Though it has changed in its approach over the years, the blockbuster is a Hollywood staple. A zeitgeist capturing tome of attitudes, styles and much more. With heavy promotional campaigns rendering them recognisable to most of the public. Much like the romantic comedies did for Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer previous feature, they struck comedic gold in trying to recreate hilariously the sprawling action-adventure flicks of the decade. In 2007, Friedberg and Seltzer created a film that certainly lives up to the challenge of its name, a film known as Epic Movie.
After getting ahold of mysterious golden tickets. Four orphans Lucy, an adoptive daughter of a museum curator; Edward, a monk apprentice who dreams of wrestling; Suzan, who just survived a snakes on a plane style escapade; and Peter, a mutant chicken man from the mutant academy. The golden ticket allows the group to tour Willy’s chocolate factory. However, after learning of Willy’s nefarious purposes, they quickly hide inside a wardrobe, one that is a portal to another dimension. Inside the wardrobe, they meet Mr Tumnus, who acts as their guide on an ancient prophecy, one that foretold that they would all meet up together and help this land by tracking down and killing The White Bitch of Gnarnia, on an adventure that is sure to be epic.
Like in Willy Wonka, our orphans have introductory vignettes, yet here they are movie parodies. Mostly drawing from the action-packed blockbusters of the time, with films like Snakes on a Plane, Nacho Libre, among others. They are entertaining enough that those with only a passing knowledge of the films can have a good time. I had forgotten about some films they skewered but was instantly reminded upon re-watching. But that is not the only time that the blockbusters get spoofed. The plot of the Lion witch and the Wardrobe does help provide an overarching blanket for the gags. If you never knew you wanted a Mr Tumnus version of Scarface, you certainly will now. Friedberg and Seltzer manage to work in at least one film reference in every scene.
Some Date Movie alumni make a return, more than willing to go to the same lengths as they did before. It is great seeing the likes of Adam Campbell and Carmen Electra return. But newcomers, such as future White House Associate Director Kal Penn are also willing to go to great lengths for the gags. Much of Date Movies humour returns here, so if you laughed yourself silly before, you will probably do so here. Meta movie jokes like the Potter cast being too old to play their roles, are abundant, offering excuses for bigger names to get in on the action with the likes of Darrel Hammond as Captain Jack, and the return of the late great Fred Willard, and Kevin McDonald as an aged Harry Potter. Those who carry on with Friedberg and Seltzer’s work will see the signature hallmarks beginning to emerge here.
Epic Movie lives up to its name in all the right places, the cultural jabs get wider, the gags goofier, and the films they spoof equally so. There is a lot to enjoy when the gang of newcomers, famous faces and returning stars get stuck in. Despite the name Epic Movie, the duo of Friedberg and Seltzer go beyond to super-size our expectations.
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