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what do you call an Epic film

Posted: Tue, 28th Dec 2004, 4:05pm

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b4uask30male

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Hi

Just trying to work out what makes an EPIC.

I'd say BEN HUR, 10 Commandments, even Troy
But why do I say that, is it to do with the amount of people in the film ?
it can't be the amount of money.!!
Or is it the scale of the film, eg: lord of the rings has big sets.

or even something so simple as sweeping camera shots ?

Please help, your answers are important to me.
Posted: Tue, 28th Dec 2004, 4:09pm

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Rawree

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I think it's all to do with having greater scale and scope than anything before it. For example Lord of the Rings is described as epic because the battle scenes were far bigger than anything before. Epic movies are the ones which are huge and grand visually and conceptually.
Posted: Tue, 28th Dec 2004, 4:20pm

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Xcession

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I think there are 4 key things which usualy contribute to a film being labelled an 'epic'.

1. Running time. El Cid is usually counted as an epic, mainly due to its running time of over 3 hours!

2. Geographical size of 'stage'. Starwars and LoTR could both be considered epics due to the sheer scale on which the story is played out. An entire galaxy on one hand and an entire continent on another: neither being the usual size for most films.

3. Number of extras (be they CG or real). This point goes hand in hand with no.2, as the usual reason for a collosal stage, is due to the huge number of creatures that are effected by the plot, which is usually caused by a war of some sort. War requires troops, usually in the tens of thousands, and war itself usually effects whole civilisations, usually in the millions.

4. Depth of emotion. Again, this goes hand in hand with nos.2 and 3. Epics tend to involve some kind of hugely emotional spiritual and/or personal quest. The war films are obviously awash with emotion for obvious reasons. El Cid is somewhat more focussed on the emotions of one man - Rodrigo Diaz - but its what his emotions lead him to do which also counts for big 'epic points' when it comes to labelling.
Posted: Tue, 28th Dec 2004, 4:29pm

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er-no

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To me, an epic is a dramatic piece of work that follows alongside heroic feats. The one against the many.
or as the good old dictionary says:

epic

adj 1: very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale); "an epic voyage"; "of heroic proportions"; "heroic sculpture" [syn: heroic, larger-than-life] 2: constituting or having to do with or suggestive of a literary epic; "epic tradition" [syn: epical] n : a long narrative telling of a hero's deeds
Posted: Tue, 28th Dec 2004, 4:30pm

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CoolKabe

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These might be of some assistance...

http://www.filmsite.org/epicsfilms.html

http://www.epinions.com/mvie-review-51FB-57A2387-3938F671-prod5

-Hope it helps,
Adam twisted
Posted: Tue, 28th Dec 2004, 4:35pm

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Simon K Jones

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Rating: +1

Big explosions!
Posted: Tue, 28th Dec 2004, 7:25pm

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Aculag

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I thought The Life Aquatic was pretty epic, just because it covers so much ground. I define an epic film as something that either spans a long period of time, or something that has a lot happening and has a great character change, and of course, big explosions.

Lord Of The Rings
The Life Aquatic (On a lesser scale, perhaps, but I couldn't help thinking it was epic)
Traffic
Star Wars Saga
Doctor Zhivago
The Matrix Saga (Because of it's scale and the difference of character and setting and situation from the beginning in The Matrix, to the end of Revolutions)
National Treasure (Laugh all you want, but when I first saw the trailer, I decided it wouldn't be any good unless it was fairly long and epic, and it was. Especially epic. I was surprised)

That's my definition anyway. I like movies that are epic. Or, what I consider epic anyway.
Posted: Tue, 28th Dec 2004, 8:03pm

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cinematography

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Lawrence of Arabia was another great epic film! I love that movie. smile
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 12:18am

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Mellifluous

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It's strange, I have a wide variety of films that I consider epic:-

LOTR, Star Wars, Amores Perros, Magnolia, Solaris (both versions), T2, Lawrence of Arabia, Once Upon a Time in the West, Mystic River, Vertigo, 2001 among others

I think 'epic' encompasses quite a few things, but I don't think there's a real set criteria or one attribute that makes a film epic, although the following do seem to lend 'epicness' to a film:-

1. number of cast (including extras)
2. scale of film
3. size of shots
4. length of film (although some epics can still be short IMO)
5. the complexity/profoundness/emotional quality of ideas conveyed
6. characters undergo a great journey & they actually change hugely throughout the film
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 1:21am

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Ryan

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Don't forget The Princess Bride.
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 9:12am

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fallen

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Long, boring and/or confusing. So pretty much every film stated here (except starwars), and Titanic come under this umbrella razz
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 11:48am

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Simon K Jones

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You can also have epic moments in an otherwise fairly non-epic film. Spider-Man 2, for example, I wouldn't describe as an epic, but the train sequence is one of the most epic things I've seen this year. Same goes for the fishing boat scene at the end of Finding Nemo, which felt incredibly epic for some reason.

I think the ride of the Rohirrim in RotK is still the most epic moment I've seen on the big screen, though.
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 12:10pm

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Waser

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I don't know if this is happening anywhere elese, but here in Salt Lake City, lots of kids starting saying "epic" instead of "cool". yeah, im done
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 2:01pm

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b4uask30male

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thanks guys.

what about the music how important is the Big feel of an epic score. ?

eg: I don't remember spider-man 2 having that type of music for the fight scene so is the score that important ?
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 3:53pm

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Rawree

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The music is hugely important to the "Epic Feel". Try watching any of the movies above with the sound turned down and it's not half as impressive.

If I remember rightly composers will usually use horns and other brass instruments in order to give a "grand" feel to the music. I think in the charge at Pelanor fields they used high strings and brass mainly (I may be wrong).
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 6:28pm

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ben3308

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I would say that Robert Rodriguez's 'Mariachi Trilogy' (El Mariachi, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) is, altogether, an epic. Just by the depth of emotion.
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 7:44pm

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gent23mj

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My Fav epics are gladiator, braveheart, armageddon (yes, i like it), star wars, LOTR, the Passion of the Christ, and the Last Samurai (if you would consider it an epic)

i'd rather see an epic than anything else
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 9:50pm

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b4uask30male

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I've noticed that most people then suggest an epic to have a large battle of some kind.
starwars, lotr, braveheart, gladiator etc.
I've learned a lot from this guys and I thankyou for your comments and will try to add "somehow" the things mentioned here in my project.

thanks
Posted: Wed, 29th Dec 2004, 10:53pm

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TimmyD

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Rawree wrote:

The music is hugely important to the "Epic Feel". Try watching any of the movies above with the sound turned down and it's not half as impressive.

If I remember rightly composers will usually use horns and other brass instruments in order to give a "grand" feel to the music. I think in the charge at Pelanor fields they used high strings and brass mainly (I may be wrong).
Most of the time its just these hugely awesome orchestral scores of delihgt.
Posted: Thu, 30th Dec 2004, 8:00pm

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Two Gunned Saint

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A true epic will have hats in it, lots of hats.
Posted: Fri, 31st Dec 2004, 4:06am

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Godfather

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The term epic has evolved into something hard to pin down and define. Loosely I think we could say it represents grandeur, and tasteful flamboyance.

Spartacus, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, Schindler's List, Gone With The Wind, Star Wars, Apocalypse Now, the list goes on.
Posted: Fri, 31st Dec 2004, 5:18am

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xbreaka

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i agree almost entirely with xcession, although there doesnt need to be a battle but yes it needs to have a large area of influence and effect many people. It also needs to cost alot confused
Posted: Fri, 31st Dec 2004, 12:06pm

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Rawree

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The reason people feel battles are a large part of an epic movie is because a lot of them are epic moments in themselves. Take Lord of the Rings again:

-The wide sweeping shots of the battlefield with 5000 or whatever horses charging into a line of 200000 orcs is visually very impressive.

-The story has built up to a point where you actually have/should have an emotional connection with the film, you care if the characters live or die.

-Battle sequences are a chance for the composer to create all kinds of emotions and really let rip.

-They allow for big explosions/stunts/hats;)

All movie battles should have these ingredients which are also ingredients in a n epic film: Emotion, Great visuals, great music and lots of hats.
Posted: Sat, 1st Jan 2005, 5:09am

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gent23mj

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Ill pick Hans Zimmer as the best epic film composer, yes, even over John Williams smile
Posted: Mon, 3rd Jan 2005, 2:37am

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TimmyD

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For some reason, i wasn't exposed to Star Wars as being a huge epic.
Posted: Sat, 8th Jan 2005, 3:38pm

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The video machine

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I would consider an epic to be a hero/ heroine to have to go on a journey actually/emotionally and hav lots of plot turns and twists. That or that person in a desperate struggle against everyone else or agaist all odds.

Therefore I think: A.I , Behind Enemy Lines(maybe), BRAVEHEART(definetly), Lord OF the rings, Matrix trilogy, and a few others but probably the best film i've ever seen is AI thoroughly worth watchin, very compelling.
TVM