13 posts tagged Amanda Seyfried
We may already live in a world where Beyoncé reigns supreme, but imagine one where Beyoncé is queen of the forest, with dashing knights at her disposal and gawking plant creatures for fans. That should be enough to get you to see Epic, a fantastic animated film from the studio that brought us Ice Age: Blue Sky Studios. But if you’re still on the fence,I can assure you that Epic certainly lives up to its title. Full of breathtaking imagery, crazy detailed animation and boasting a phenomenal voice cast from the aforementioned Queen Bey and Colin Farrell to the always amazing Christoph Waltz, it’s a story that has a lot of heart, plenty of fun action and great humor. Rounding out the all-star cast are Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Jason Sudeikis, Aziz Ansari, Chris O’Dowd, Steven Tyler and Blake Anderson.
The story follows Mary Katherine, a teenage girl who comes to live with her estranged father after her parents’ separation. Her father has some interesting preoccupations, such as an obsessive fascination with forest creatures, whom he’s convinced include tiny people living in advanced civilizations. This drives Mary Katherine (or as she prefers, MK) crazy and she becomes increasingly frustrated with what she considers her father’s erratic aloofness. When she is suddenly shrunk down to bug size, MK discovers that everything she thought her father had imagined is actually real, from the small soldiers called Leaf Men to their saddle-laden hummingbird transports. When the forest kingdom finds itself under attack, MK realizes her father may be the best person to help her newfound friends.
From a technical standpoint this movie is ridiculously detailed from the design aesthetic to the adrenaline-pumped, large scale action sequences. It’s readily apparent that a lot of thought and care went into the making of the story. For example, in one scene the characters go deep into the trunk of a tree, where the tree rings house scrolls that represent the history of the forest - a library of memories, if you will. This reflects the detail-orientedness of the writers because they took something scientific like the real use of tree rings to determine the age of a tree and put a whimsical spin to it. The visuals are also quite phenomenal, really drawing viewers into this magical secret world. There were epic battles that would make Peter Jackson proud, and cool camera work that would certainly garner Zack Snyder’s stamp of approval.
The voice cast also really delivered, making the film even more entertaining. Colin Farrell could not have been better cast as the gallant Ronin, commander of the Leaf Men. If I am not mistaken, this is the first animated film he has lent his voice to and he did an excellent job. Amanda Seyfried was also really amazing as MK. She probably has one of the best-sounding voices for animation. Christoph Waltz was perfect as the villainous Mandrake. He injected a lot of swagger and sass, as he is prone to do, to his shadowy character. Last but not least, a lot of the comedic elements of the film were provided by the snail and slug duo Grub and Mub, voiced by Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd. Add to all this Danny Boyle’s fabulous score, which enhanced the charm and whimsy of the film.
While there were many scenes that were laugh-out loud funny, the film is still very emotion-driven. At the heart of this story is a theme of family, unity, teamwork and an enduring legacy of passing the torch. I’m a big believer that animated films are this generation’s fables, and I think Epic succeeds (like most other great animated movies) because it balances exciting adventure with a moral that resonates with audiences young and old. There’s the moving tale of a daughter reaching out to her estranged father, and one of a hidden kingdom of forest creatures working together to restore order and community in their wooded home. Best of all, Epic has a subtle but relevant message about the environment: while mother nature can largely take care of the Earth, sometimes she could use a hand. This message is certainly not as heavy-handed as the themes of Fern Gully, but it shines through in the portrayal of teamwork between humans and nature.
Epic is a great adventure to embark on with family and friends, featuring some brilliant animation, a solid story and an entertaining cast.
LES MISÉRABLES (2012)
It would be an understatement to say that attempting to adapt one of the most popular and longest running musicals of all time for the big screen is an incredibly daunting task, but Tom Hooper sure is the man for the job. The King’s Speech director approached the film adaptation of the much-loved musical in a way that married the best of what broadway has to offer with the magic and grandiosity of film. The power of theater is in its authenticity; with actors conveying emotions directly to an audience without the filters of editing and special effects that can sometimes distract from the genuineness of the material. The magic of cinema, on the other hand, is in its capacity to take something to an entirely new level in scale. Everything is bigger, bolder, and brighter, yet without entirely sacrificing the intimacy offered by broadway. With Les Mis, Hooper was able to offer audiences the best of both worlds, and he was extremely fortunate to be blessed with a marvelous and multitalented cast consisting of Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks, Aaron Tveit, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter, to name a few. Not only were these actors gifted with amazing voices, but their performances perfectly matched the evocative music and story.
Check out this behind the scenes peek into the making of Les Misérables, where the actors and director Tom Hooper talk about what sets this movie apart from all other musicals. It’s an interesting process described, allowing actors to record the songs live and having them dictate the terms of how the music will eventually sound. This process surely lends itself to translating a sense of authenticity, something I’ve personally found difficult to achieve with musicals in particular. I’m very excited for this film, and for those of you who hadn’t heard, its release has been moved to Christmas Day.
Olivia Wilde, Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried - Alpha Dog (2006) and In Time (2011)