Epic (2013 film)

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A young red-headed girl surrounded by a snail and slug, a fairy queen, fairy warriors, a toad and a goblin-like creature in a batskin cloak. In the background is a mountain surrounded by hummingbirds. The words "Epic" are at the bottom in gold.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChris Wedge
Produced by
  • Lori Forte
  • Jerry Davis
Screenplay by
Story by
  • William Joyce
  • James V. Hart
  • Chris Wedge
Based onThe Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs
by William Joyce
Music byDanny Elfman
CinematographyRenato Falcão
Edited byAndy Keir
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
Running time
102 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$93 million[2][3]
Box office$268.4 million[4]

Epic (stylized as epic) is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated action-adventure film based loosely on William Joyce's 1996 children's book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.[5][6] It was produced by Blue Sky Studios; written by William Joyce, James V. Hart, Daniel Shere, Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember; and directed by Chris Wedge, the director of the animated movies Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005). The film features the voices of Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O'Dowd, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, and Beyoncé Knowles.

Epic was released on May 24, 2013, by 20th Century Fox. It received generally mixed reviews from critics and grossed $268 million against its $93 million budget.


Seventeen-year-old Mary Katherine, or M.K., moves in with her eccentric scientist father Professor Bomba, who has been searching for tiny humanoid soldiers called Leafmen. They protect the forest that Bomba lives near from wicked creatures called Boggans and their malevolent leader Mandrake. An independent young soldier named Nod decides to quit, much to the ire of the no-nonsense Leafmen leader Ronin.

The fairy queen of the forest, Queen Tara, must choose an heir to her throne and goes out to a field of leaf pods on board her flying barge and escorted by the Royal guards, arriving at the field guarded by a laid-back slug named Mub and a wannabe Leafman snail named Grub. Immediately after she chooses a pod, the Boggans attack. Tara flees the area with the pod, and though flying Leafmen bodyguards do their best to protect her, they are soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of Boggans. Unable to reach the barge and the safety of the Guards, while being chased, Ronin arrives for her and the pair fly off on his hummingbird mount. They are then attacked by Mandrake and his son Dagda. Dagda is killed by Ronin, but the former shoots Tara beforehand.

Meanwhile, M.K. decides to leave after having an argument with Bomba about his research. Before she can leave, Bomba's dog Ozzy runs into the woods. While looking for Ozzy, M.K. sees Tara falling. Dying, Tara gives her the pod and uses her magic to shrink her. She tells M.K. to take the pod to Nim Galuu, a glowworm wizard, before she dies, and M.K. joins Ronin and the Leafmen, along with Mub and Grub. Ronin discovers that Nod has entered a race against other creatures and bugs on birds. Nod goes back on a deal with a short-tempered toad gangster named Bufo to throw the race. Before Bufo and his two henchmen can feed Nod to a snake, Ronin intervenes and orders them to leave. A reluctant Nod joins him, M.K., Mub, and Grub after hearing about Queen Tara's death, which Bufo overhears.

Ronin, Nod, M.K., Mub, and Grub eventually track down Nim Galuu. He then leads them down to the scroll library, 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 begin to fall in love. Meanwhile, Mandrake has had the Boggans bring Bufo to him, finding out the location of the pod. Mandrake goes to Nim Galuu's place to steal the pod, which, if it blooms in darkness, will help Mandrake destroy the forest. He takes the pod and kidnaps Mub and Grub. Ronin scolds Nod for not being there to protect the pod. 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 the Leafmen have deliberately been leading Bomba off their trail. Bomba sees that he has visitors and captures M.K., fainting when he sees her. M.K. marks the location of Moonhaven on a map Bomba has made of the forest before rejoining Nod and Ronin.

When they reach the Boggan land Ronin distracts the Boggans while M.K. and Nod rescue Mub, Grub, and the pod. Mandrake discovers them and orders 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 Moonhaven, Mandrake's bats block the light, causing the pod to begin sprouting in darkness. The Leafmen set out to fight the Boggans; M.K. tries to get help from her father by visiting his various cameras he had set in the forest. However, upon regaining consciousness, Bomba believes that he didn't really see M.K. and that he has been insane all these years, and shuts down all his cameras. He changes his mind when he sees the red push-pin that M.K. had put on his map.

Bomba is overjoyed to see that he has been right and he follows M.K. to Moonhaven. M.K. uses Bomba's iPod to make bat sounds, luring Mandrake's bats away. 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 the Boggans. Mandrake manages to outdo him, but is defended by Nod, who finally realizes the importance of teamwork. Before Mandrake can obtain his victory, the pod blooms in moonlight, defeating the Boggans, and sealing Mandrake into the burl of a nearby tree.

The chosen heir is the flower child who helped save Tara earlier in the film. Grub becomes a Leafman, Nod and Ronin reconcile, and Nod and M.K. kiss before M.K. is returned to her original size.

After reuniting with Bomba and becoming his assistant, the human family still keeps regular contact with their small friends as they continue the research of their world.

Voice cast[edit]


In 2006, it was reported that Chris Wedge would be directing an animated feature film based on William Joyce's book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs for Fox Animation. Joyce, who had already collaborated with Wedge as a designer and producer on the 2005 film Robots, was set to produce the film.[15] At one point, Wedge got permission to find a new home for the film and turned to Pixar, led by John Lasseter, a close friend that Wedge knew from working on Tron. When Pixar tried to close the rights for the film and start development, Fox changed their mind, and the film returned to Fox. The film was officially greenlit in 2009, under the title Leaf Men.[6] In May 2012, Fox announced the final title for the film (Epic) 3D-CGI its first cast details, and a plot.[7] According to Wedge, he was not satisfied with the renaming, which was decided by the marketing department. He also expressed dissatisfaction with subtitles given to the film in some non-English countries, including the French subtitle, The Battle of the Secret Kingdom.[16]

Although the film is based on and borrows many characters from Joyce's book, its plot has been significantly changed. Wedge explained: "[W]hile 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."[10]


The film was released publicly on May 16, 2013, in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Germany, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Switzerland.[17] The film was theatrically released in the United States on May 24, 2013.[10]

Box office[edit]

Produced on a budget of $93 million,[2][3] Epic grossed $107.5 million in North America, and $160.9 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $268.4 million.[4] In North America, the film earned $9.3 million on its opening day,[3] and opened to number four in its first weekend, with $33.5 million, behind Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III, and Star Trek Into Darkness.[18] In its second weekend, the film dropped to number five, grossing an additional $16.6 million.[19] In its third weekend, the film stayed at number five, grossing $11.9 million.[20] In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number seven, grossing $6.3 million.[21] While the film was overshadowed by other animated films that summer including Monsters University and Despicable Me 2, the film finished in third out of six family films that summer, and became a moderate box office success.[22]

Critical reception[edit]

Epic received generally mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 65% approval rating based on 127 reviews, with an average score of 5.85/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Though its narrative themes are all too familiar, Epic is beautifully animated and crafted with just enough flair to make for solid family entertainment."[23] Another review aggregation website, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 52 out of 100 based on 30 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[24] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an "A" grade on an A+-to-F scale, while specifically child audiences gave it an "A+" grade. [25]

Stephan Lee of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, saying "The story lacks the specialness of a Pixar movie—it retreads the same eco-battle archetypes as FernGully and Avatarbut it's a perfectly appealing explosion of color for a lazy summer day."[26] Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a mixed review, saying "Where the animated film comes up short is on the inspiration front—despite the intriguing terrain, its stock inhabitants lack the sort of unique personality traits that would prevent them from feeling overly familiar."[27] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two stars, saying "It's difficult to keep its story and characters, or even its visual design, in your mind's eye, in part because the five credited screenwriters overload the narrative with incident and threatening complication."[28] Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four, saying "It’s not that the plot of Epic is complex; it’s just untidy. There’s a lot going on that goes nowhere."[29] Moira Macdonald of The Seattle Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying "The story's simple enough to appeal to young kids (the 8-year-old with me pronounced the movie "awesome"), but adults will enjoy the beautiful animation, whether 3D or 2D."[30] Stephen Holden of The New York Times gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of five, saying "As beautiful as it is, Epic is fatally lacking in visceral momentum and dramatic edge."[31]

Home media[edit]

Epic was released on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on August 20, 2013.[32]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
Annie Awards[33] February 1, 2014 Animated Effects in an Animated Production Alen Lai, David Quirus, Diego Garzon Sanchez, and Ilan Gabai Nominated
Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production Thom Roberts Nominated
Directing in an Animated Feature Production Chris Wedge Nominated
Music in an Animated Feature Production Danny Elfman Nominated
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Michael Knapp, Greg Couch, and William Joyce Nominated
Black Reel Awards[34] 2014 Outstanding Voice Performance Beyoncé Knowles Nominated
Casting Society of America Awards[35] November 18, 2013 Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Animation Feature Christian Kaplan Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors[36][37][38] February 16, 2014 Best Sound Editing in an Animated Feature Film Randy Thom, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle Won
Producers Guild of America Award[39] January 19, 2014 Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Picture Jerry Davis, Lori Forte Nominated
Satellite Awards[40] February 23, 2014 Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards[41] February 12, 2014 Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Bomba (Thom Roberts, Haven Gordon Cousins, Tim Bower, Daniel Lima) Nominated
Mary Katherine (Jeff Gabor, Dylan C. Maxwell, Sang Jun Lee, Chris Pagoria) Nominated
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Pod Patch (Aaron Ross, Travis Price, Jake Panian, Antelmo Villarreal) Nominated
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Boggan Crowds (Thierry Dervieux-Lecocq, David Gatenby, Mark Adams, Matthew D. Simmons) Nominated
World Soundtrack Academy[42] October 25, 2013 Film Composer of the Year Danny Elfman also for Frankenweenie, Hitchcock, Oz the Great and Powerful, Promised Land, and Silver Linings Playbook Nominated


Epic: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
ReleasedMay 28, 2013
LabelSony Classics
Danny Elfman film scores chronology
Oz the Great and Powerful
Epic: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
American Hustle

Danny Elfman composed the original music for the film, which was released on May 28, 2013 by Sony Classics.[43][44] Beyoncé performed and co-wrote with Sia an original song, titled "Rise Up."[45] The song was released as a digital single[46] and as part of the digital version of the soundtrack.[47][48] This is the first time that a film produced by Blue Sky Studios has not been scored by John Powell since the first Ice Age installment, which was composed by David Newman.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "EPIC (U)". British Board of Film Classification. May 1, 2013. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Oldham, Stuart (May 24, 2013). "UPDATE: 'Fast and Furious 6′ Racing Towards $35 Million Friday, $100 Million Four-Day Weekend; 'Hangover' and 'Epic' Eye $50 Million". Variety. Retrieved May 25, 2013. ...along with Fox-Blue Sky Animation’s $93 million family film, "Epic,"...
  3. ^ a b c Finke, Nikki (May 25, 2013). "$317M Record-Breaking Memorial Weekend! #1 'Fast & Furious 6′ $317M Global For Franchise Biggest; 'Hangover III' $82.2M; 'Epic' $86.6M". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 24, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013. Fox claims cost was $93M for this Chris Wedge-directed animated actioner
  4. ^ a b "Epic (2013)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. June 2, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  5. ^ Kilday, Gregg; Giardina, Carolyn (January 3, 2014). "Roundtable: 5 Top Animators on the Good and Bad of Celebrity Voices and Creative Input From Their Own Kids". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Fleming, Michael (August 23, 2009). "Wedge turns over new 'Leaf' at Fox". Variety. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Fleming, Mike (May 31, 2012). "Beyonce, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Steven Tyler Lead Voice Cast For Fox Animated Film 'Epic'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Blue Sky Studios breaks new grounds in the animated spectacle 'Epic (3D)'". Philstar. April 15, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  9. ^ Desowitz, Bill (May 16, 2013). "Immersed in Movies: Chris Wedge Gets 'Epic'". Animation Scoop. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Wloszczyna, Susan (November 18, 2012). "Sneak peek: 'Epic' action in a small world". USA Today. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  11. ^ http://www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/germany/culture/article/christoph-waltz-actor.html
  12. ^ Trumbore, Dave (March 21, 2013). "EPIC Behind-the-Scenes Preview with Director Chris Wedge Reveals a Battle Between Life and Decay in a Magical Hidden World Right Beneath Our Noses". Collider.com. Retrieved October 5, 2014. ...Mandrake (Christoph Waltz, who will also be voicing the German version of his character).
  13. ^ Wedge, Chris (Director) (May 24, 2013). Epic (Motion picture). United States: 20th Century Fox. Event occurs at 1:37:11.
  14. ^ Twentieth Century Fox (May 31, 2012). "Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios Announce EPIC Casting" (Press release). Business Wire. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  15. ^ Ball, Ryan (August 23, 2006). "Fox Falls for Joyce's Leaf Men". Animation Magazine. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
  16. ^ Nbu (October 8, 2013). "(INTERVIEW) A PROPOS D'EPIC AVEC CHRIS WEDGE" (in French). Focus on Animation. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  17. ^ EpicINTL Release Dates in Facebook. "Epic - INTL Release Dates". Facebook. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  18. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for May 24-26, 2013". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  19. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for May 31-June 2, 2013". Box Office Mojo. June 2, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  20. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for June 7-9, 2013". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  21. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for June 14-16, 2013". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  22. ^ "Summer 2013 Family Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  23. ^ "Epic (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. August 20, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  24. ^ "Epic Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  25. ^ McClintock, Pamela (May 27, 2013). "Box Office Report: 'Fast 6' Earns $122 Million-Plus, Runs 'Hangover III' Off Course". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  26. ^ Lee, Stephan (May 22, 2013). "Epic Movie Review Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  27. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael (May 17, 2013). "Epic Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  28. ^ Phillips, Michael (May 23, 2013). "'Epic' can't see the forest for the plot". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  29. ^ Smith, Kyle (May 23, 2013). "Do not go out on a limb for 'Epic'". New York Post. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  30. ^ Macdonald, Moira (May 23, 2013). "'Epic': Wee warriors in a grand adventure". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  31. ^ Holden, Stephen (May 23, 2013). "Tiny Folk in a Big War of Good Versus Evil". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  32. ^ "Epic Officially Announced". Blu-ray.com. August 23, 2013. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  33. ^ "Annie Awards 2014: Complete list of winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. December 2, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  34. ^ "The Blac REEL Awards 2004 nominees". allthatsfab. Retrieved December 19, 2009.
  35. ^ Weisman, Jon (August 19, 2013). "Artios Awards: Casting Society 2013 Nominees Revealed". Variety. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  36. ^ "UPDATE: Motion Picture Sound Editors Unveil Full List Of Golden Reel Nominees". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. January 15, 2014. Archived from the original on January 29, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  37. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (February 17, 2014). "2014 MPSE Golden Reel Awards winners". HitFix. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  38. ^ "Complete list of 2014 Golden Reel award winners". Los Angeles Times. February 16, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  39. ^ "Nominations for Theatrical Motion Picture, Animated Theatrical Motion Picture and Long-Form TV" (Press release). Producers Guild of America. January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  40. ^ International Press Academy (December 2, 2013). "The International Press Academy Announces Nominations For The 18th Annual Satellite Awards™" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  41. ^ Pond, Steve (January 14, 2014). "'Gravity' Soars in Visual Effects Society Nominations". The Wrap. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  42. ^ "World Soundtrack Academy announces 2013 nominees" (Press release). World Soundtrack Academy. August 16, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  43. ^ "'Epic' Soundtrack Details". Film Music Reporter. May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  44. ^ "Epic (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Amazon.com. September 9, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  45. ^ 20th Century Fox Film (May 6, 2013). "Beyoncé Creates Original Song "RISE UP" for the Upcoming Motion Picture EPIC" (Press release). Business Wire. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  46. ^ "Rise Up". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  47. ^ "Epic (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  48. ^ "Epic (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 5, 2013.

External links[edit]