Blue Sky has successfully carved out a niche for itself as a studio that specializes in light-hearted, family-friendly entertainment, with the Ice Age films, Robots, Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!, and Rio. However, despite the sizable box office returns for its previous productions, the studio is generally regarded as a third-tier animation house (behind Disney/Pixar, and DreamWorks).
Pixar has branched out into the princess fairy tale sub-genre with Brave (read our review); similarly, DreamWorks will return to the fantasy-adventure realm this fall, with Rise of the Guardians (based on William Joyce's novel). Blue Sky is going to get in on the fantasy trend next year, with Epic - an adaptation of another book written by Joyce, titled "The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs" - overseen by Ice Age and Robots director Chris Wedge.
Epic revolves around Mary Katherine (voice of Amanda Seyfried), a teenager who is magically transported into a secret fantasy world populated by miniature beings who ride hummingbirds, talking slugs, and other enchanted creatures living in the deep forest. Mary joins up with "a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters," in order to battle forces of evil that threaten the very existence of this mystical world (and ours, as it turns out).
The Epic cast (no pun intended) is rounded out by Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), Colin Ferrell (Total Recall), Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation), Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses), and singer/actress Beyoncé Knowles, among others.
Based on the trailer: the animation in Epic marks a pleasant change-of-pace from the comparatively cartoonish style favored in the Ice Age series (and especially Rio). Epic will probably be compared to Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, based on the similarities in their basic premise; still, the former appears to be more of a pure fantasy tale - and less an environmental parable (a la Ferngully). Moreover, the writers behind Epic have the established mythology of Joyce's novel to draw inspiration from.
Speaking of which: Epic was scripted by an eclectic mix of writing talent, including, Daniel Shere (George Lucas in Love) and James V. Hart (Hook, Contact), along with writing duo Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember (Failure to Launch, Get Smart). Make what you will of that resume - and how it bodes for the storytelling in Epic.
Epic opens in theaters around the U.S. on May 17th, 2013.
Source: Good Morning America