Epic Tails is a fun take on Greek mythology that’s perfect for kids. Talking animals take the lead as they sail the sea looking for hidden treasure.
Picture Moana meets an episode of Horrible Histories. Informative yet fun! But Epic Tails tries to be a little too complicated for its younger audiences, which it is primarily aimed at. A group of the cutest little animals you’ve ever seen are on a mission across the sea to find a sparky trident that’s hidden on a mysterious island that unfortunately, no one’s ever returned from. Along the way, there’s catchy musical numbers for kids to sing along to, as well as weird and dangerous animals that they must overcome. As a premise, Epic Tails is a super exciting feature fit for all the family. However, once you strip back the songs and the cute creatures, the storyline is hard to follow. You would be better off just watching Moana if you want fun songs at sea.
The main character, Pattie, who is a little mouse, is headstrong and wants everything she sets her mind on. Pattie dreams of leaving the island in which she resides on in order to live a better and fulfilling life. She buys a lottery ticket everyday with dreams of escaping, but she never ends up winning. Pattie was adopted by a large ginger cat, Sam, when she was younger, and they spend their days together on the island. Sam doesn’t approve of Pattie’s dreams of soaring the seven seas and instead tells her to live out her dreams without venturing into the water and beyond.
When the Greek Gods above become argumentative, Pattie and Sam, along with an array of different animals (including a peg leg Seagull), set off on an adventure of a lifetime to find a trident fit for the Gods. Zeus and Poseidon cause havoc along the animals route, dropping dangerous animals and Cyclopes galore in their path. Pattie and Sam must put their differences aside to fight whatever lands in their way. Will they return from the forbidden island? Or will they be stuck forever like all of their predecessors?
One thing I found unable to distract myself from was the dubbing. French production company TAT originally made Epic Tails in French, but for UK audiences, it has been dubbed over in English. The mouths of the animals just don’t line up (obviously) which was something I couldn’t take my eyes off of. For kids, this won’t be an issue. But if I wanted to hear Josh Widdecome’s voice I’d turn on Channel 4 for Last Leg. Widdecome and Rob Beckett, however, are fun recognisable voices as the Greek Gods so if you have little kids you want to take to the cinema to see Epic Tails, at least you’ll have fun hearing them talk as they are two of Britain’s best comedians.
I even had trouble following the story at times. At least with Moana (which, the more I think about it, is extremely similar) you know what’s happening. It was as if you were expected to know all of the stories of Zeus and Poseidon already. We all know their names but not all of us know who they are. If you wanted a lesson on Greek mythology, Horrible Histories would have been a better place to start.
One thing I found very funny within the narrative were the references to The Godfather. Little scary rats that lived on a derelict island kept referencing Marlon Brando’s famous Godfather line over and over. There were clearly some jokes put in for adults that would definitely go over kids heads. What five year old would know The Godfather? Nevertheless, it’s always great to be in a cinema full of mainly kids with their parents and the adults all laughing in sync whilst the kids look confused.
As a whole, Epic Tails isn’t a bad film. Yes, the narrative may be hard for kids to follow at times, but the animals are so cute even I want a plush toy of all of the characters. Pattie is a great role model for kids who are driven and want to be leaders and I can see girls around the world loving her character the most. If there was an option to watch the original French language version, I personally would, but I’m glad it’s still accessible for English audiences and especially kids who wouldn’t be able to read subtitles. Epic Tails is a must see for Moana fans, but don’t go in expecting something life changing. All you’ll leave the cinema thinking is “I wish I could have a toy of Pattie the mouse now”.
Epic Tails was released in UK cinemas on February 10, 2023, and will be available to watch on digital download from April 28 and on DVD from May 1.