A charming tale set to clean up at the cinema

Epic featuring the voices of Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Beyonce Knowles and Steven Tyler. PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Epic featuring the voices of Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Beyonce Knowles and Steven Tyler. PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

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Based on the children’s book The Leaf Men And The Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce, Epic is a charming fable.

It could, with clever parental persuasion, inspire the youngest generation to swap their video games for an invigorating spot of housework.

Chris Wedge’s vibrant computer-animated film reveals a long-standing feud between tiny eco-warriors called Leaf Men, who protect Mother Nature and are invisible to humans, and an army of evil-doers called Boggans, who are armed to the sharpened teeth with infectious mould.

Directed at a brisk pace by Wedge, who previously helmed Ice Age, Epic is a journey of discovery that will inspire pangs of nostalgia for parents who fondly remember the 1989 Disney romp Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.

The 3D format is employed to startling effect during airborne chases, the camera swooping under and over branches at dizzying speed.

Vocal performances are almost as lively as the pristine animation, including some pantomime villainy from two-time Oscar winner Waltz, while Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd provide welcome light relief.