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Western Animation / Epic (1984)

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Epic (also known as EPIC: Days of the Dinosaur) is an Australian animated fantasy film released in 1984 also written and directed by Yoram Gross. Like previous Gross' works like Dot and the Kangaroo, the film is notable for mixing live-action landscapes and scenery with animated characters.

The story is set in an unspecified distant past and it begins with two human babies surviving a great flood and get adopted by the King and Queen of the dingoes; the children named Sol and Luna when coming of age then embark on a quest for finding "The Secrets of Life" which will make them the new King and Queen of the dingoes.

Not to be confused with the identically titled animated film, Epic (2013).

This film provides examples of:

  • Agony of the Feet: The children drop rocks over the Spirit of Evil's feet and make it fall from a cliff.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The narrator begins their tale with an "In the beginning..." showing how the Earth and its landscapes were formed, then The Great Flood, and how the elemental spirits were still present on Earth; but the presence of contemporary Australian mammals, Aborigines, monsters and prehistoric creatures throws the exact time period into question.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The children's clothing is incredibly stripperific but none of their attributes are drawn.
  • Big Bad: The Spirit of Evil, who is shown causing the great flooding at the beginning and harasses the children on their quest.
  • Blow You Away: The power of the Spirit of Wind, which it uses to fight the disembodied Spirit of Evil in the sky.
  • Bowdlerise: The U.S. release cut over 10 minutes of footage from the film:
    • The original narrator and her scenes were cut and replaced by the voice of John Huston.
    • One scene at the beginning in which the dingoes feed the children the meat of a dead prey was cut.
    • In the original movie the children slay the T. rex by stabbing it through its throat, this was cut from the U.S. release.
    • The first battle between the children and the Spirit of Evil was considerably cut shorter on the U.S. version
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Implied Trope, it's never outright stated whether Sol and Luna are blood siblings or not, and the story ends with them transforming into dingoes and becoming their new king and queen, plus the parting words said by the Spirit of Earth about how "from their love new life will spring".
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover used for the movie’s rather obscure South American VHS release by Pegasus Kid (retitled “The Legend of the Wild Dogs”) features a dingo who doesn’t resemble any of the dingos shown in the movie and looks more a sabretoothed Idefix. There’s also a swan that doesn’t appear at all.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Sol and Luna possess them, when added to their Pointy Ears they make them look more canine-like.
  • Death of a Child: At the beginning during the great flooding where we see one of the dingo pups drowning on screen.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The dancing sequence of Sol and Luna when they discover and master fire.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Spirit of Evil is this, during the last portion of the movie its disembodied form manifests itself as an angry face in the sky.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The Elemental Spirits that hold the "Secrets of Life" are this; The Spirits of Water, Wind and Earth are the ones who make on-screen appearances.
  • Elemental Powers: The "Secrets of Life" are the four elements, given by the spirits of those elements.
  • Extra Eyes: The dwarves that help Luna find the Spirit of Wind have 3 pairs of eyes each.
  • The Great Flood: The story begins with a great flood, the narration on the Australian version implies it to be the Biblical flood.
  • Giant Flyer:
    • The Spirit of Wind, who's a giant blue dragon-like creature.
    • The multi-eyed dwarves' pterodactyl-like creature that helps Luna save Sol from drowning in the ocean.
  • Hollywood Dreamtime: The film is built around this, with its setting of a distant past where spirits and monsters co-exist with prehistoric and contemporary creatures.
  • Infernal Retaliation: Sol and Luna attempt to use fire against the Spirit of Evil, but it's ineffective and the Spirit of Evil then uses the fire against them, thereby possessing the Spirit of Fire. It's not until they summon the Spirit of Water and make them fight when the physical from of evil is defeated.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Sol and Luna get adopted by a couple of dingoes who raise them as their own.
  • Kill It with Fire: Subverted Trope, fire is ineffective against the Spirit of Evil.
  • Kill It with Water:
    • On the other hand, the Spirit of Water is the one to douse the Spirit of Evil's flames and consume its physical form.
    • Also, at the beginning we see the great flooding and many animals drowning on screen.
  • Made of Evil: The Spirit of Evil is the incarnation of all malice that will stop at nothing to destroy all living creatures.
  • Making a Splash: The power of the Spirit of Water, which it uses against the flame-engulfed Spirit of Evil.
  • Mirror Monster: Sol sees the Spirit of Evil twice upon his reflection in the water.
  • Narrating the Obvious: The narrator on the U.S. version is very prone to this, the original version on the other hand relies a lot on Show, Don't Tell.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Both kids have their chests constantly exposed but their nipples are nowhere to be seen.
  • Non-Standard Kiss: Sol and Luna share one by rubbing their noses with each other (this is known as Eskimo Kissing) after they are reunited near the end.
  • The Quest: The children embark on a quest for finding the "Secrets of Life" which will allow them to stay with the dingoes.
  • Pointy Ears: Sol and Luna possess pointy ears, contrasting with the aboriginal girl who has normal shaped ones.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The film uses several classic music pieces, most noticeably are the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain.
  • Raised by Wolves: Or in this case raised by Australian wild dogs.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Just as other works by Yoram Gross Studio, the film mixes live-action scenery and landscapes with animated characters. Also, in the Australian version at the end the children transformed into dingoes, join the narrator as she walks into the distance.
  • Same Language Dub: The narrator on the Australian version was dubbed over in the U.S. release, as mentioned below.
  • She's a Man in Japan: The original version was narrated by an old woman played by Australian actress Benita Collings, who appeared at the beginning and at the end; but this was changed in the U.S. version in which her scenes were cut and the film is narrated by John Huston instead.
  • Suddenly Speaking: The original version, barring the narrator and the aborigines who speak on their native dialect, has almost no spoken dialogue, as Sol and Luna communicate through grunts and yelps; The U.S. release on the other hand has them, the dingoes, and the Spirit of Evil fully voiced.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: The King of the Dingoes talks to Sol and Luna in their dream, telling them that if they want to stay with the dingoes, they must find the "Secrets of Life".
  • The Unfought: The one-eyed Blue Monster who guards the Spirit of Wind, Luna simply sneaks past it when it's sleeping.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: At one point, Sol and Luna encounter an aboriginal girl, which shows to them that they aren't the only humans. Then they attempt to kidnap her causing her family to chase them away. Nothing else comes out of this.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: A rare female example - Luna wearing something akin to a loincloth secured with a single string has her chest nearly completely exposed. Not that there is much to see. Sol is a straight example.