Dreamworks Animation’s “The Croods” is easily the silliest, most cartoonish animated movie I’ve seen in a long time. It seemed to me to be even more squarely aimed at children than most modern animated offerings are nowadays.
Regardless, it’s fun, funny, brightly colored and spiritedly animated. It’s definitely a family friendly slice of entertainment.
It’s totally worth it to take your brood to “The Croods”.
Grug (Nic Cage) is a caveman faced with the daunting challenge of keeping his family safe in dangerous, prehistoric times. To do this, he insists they all stay shut in a cave except to hunt for food. This doesn’t sit well with Eep (Emma Stone), a teen girl who’s anxious to experience more of the world. One night, against her father’s wishes, she sneaks out of the cave and encounters Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a more advanced human, who, among other things, has mastered fire.
Her father is incensed, of course, but the encounter couldn’t have happened at a better time. Guy is aware that the lands they live in are undergoing violent upheaval. Earthquakes and volcanic activity are rapidly approaching the area of the Crood’s home. Their only hope is to try to outrun the cataclysm and take to higher ground. So Grug takes his son (Clark Duke), Wife (Catherine Keener), Mother in Law (Chloris Leachman), and youngest daughter and reluctantly heads off with Eep and Guy towards safe haven.
On the way towards safety, Grug and clan have to cross unfamiliar terrain and survive numerous obstacles they’ve never encountered before, including new predators. Grug is further challenged by the fact that Guy, with all his comparative worldliness, has better ides for combating these challenges than he does. It isn’t long before his family is deferring to Guy in critical situations, rather than to him.
So, with the Earth crumbling behind him, vicious prehistoric plants and animals all around, and a young boy after his daughter’s heart and his family’s minds, will Grug be able to get his family to safety and keep their love and respect at the same time?
The plot of “The Croods” is even more simplistic and straightforward than most animated fare. With the earth crumbling behind them, the Croods are forced to outrace it to safety. As far as characters go, Stone’s Eep develops a crush on Reynold’s Guy, which causes her father to be protective at first, and later, when the family begins to follow Guy as well, he also becomes jealous. I understand that animated films aren’t typically a bastion of themes and character development, but “The Croods” seems even less concerned with it than most. Instead it spends its runtime having its characters be chased by predators, falling over cliffs, and smashing their faces into rocks.
Which I’m certain will be a complaint that will be widely levied against it, but personally I can’t hold it against the movie too much. “The Croods” takes a much more whimsical approach than most recent animated movies I can recall. It uses the “Prehistoric” setting as a license to reimagine the planet… with giant colorful flora and all manner of bizarrely designed animal characters. None of which seem to have much basis in prehistory as I understand it. Within this colorful playground, the characters have a fast paced, run for your life style adventure, with frequent bursts of child friendly humor such as tripping and falling, getting things dropped on people’s heads, and talking animals who crack wise. It was refreshing, actually, and reminded me at times of a full length Hannah Barbera movie.
Fast paced, silly, and visually unique, “The Croods” is good family fun, especially for families with younger children.