Discover a world beyond your imagination
Dan Shere, Tom J. Astle & Matt Ember
Epic is a 3D computer animated fantasy-adventure comedy film based on William Joyce's children book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs. It is being produced by Blue Sky Studios, and directed by Chris Wedge, the director of Ice Age and Robots. It stars the voices of Beyoncé Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis and Steven Tyler. The film was released on May 24, 2013.
The film is described as a "battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and evil", and tells a story of a teenage girl who finds herself in a secret world, where she must help a team of fun and whimsical characters to save their world, which also saves the real world.
Following the death of her mother, Mary Katherine (a.k.a. M.K.) (Amanda Seyfried), a 17 year old teenager, moves in with her estranged and eccentric scientist father, Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), who has been searching for tiny human soldiers, about which M.K. is skeptical. She wants her father to stop his work. Unknown to the both of them, Bomba is right that there are tiny soldiers called Leafmen. They protect the forest Bomba lives near from evil creatures called Boggans, who shoot arrows that can kill any living thing, and their malevolent leader, Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), who plans to destroy the forest. An independent young soldier, Nod (Josh Hutcherson) decides to quit, much to the ire of the no-nonsense Leafmen leader, Ronin (Colin Farrell), who wants Nod to learn about teamwork.
The queen of the forest, Queen Tara (Beyoncé Knowles), who is aware of Ronin's apparent attraction to her, decides to choose an heir to her throne and goes out to a field of leaf pods, guarded by a laid-back slug named Mub (Aziz Ansari) and an uptight snail named Grub ((O'Dowd Chris O'Dowd). Tara chooses the smallest pod as the heir; however, immediately after doing so, the Boggans attack. Tara flees the area with the pod, and though her bodyguards do their best to protect her, they are soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of Boggans. Tara uses her magic to slow down her pursuers, and is at one point rescued by a flower child who idolizes her; eventually, Ronin arrives for her, and the pair fly off on Ronin's hummingbird mount. They are then attacked by Mandrake and his son and lead general, Dagda (Blake Anderson); Dagda is killed by Ronin, but Tara is shot by Mandrake, and falls off Ronin's bird into the forest.
Meanwhile, M.K., annoyed at her father, decides to leave and leaves a note on one of his security monitors. Before she can leave, her and Bomba's one-eyed, three-legged dog, Ozzie, runs into the woods. While looking for Ozzie, M.K. sees Tara falling. A dying Tara gives her the pod and uses her magic to shrink her. She tells M.K. to take the pod to a Glowworm named Nim Galuu (Steven Tyler) before she dies. After meeting Ronin and the Leafmen, along with Mub and Grub, a confused and scared M.K. joins them. Ronin discovers that Nod has entered a race against other creatures and bugs on birds. He goes back on a deal with a tough bullfrog named Bufo (Pitbull). Before Bufo and his gypsy moth and scorpionfly goons can kill Nod, Ronin intervenes and orders the goons to leave. A reluctant Nod joins him, M.K., Mub, and Grub after hearing about Tara's death.
They eventually find Nim Galuu, who is a showman and keeper of magic scrolls that tell what has occurred during the times, in a tree. After learning about Tara's death, he leads the group down to the scrolls, where M.K. discovers Tara's brief message before shrinking her, and a message that will get her back to normal size. When Ronin leaves, Nod takes M.K. on a deer ride and they fall in love. Mandrake (to whom Bufo fearfully reveals the location of the pod, which he overheard from Ronin and Nod) arrives and kidnaps Mub and Grub and imprisons them, along with the pod, which he hopes to bloom in darkness to destroy the forest. To get into Boggan territory undiscovered, M.K., Nod, and Ronin set out to Bomba's house to get some disguises, where M.K. learns that her father is what the Leafmen call a "stomper" and have been leading Bomba off their trail. After getting the disguises, Ozzie (who earlier returns to Bomba's house) sees M.K. and chases her, catching Bomba's attention. He sees the group and catches M.K., but faints after seeing her. Before leaving, M.K. marks where the Leafmen territory is on one of Bomba's maps with a red push-pin.
When they reach the Boggan land, which is a wasteland of dead trees, Ronin distracts the Boggans while M.K. and Nod rescue Mub, Grub, and the pod. They are eventually found out by Mandrake, who summons the Boggans to stop them. M.K., Nod, Mub, and Grub escape alive, but Ronin sacrifices himself to ensure their escape. Before the full moon can sprout the pod at Nim Galuu's place with moonlight, Mandrake's bats block the light, causing the pod to sprout in darkness. When the Leafmen set out to fight the Boggans (with Grub unsuccessfully joining them) M.K. sets out to get her father for assistance, but an exasperated Bomba, after regaining consciousness, decides to give up on what he has been doing to find his daughter and shuts off all his cameras, believing that he didn't really see M.K. and that he's been insane all his years, but changes his mind when he sees the push-pin in his map.
After locating M.K., Bomba is overjoyed to see that he has been right and when he follows M.K. to Moonhaven, he (with his daughter's persuasion) uses his iPod to make bat sounds, causing the bats to follow Bomba. Meanwhile, Mub and Nim Galuu try to stop Mandrake from reaching the pod, but are unsuccessful. Just then, Ronin appears, bearing scars and bruises from Boggans. Mandrake manages to outdo him, but Ronin is defended by Nod, who earlier finally understands the importance of teamwork. Before Mandrake can obtain his victory, the moonlight takes over the pod before it blooms in darkness, causing it to bloom in light and Mandrake gets sucked into a tree. It also heals the forest after much damage from the Boggans.
The chosen heir is the flower child who idolized and saved Tara earlier in the film. Grub becomes a Leafman, Nod and Ronin reconcile, and Nod and M.K. kiss and become a couple before M.K. is given back her original height by the new queen. After reuniting with Bomba and becoming his assistant, the reunited human family still keep regular contact with their new small friends as they continue the research of the world by their home.
- Beyoncé Knowles as Queen Tara, the Mother Nature-like queen of the forest
- Colin Farrell as Ronin, a seasoned Leafmen warrior
- Josh Hutcherson as Nod, the love interest of Mary.
- Amanda Seyfried as Mary Katherine, Professor Bomba's daughter
- Christoph Waltz as Mandrake, leader of the Boggans
- Aziz Ansari as Mub, a slug
- Pitbull as Bufo, a Toad dealer
- Jason Sudeikis as Professor Bomba, Mary Katherine's father
- Steven Tyler as Nim Galuu
- Blake Anderson as Dagda
- Judah Friedlander as Larry
- Chris O'Dowd as Grub, a snail
- M.K. (Mary Katherine) is named for author William Joyce's daughter who died of a brain tumor on 11 May 2010 when she was 18 years old.
- Over one million hours of work were put into the production of this film.
- Epic is the first Blue Sky Studios film to feature a female protagonist, as well as the first theatrical animated film produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox to feature one since Anastasia.
- Loosely based on William Joyce's children's book "The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs".
- Dr. Bomba's (M.K.'s father) house is based on Olana, in Hudson, NY, the home of landscape painter 'Frederic Edwin Church' (1826-1900).
- The Leafmen were modeled after the Samurai. Ronin is named after the term for a Samurai without a master.
- The piece of paper that is seen just before the scrolling part of the closing credits has the date, 5-24-13 written on it, which was also the Epic's release date.
- Johnny Knoxville was considered for the role for Mandrake,
- The theme song, "Rise Up" is performed and co-written by Beyoncé Knowles, whom provides the voice of Queen Tara.
- Epic is the first Blue Sky Studios film without title at beginning. Because of this, the only on-screen opening credits on this film are the 20th Century Fox logo and the Blue Sky Studios logo featuring Scrat from the Ice Age series.
- Epic is the fifth Blue Sky Studios film with no opening credits, after the Ice Age series.
- Epic is Blue Sky Studios' first longest film, with a running time of 1 hour and 42 minutes.
- Epic is the second Blue Sky Studios film to have a different score composer to the musical score, the first being the original Ice Age, second Robots.
- This is the 3rd Blue Sky Studios film to be directed by Chris Wedge.
- Epic was the first Blue Sky Studios film to be a soundtrack to not to be a soundtrack by Varèse Sarabande.
In 2006, it was reported that Chris Wedge will direct for Fox Animation an animated feature film based on the William Joyce's book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs. Joyce, who had already collaborated with Wedge as a designer and producer on the 2005 film Robots, was set to produce the film. At one point, Wedge got a permission to find a new home for the film and turned to Pixar, led by John Lasseter, whom Wedge knew from working on Tron. But when they tried to close the rights for the film, Fox changed their mind. The film was officially greenlit in 2009, under the title Leaf Men. In May 2012, Fox announced new title for the film - Epic, its first cast, and a plot, somewhat different from the book, where bugs summon the Leaf Men to help them defeat the evil Spider Queen and her goblins.
Although, the film is based on Joyce's The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, and it borrows many characters from the book, its plot has been significantly changed. Wedge explained: "But while Bill wrote a wonderful book, it is a quaint story. We wanted to make a gigantic action-adventure movie." To address online speculations about whether the film is similar to other films, like FernGully: The Last Rainforest or Avatar, Wedge said: "I hate to associate it with other movies. It is adventure on the scale of Star Wars. And it does immerse the audience completely in a world like Avatar. But it has its own personality."