowd, SNL cast member Jason Sudeikis, Pitbull, Steven Tyler, Colin Farrell, Workaholics funnyman Blake Anderson, Amanda Seyfried, and Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson, to name a few), follows teenager Mary Katherine (M.K., voiced by Seyfried) as she moves in with her eccentric father in the woods. Having just lost her mother, M.K. is in a rough place emotionally, and it doesn't help that she has to live with the man who singlehandedly destroyed his marriage by obsessing over his theory that a colony of advanced tiny people reside in the woods.
M.K. thinks he's crazy, but when she shrinks to the size of a small person and sees for herself that the society of tiny folks is indeed real, she regrets ever questioning her father, who is really all she has ... then, at least. M.K. immediately befriends the Leafmen society, namely a rebellious but warm-hearted young man named Nod, who also understands the pain of losing a parent. It doesn't hurt that he saves her from a killer mouse without even really knowing her. Swoon!
After the Queen, portrayed by Beyonce, dies as the Leafmen battle the Boggans (read: the bad little guys of the woods), M.K. fights for good and sides with the Leafmen, all of which took her in after her unexpected transformation.
Epic is a classic good vs. evil story, but that's not what I enjoyed most about it. Like many teens, M.K. thinks her dad is kind of a nerd, but once their relationship is really at stake and she realizes she may never see him again, she realizes just how much she loves and misses him. Sure he's imperfect, but he's family, and he'd do anything for her, as shown when he decides to give up on his quest to track down the little people society because all that really matters is that he find his daughter. She's all he has too, aside from his weirdly energetic, old as dirt pug Ozzie.
I won't give away too much about the ending, but while it kind of threw me (and my 6-year-old nephew) off, it'll satisfy most millennials. Many of us complain that Disney and kids movies gave us unrealistic expectations about dating (i.e., Little Mermaid: Giving up everything, including your family, to be with a guy you've known for a few days, will lead to happily ever after) during childhood, but Epic changes the game on that one. It highlights the importance of family, rooting for the good guys, friendship, maintaining friendship when conditions change and people have no choice but to go in different directions, and forgiveness.
As earlier stated, I don't want to spoil anything, but I do like the way Epic concludes, and it will show kids that they don't need to follow in the footsteps of Ariel or other Disney princesses to get their happy ending. This is what the next generation needs, and to be honest, millennials could benefit from it as well. So go see this movie, if anything because Aziz Ansari is the greatest comedian ever and totally worth a trip to the theater.
What do you think about the film and/or trailers? Let me know on Twitter: @LauraDonovanUA