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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
Cast:
Kal Penn, Adam Campbell, Jennifer Coolidge, Jayma Mays, Faune A. Chambers, Crispin Glover, Tony Cox, Héctor Jiménez, Darrell Hammond, Carmen Electra, Fred Willard
Writing Credits:
Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Tagline:
We Know It's Big. We Measured.

Synopsis:
A movie of epic proportions, Epic Movie centers on four unrelated orphans: One raised by a curator at the Louvre, another a refugee from a Mexican "libre" wrestling camp, the third a recent victim of snakes on her plane, and the fourth a "normal" resident of a mutant "X-community." The hapless quartet visits a chocolate factory, where they stumble into an enchanted wardrobe that transports them to the land of Gnarnia. There they meet a flamboyant pirate captain and the earnest students of wizardry - and join forces with, among others, a wise-but-horny lion to defeat the evil White Bitch of Gnarnia.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$18.612 million on 2801 screens.
Domestic Gross
$39.666 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 5/22/2007

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
• “Breaking Wind: An Epic Journey Into the Sounds of Epic Movie
• “How Gratuitous” Interactive Feature
• “Everyone Loves Beaver: Epic Hook-Ups” Featurette
• “Making the Video: Lazy Pirate Day” Featurette
• Outtakes
• Alternate Ending
• “Epic Porn – What Would Your Porno Movie Be Called?” Featurette
• “What Makes Aslo So Irresistible?” Featurette
• “Hot or Not: Character Turn Ons and Turn Offs” Featurette
• “Making a Spoof” Featurette
• “In Character With Fred Willard” Featurette
• “Die Libre: The Winning Short from the Epic Movie Viral Video Contest”
Reno 911!: Miami Trailer
• Easter Egg


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Epic Movie: Unrated (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 23, 2007)

Since I hate all the ”Insert the Blank” Movie parodies, why do I continue to watch them? I dunno – a combination of perverse curiosity, masochism and self-righteousness, I suppose. To some degree, I feel compelled to view them to see if they ever manage to stimulate any form of amusement in me.

Today’s subject: 2007’s Epic Movie, a spoof of fantasy, action and adventure flicks. This one brings together four orphans: Lucy (Jayma Mays), Edward (Kal Penn), Susan (Faune Chambers), and Peter (Adam Campbell). Each wins a golden ticket to visit Willy’s (Crispin Glover) candy factory. Though they expect this will be a delightful adventure, instead it turns into a nightmare.

When the kids try to hide from Willy, Lucy discovers a magical cabinet that transports her to the world of Gnarnia. She meets a faun named Mr. Tumnus (Hector Jimenez) who tells her that the Evil White Bitch (Jennifer Coolidge) plans to use a weapon of mass destruction against the residents. She wants any humans who come into the realm turned over to her, but Tumnus likes Lucy too much to betray her.

Edward happens into Gnarnia and actually meets the EWB. She promises to make him king if he lures the other humans into Gnarnia. The rest of the flick follows the “adventures” – with many a cinematic/pop culture reference along the way.

Here’s the closest thing to praise you’ll find in this review: Epic Movie is better than 2006’s Date Movie from the same folks. However, that definitely falls into the category of faint praise. Epic sucks, but not to the same shocking, overwhelming degree as Date.

For a parody to work, it needs to take an existing concept and offer a clever twist on it. This doesn’t happen at any point during Epic. Instead, it usually just lifts sequences from the films that inspire it and redoes them with very minor alterations.

How the filmmakers avoid plagiarism lawsuits is beyond me. Many parts of Epic almost literally duplicate their predecessors. The film makes very small changes to them and passes this off as parody.

The flick doesn’t even bother to attempt any form of quirkiness. For instance, a Borat-style character occasionally pops up and throws out catchphrases from that flick. Couldn’t they have integrated the part in a less obvious way? Do something - anything - that shows a person with more than a 75 IQ worked on this thing. Again, this is just recognition humor. There’s nothing intelligent or insightful on display; we just get a very basic reference and are expected to find it funny.

The film actively goes out of its way to avoid any form of subtlety. When it refers to The Da Vinci Code, it doesn’t just spoof that effort. To make sure we get the gag, we see a painting of Tom Hanks and Lucy shows us a copy of the book-on-tape. The reference itself isn’t good, but the way the character labels the material makes it even less effective.

Not a single moment of cleverness occurs. They just recycle the names of characters from Narnia - expect for the perplexing change of “Edmund” to “Edward” - and don’t even attempt actual parody. Non-movie references – such as those to MTV’s Cribs and Punk’d - stink from the start, but the fact they go on forever means that they become worse.

Even when the flick attempts different character names, they lack wit. Does anyone think that “Evil White Bitch” and “Harry Beaver” are funny? I don’t see how anyone could find amusement in these efforts.

Thematically, Epic makes little sense. Date also referred to movies that didn’t fit the stated genre, but Epic goes way off the charts in that regard. The title doesn’t fit the flicks spoofed, as few are actually “epics”. Fantasy Movie would have been more logical, since most of the targets fall into that regard; even superhero efforts like the X-Men and Superman pictures can be seen that way. This doesn’t mean that Borat, Nacho Libre and some of the others fit, though. Should we expect coherence and logic from a lazy film like this? Probably not, but some thematic consistency would be nice instead of Epic’s simple “flavor of the week” approach.

Did 12-year-olds write this thing? That’s the level of inspiration seen here, as the gags are consistently juvenile and idiotic. Nasty body function gags and slapstick dominate. These never seem remotely clever or witty; they’re just there to fill time and solicit cheap laughs. Has any other movie ever included so many “hit in the nuts” jokes?

Basically we find scads of gross-out jokes mixed with barely altered lifts from other films. That coalesces to make arguably the worst studio flick I’ve seen in quite a while. Ugly, stupid and painfully unfunny, movies just don’t get much worse than this.

By the way, if you compare my notes above to my review for Date Movie, you’ll find that I basically just duplicated my comments from the earlier flick. If the filmmakers can’t do anything other than the same old crap, then why should I bother to waste my time with a fresh review?

Note that this DVD offers an unrated version of Epic, and it actually delivers on content that would have definitely made it an “R”. We get much more profanity than expected in a “PG-13” movie, and a babe clad in a bikini during the theatrical version displays full-frontal nudity here. There’s also a topless woman in bed with Aslo; I don’t know if the same shots appeared in the theatrical edition. No one bothered to “unrate” the bloopers in the end credits, though; they still beep out profanity.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

Epic Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Expect a virtual repeat of the Date Movie transfer from this acceptable but unspectacular effort.

Sharpness generally seemed good, but not always. Some wide shots displayed moderate softness, though those occurred fairly rarely. For the most part, the movie appeared acceptably crisp and well defined. Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no concerns, but I did notice edge enhancement on occasion. Print flaws seemed non-existent.

Colors often looked good, as the movie featured a nicely broad palette of bright and vibrant hues. However, the tones occasionally seemed a bit pale. At times the colors came across as somewhat thin. Black levels appeared deep and dense, however, and shadow detail was appropriately dark but not too thick. Ultimately, Epic Movie looked reasonably good much of the time, but I thought the DVD suffered from a few too many problems for a brand-new offering.

On the other hand, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Epic Movie offered a pretty involving effort. All of the action sequences brought the five channels to life. These presented good localization of elements and blended together nicely. The material spread out the spectrum and made this an active, involving setting much of the time.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech sounded distinct and natural, and I encountered no concerns related to intelligibility or edginess. Effects appeared clean and accurate, and they showed reasonable depth when necessary. Music also demonstrated good dynamics, with bright highs and rich bass. Overall, the audio of Epic Movie supported the material acceptably well.

Though Epic includes lots of extras, don’t expect many of them to be worthwhile. We start with an audio commentary from writers/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. They provide plenty of filmmaking details – all of which are lies. Yup, this is one of those comedy commentaries in which the participants offer up fake facts, most of them about sex or bodily functions.

Often I criticize commentaries for dead air, but here, I prayed for empty spots. But no, Friedberg and Seltzer kept up their deadpan shtick from the beginning to the end, with barely a pause for air. While it shows more wit and intelligence than the movie itself, it never actually amuses. Instead, it turns into a long, tedious exercise in pointlessness.

Another audio program comes to us with Breaking Wind: An Epic Journey Into the Sounds of an Epic Movie. This redoes some of the effects work for the film, which means that it adds lots of belches and farts. To my amazement, this gross-out version of Epic is even more painful to watch than the regular cut. It’s an idiotic extra – why did anyone waste their time making it?

For an interactive feature, we find How Gratuitous. If you activate this component, a beaver icon will occasionally appear onscreen during the flick. Press “enter” when this occurs to see outtakes of the movie’s scantily clad babes. These follow the music video model and offer modest titillation. Note that the nude woman in the cabinet comes in a bikini here; I’d assume those shots were used for the “PG-13” theatrical version.

A collection of Outtakes goes for three minutes, 39 seconds and presents the standard assortment of bloopers. An Alternate Ending lasts one minute, 32 seconds. It brings back Willy for a bookend that proves no more – or less – satisfying than the conclusion in the actual flick.

A series of featurettes follow. Everyone Loves Beaver: Epic Hook-Ups runs four minutes, 18 seconds as it presents movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We get notes from actors Adam Campbell, Faune Chambers, Fred Willard, Hector Jiminez, Kal Penn, “Harry Beaver”, and Jayma Mays. They talk about all the “hot action” between folks on the set. It’s an attempt at comedy that falls far short of hilarity, so skip this waste of time.

Next we find the nine-minute and 34-second Making the Video: Lazy Pirate Day. It presents notes from Seltzer, Friedberg, Penn, producers Paul Schiff and Rod Liber, locations manager Craig Van Gundy, choreographer Stacy Walker, and actor Darrell Hammond. Finally – we get some actual information about parts of the production! We learn a little about the “Pirate” song and filming the video seen in the flick. The featurette provides a decent examination of the topics involved, though there’s an awful lot of happy talk – except for the ever-wacky Friedberg and Seltzer, as they stick with jokes as usual.

Epic Porn – What Would Your Porno Movie Be Called? lasts two minutes, 29 seconds and shows a fake ad for a faun sex chat line before some participants tell us what they’d call porn flicks that star their characters. We hear from Penn, Mays, Willard, and actors Carmen Electra and Kevin Hart. Actually, Electra tells us a little about getting made up as her character while the program occasionally cuts to lustful fake reaction shots from Campbell and Penn. This is another useless piece.

During the two-minute and eight-second What Makes Aslo So Irresistible?, we hear from Willard, Campbell, Mays, Chambers, and actors Tony Cox, Crispin Glover, and Jennifer Coolidge. Yup – it’s another joke featurette. We get comments about why Aslo is such a sexy beast. Nothing entertaining pops up here.

Another short clip arrives via Hot or Not: Character Turn Ons and Turn Offs. It goes for one minute, 44 seconds as it features “Harry Beaver”, Hart, Jiminez, Campbell, and Willard. Ugh – please save me from these inane attempts at comedy! This one wastes time and that’s it.

Now we go to the seven-minute and 18-second Making a Spoof featurette. Hosted by Willard, he initially just alludes to the movies being parodied while we see clips from Epic. Willard also makes jokes about “details” from the production. Since Willard is a charming personality, we get a couple laughs here, but this remains a less than stellar program that exists for promotional purposes.

More from the actor pops up via In Character With Fred Willard. It fills nine minutes, five seconds and comes from the same sessions that produced “Making”. Willard gives us a comedic look at his life and career. Again, it has nothing to do with the actual making of Epic, but Willard is entertaining enough to make it amusing. Actually, we find more wit here than during the 92 minutes of Epic.

For something unusual, we go to Die Libre: The Winning Short from the Epic Movie Viral Video Contest. The clip runs three minutes, one second

In addition to a Reno 911!: Miami trailer, we find at least one Easter Egg. On the main menu, click “up” from “Special Features” for a two-minute and 20-second featurette about Hart and his work. Mostly he jokes around about the flick. Note that no trailer for Epic appears here.

While I wouldn’t call Epic Movie the crummiest parody I’ve ever seen, it’s in the ballpark. Not a single laugh ever emanates from this tired, predictable, inane nonsense. The DVD presents erratic but generally good picture, strong audio and extras that do little to tell us about the production. This is a decent release for an atrocious movie. Avoid this disaster.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.3777 Stars Number of Votes: 45
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main