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Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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Epic Blu-ray Review

epic-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Disc and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Epic-BD_01

William Joyce’s book The Leaf Men is brought to life with some success by director Chris Wedge (Robots) and the folks at Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age). A journey through the basics of most children’s fantasies and faerie tales, Epic is a Lilliputlian adventure with elements of Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, and even Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, itself brought to the screen by Studio Ghibli and in live action form directed by Peter Hewitt.

Immensely likeable and well-rounder Amanda Seyfried voices M.K., a late-teen reunite with her estranged father, an eccentric scientist who’s spent his life and entire career convinced that the forest is filled with tiny people and woodland creatures living on a separate plain. It has ruined both his career and his marriage, and now it threatens to ruin his second chance at a relationship with M.K., who is just about to leave, thinking her father really is nuts, when out of the sky falls Queen Tara (Benyoncé Knowles).

The dying queen is responsible for protecting the forest and passing on her powers to a new heir, a chosen bud that will help the forest continue to flourish. A war has sprung up amongst the tiny Leaf Men and the nefarious Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), whose people thrive on rot, wants to stop the bud from blooming under the light of the full moon. Queen Tara, in her last breath, passes the bud off to M.K. And this act also shrinks the teen down to the minuscule size of the Leaf Men. She’s now caught up in the world of these people her father always knew existed and must help them save the forest. Queen Tara’s personal guard, Ronin (Colin Farrell) along with his foster son Nod (Josh Hutcherson), an upstart who never wanted the responsibility of being in the royal guard, must help protect M.K. And the bud from Mandrake and his hordes, lest they allow rot and decay to spread throughout the forest.

Epic leans heavily towards adventure and action while skimming over the deeper parts of the storytelling, unlike the best of the films from Pixar and, occasionally, DreamWorks. Parents’ eyes may begins to glaze over at the somewhat endless barrage of children’s cliches and fast-paced chase sequences, wondering why a more in-depth handling of M.K.’s relationship with her dad wasn’t handled, or even the father/son dynamic between Ronin and Nod seems so typically confrontational.

Never the less, with the gorgeously animated characters and the spot-on voice acting, especially Seyfried and Farrell, the film offers up enough adventure and good times, and eye candy to be well worth watching for families.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Epic-BD_02

The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement is every bit as crisp, clean, and textured as one would expect a CG production like this to be. The images leap from the screen, the picture is clear, and colors are vibrant.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Epic-BD_03

We get a magnificent English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack that is natural-sounding, offers a wide breadth of dynamics, and lots of activity in the surround channels. Your room will be abuzz with the flutter of birds on the wing, bees buzzing, and arrows flitting through the air. Dialogue is clear and the low end offers a solid underpinning to the action.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Epic-BD_04

We get a set of featurettes that explore the real-world creatures in the forest these characters are based on, the production of the film, and more.

The supplements:

  • DVD
  • iTunes Digital Copy & UltraViolet
  • Birds, Bugs and Slugs: Forest Explorer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:21)
  • Rot Rocks (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:18)
  • Bugs of Camouflage (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:44)
  • The Epic Life at 2 Inches (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:42)
  • Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:24:39)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Epic-BD_05

Epic is a fanciful treat with glorious eye candy, strong voice acting, and familiar themes. The Blu-ray is a marvelous home theatre experience, especially the lossless 7.1 soundtrack which will set your living room on fire. It’s not a classic, but it’s a good time for the family.

Additional Screen Captures

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Hello again Brandon, I have checked my TV and player’s 3D playback capabilities, they both don’t seem to be against anaglyphic playback, the question is would a 3D player like the BD FM59 accept anaglyphic signals if it isn’t fully shutter ready? i know it doesn’t accept HD DVD, it doesn’t accept various others. it won’t do FS 3D DVD’s because these require a converter box like you said to use in a previous conversation we had. My 2D TV is a samsung 403-405, 3D player is the BD FM 59, would both units be capable of the anaglyphic style of playback since i have consulted my users manuals on both, and as you said future proofing the shutter titles (those that require being fully hooked up to a 3D TV with active glasses to view) is a good idea. now do you think an FM 59 would enhance an anaglyph presentation with the bad lenses, or what type of anaglyph glass would help these types of titles out a little better in playback. i know these types of movies are always a 2D feature and were never concieved in 3D (i can only use discs prior to Blu-Ray 3D, meaning the anaglyphs) and the converting strength is moderate to poor. i know i am promptly blocked from shutter use due to not being hooked up properly, i did find a real good tv on my own that’s 46″ from samsung with 2 Pairs of glasses with a player that i can sell off somewhere, and hook my own in. and a good deal at that as well at $775. i know only a small amount of anaglyphs exist and are quite hard to find, most have multiple other versions of themselves in the anaglyphic display format. Coraline is an example of this, i have had a hard time finding its very last combo, it was a Shutters/Anaglyph combo released in 2011.

    Should i split my time between Anaglpyhs (what display can read, will you answer if the FM 59 can decode these or not), Shutters (what i can not read currently) and 2D single disc or combo packs? is that a logical direction in building a disc library.

    Thank you for teaching me extensively about the format, and all that it does. I am grateful for your services and your time. Thanks for helping me to better understand my player and its functions. I am grateful you took time out and answered any questions i may have. I have learned a lot from you.

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