Although not deserving of its title - either its actual meaning or its more contemporary take - Epic does more than enough to entertain the kids. Kids who haven't seen Fern Gully, that is.
The names of the characters have escaped me so I'm going to go with who they look like in real life: Saoirse Ronan (Seyfried) is a teenager who is shrunk down Rick Moranis-style into a secret universe of nymphs and fairies when she is given a flower by the dying forest queen (Beyoncé). The flower, she's told, must blossom in light so the forest will endure but if the evil Mandrake (Waltz) and his minions get hold of it, the forest will succumb to darkness. Joining up with Branislav Ivanovic (Farrell), the captain of the Leaf Men, so heroic he has the chin to prove it, and recent Leaf Men outcast Robert Pattinson (Josh Hutcherson), Saoirse strives to keep the flower out of Mandrake's grasp...
Okay, let's get the Fern Gully comparisons out of the way now. It's a bit Arthur And The Minimoys too. And A Bug's Life. It's a bit of everything, to be honest, but I'm a fiend for this micro universe lark and was on board from the get-go; Epic's brisk pace, the grand battles and swooping through trees combined help to distract from the nagging familiarities. The dry Farrell delivery is an issue, however. Farrell's voice, which just isn't animated enough, doesn't fit with the character and it's hard not to picture him in the studio booth alternating his lines with sips of coffee. Waltz, on the other hand, could read Oliver Jeffers and make it spooky. And Chris O'Dowd's snail makes with every laugh asked of him.
Who decided that the only way to depict HUGE on screen is to shoot them in slow motion? This isn't a fault of Epic's - it seems to be the default style for everyone (Frank Darabont opted for slo-mo for his six-legged giant thing in The Mist) and it's problematic when the HUGE things come in contact with the tiny things, like when Saoirse, in real time, has to escape the house dog, giving chase in slo-mo. It looks silly.
Grumblings aside, the 3D is fun and there's enough danger to be had to keep the little tykes excited.