Today I took Matilda and my Mum to see Epic, an animated film by the same people that created Ice Age and Rio.

The plot revolves around a young woman returning to her childhood home and estranged father only to discover a magical realm of Leafmen and Bogarts waging a war in the forest out back. Now the first thing that struck me about this plot is that it is incredibly similar to that of the Spiderwick movie (and presumably the books, which I have not read). Similar right down to the dilapidated old house filled with clutter and surrounded by unkempt yards and wild woodlands. To be honest, it is kind of Spiderwick meets Tinkerbell, with some cool flight scenes (the good guys ride hummingbirds while the bad guys ride ravens and bats). There is a number of very cool battles with thousands of fairy-type creatures, and while there are deaths they are never lingered on for too long. The film moves at a good pace, with lots of dramatic landscapes and sweeping vistas, and the animation is fantastic.

There are a variety of odd characters, from hip-hop frogs (pun intended), to goofball slugs and snails, a magician caterpillar and all kinds of fairy creatures to keep young eyeballs and minds distracted. Matilda seemed entertained by them, and I thought Colin Farrell’s character, Ronin, was the stand-out amongst them. I would have loved to have seen his relationship with Tara the Fairy Queen (Beyonce Knowles) further developed. The barely-touched upon romance between Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) and Nod (Josh Hutcherson) was forced and unnecessary as it played no part in the plot.

Epic is an entertaining distraction for a lazy afternoon. Matilda enjoyed the film, and was genuinely excited throughout. For me though, this film was missing the multi-layered humour that Ice Age has, where kids can goggle at the sillyness, while the parents can chuckle at the wink-wink moments that are meant to sail over a child’s head. Your kids will enjoy it, but make sure you reward yourself with a return trip to the cinema for something of your own later own.