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New Children’s Film ‘Epic’ Promotes Same Universalist Theme

Diminishes importance of individuals for a collective good.

Families looking for a children’s movie this Memorial Weekend don’t have many options. “Epic,” a new film out on May 24, is one of the few. At the surface, this seemed like a sweet movie about estranged daughter M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) reconnecting with her distracted father (Jason Sudeikis). At the core, however, was a more subtle, New Age-y universalist theme.

Viewers are introduced to an alternative universe of little people that dwell and protect the forest. Queen Tara (Beyoncé Knowles) is about to pick a new heir to her throne in order to continue to protect the forest from the evil Boggans, whose sole purpose is to destroy and kill the forest.

During the ceremony for Tara to pick her new heir, the Boggans attack and Ronin (Colin Farrell), the head of the Leafmen who protect the Queen and the forest, intervenes and tries to rescue her. His attempt fails, and Tara dies – but as she is dying, she shrinks M.K. and brings her into the Forest world to help protect the heir and save the forest.

After Tara’s death, Ronin reflects on it and tells M.K. that everyone is connected. “We’re all individuals, but we’re all connected.” Ah yes, universalism made simple.

Overall, the movie is simplistic and rather boring. The plot moves slowly and is painfully predictable. The critics weren’t fans of “Epic,” either. The Chicago Tribune referred to the plot as a recycled mix of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and the 1992 environmental cartoon “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.” The Wrap called the movie a “pre-school” version of James Cameron’s film “Avatar” which also has strong universalist themes. Variety concluded that the film did not live up to its title because “Epic” is “one of the last words most viewers would use to describe the film.”