Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fox takes its shot at the animation crown with an Epic trailer.

Putting aside the unfortunate "comic relief" of Aziz Ansari's wisecracking slug, this looks quite promising.  The film looks gorgeous and there does seem to be an attempt to tell a mostly serious adventure story.  I missed the earlier, nearly wordless teaser from awhile back, but both previews use Snow Patrol's "What If the Storm Ends?" to rather powerful effect, similar to how well 20th Century Fox used Creed's "Higher" for their Titan A.E. campaign thirteen years ago.  I could do with a little less celebrity casting (Christoph Waltz is distracting as the heavy), but a female protagonist in a film like this is always a plus. Also a plus: Danny Elfman is doing the score.  What's curious is how much this feels like a Dreamworks film, in a good way of course.  For years every wise-cracking animal cartoon was accused of ripping off Dreamworks even as DWA made but a single such movie, Over the Hedge (arguably the best such film in that sub-genre), which came out right at the same time as the likes of Open Season, Barnyard: The Original Party Animals, and The Ant Bully.  This feels more like an attempt to capture the, well, epic adventure found in the Rise of the Guardians, How to Train Your Dragon, the Kung Fu Panda series, and Puss In Boots.  Still, say what you will about the diminishing creative returns for the Ice Age series, Rio was a genuinely entertaining and arguably original animated feature.  As I said a few weeks ago, the holes in Pixar's armor has allowed its competitors to come out in full force.  This seems to be Fox taking its best shot.  Epic opens May 24th, 2013.  As always, we'll see.

Scott Mendelson        

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