The stable that gave us the Ice Age series and Rio has produced a piece of computer cartoonery of EPIC (U: Twentieth Century Fox) proportions.
As well as being fun, fast-paced and fashionably ‘green’, the film has a voice cast to die for.
Amanda Seyfried is teenager MK (Mary Katherine, not the home of the concrete cows) who is shrunk to insect size and finds herself caught in a woodland war between the forces of light and decay.
When teeny forest queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles) succumbs, MK joins forces with a ‘Leafman’ warrior (Colin Farrell), a rebellious ‘Leafman’ youngster (Josh Hutcherson) and assorted oddballs, including Chris O’Dowd’s snail.
Their mission is to prevent a regenerative royal ‘pod’ from falling into the evil clutches of Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) and his blight brigade.
After a slow and sombre opening, Epic cleverly alternates between comic and scary scenes. The latter may be too much for younger, more sensitive souls, although overall it’s family friendly fare.
> Eric Bana’s superbly psychotic turn steals the show in chase thriller DEADFALL (15: Warner).
He and Olivia Wilde play sibling crooks on the run from a botched casino heist who decide to split up and head for the Canadian border.
She hitches a ride with an ex-con (Charlie Hunnam), who’s on his way home for Thanksgiving dinner with his estranged parents.
Meanwhile, a sheriff and his deputy, who also happen to be father and daughter, pursue Bana through a blizzard after he embarks on a murder spree, unaware he’s heading for the secluded farmhouse of an elderly couple awaiting the arrival of their son.
Family-conflict subplots are skilfully juggled, although the string of coincidences is a little contrived. Old hands Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek, as Hunnam’s parents, add gravitas to the proceedings.
> The idea behind sci-fi horror-shlocker SHARKNADO (15: Studio Canal) probably shouldn’t have made it off the back of a beer mat. But it has already been seized upon in social media circles because it’s so bad that it’s good.
All you need to know is that tornadoes off the coast of California fling a bloodthirsty school of sharks out of the sky and onto the streets of LA.
There are lots of screaming girls in bikinis, people get ravaged by sharks, an old woman takes a dramatic tumble into a pool, despite having been seated a safe distance from the edge, and a couple’s car still works after being fully submerged in water.
The special effects are laughable and the science behind the finale, involving bombs and high winds, is also highly questionable.
> A man (Aneurin Barnard) has severe agoraphobia after his pregnant wife is attacked by a gang of feral hoodies who steal babies and feast on the fear of their victims.
He’s left to raise their child alone in a rundown block of flats in CITADEL (15: Metrodome).
A priest (James Cosmo) warns him that the thugs responsible for his plight will return for the infant and the only way to save her is to take a stand against them on their own territory.
Despite being punchily edited, the film is lacking in depth and genuine dread, making it difficult to care about Barnard’s fate.