Opening 16 May 2013
Writing credits: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, James V. Hart, William Joyce, Daniel Shere
Principal actors: Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Amanda Seyfried, Beyoncé Knowles, Josh Hutcherson
Bugs are good. Because if they are there, so are you. It all comes down to a hidden life-and-death struggle going on in the forests. And caterpillars, bumble bees and even slugs belong with the good guys, the Leafmen. They are little warriors protecting the forest from the Boggans, who bring death and decay to everything they touch. Long has Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis) suspected about this secret population, but so far, he could prove nothing. Now his teenage daughter MK (Amanda Seyfried) is coming to live with him. Not wanting to put up with her father’s obsession with the little people, she decides to leave again. But her crazy dog leads her right to the Leafmen’s Queen Tara (Beyoncé Knowles), mother of the forest. The queen was supposed to pass a life-giving magic pod to her successor at a ceremony this very night. Being deathly injured by the Boggans, she assigns MK to deliver the pod to the ceremony safely. MK now shrinks to the size of the Leafmen and teams up with their commanding officer Ronin (Colin Farrell), the rookie Leafman Nod (Josh Hutcherson), the snail Grub (Chris O'Dowd) and the slug Mub (Aziz Ansari). Needless to say that the evil head of the Boggans, Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), will do everything in his power to deter them and let the rot win.
“If our world dies, your world will die too” is not just an eco-message in this animated adventure from the makers of Ice Age. The Leafmen’s values go far beyond that. Nod and MK live the classic hero’s journey in which they learn that there are “many leaves, but one tree”, since the Leafmen’s society has a place for everybody and no one is left alone. Visually and dramaturgically, we will encounter familiar elements from Star Wars, Alice in Wonderland and Lord of the Rings: Nod is a skilled bird racer and the Boggans are a mixture of Orks and vampires.
Personally, I had a good time trying to find out which actors the characters were modeled after. I could see some Ben Barnes in Nod and some Olivia Wilde and Kristen Stewart in MK. There are many funny moments and endearing secondary characters in the movie that will appeal to children and grown-ups alike, making this a **** movie. (Katia Trost)