The Croods review
An animated movie about cavemen starring Nicholas Cage. This movie should be terrible. But, upon taking another look, it's from the same company that gave us Kung-fu Panda and How to Train your Dragon, movies which I absolutely adore. So, it isn't that shocking to learn that The Croods deserves its place among the greats.
Our story begins, in the B.C. We get a narration from Eep, (voiced by Emma Stone of Amazing Spiderman), explaining how the world is ending. The other families they know have died off, and they have to spend every moment of their lives surviving. Or at least that's what her dad, Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage from National Treasure), tells them as their leader, because he wants to keep them all safe. Everything seems to be going well, until Eep meets another human, a boy named Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who is around her age. So, Eep brings Guy and his pet sloth, Belt, to come travel with her family: Grug (father), Ugga (mother), Gran (grandmother), younger brother Thunk and even younger sister, who is referred to as The Monster because she is a wild child. Grug doesn't take to Guy at first because of how adventurous and different he is. Yet, the rest of the family actually likes Guy because he is fun and actually lives life to the fullest, unlike what Grug leads them to do. Guy tells the family there is a place they can travel to that will protect them from the devastation of the world. Will the Croods get to safety? Or will the perils along the way stop them?
Many things work well in this movie, but the best one is the characters. They are all likeable, even if they fall into overly used stereotypes. Grug is the overprotective father, but he is kind and loving, under his gruff exterior. He also is protective over his whole family, plus Guy and Belt, so he has a lot to handle. Yet he never comes off as mean, or has a moment of stress or rage against the other characters. It's the perfect balance. Eep is the rebellious teenage girl who doesn't want to listen to rules, yet she is fun and never lashes out at her father for setting rules. Sure, she complains like a teenager, but it is never mean spirited. Guy feels like Ryan Reynolds as a teenage boy in caveman times. That is not a bad thing, because he is fun. Sure, he is the stranger that changes the main cast forever, but he is never smug, but yet not too preachy. He is just a boy who is kind enough to help out other people. He is a pretty good role model.
The rest of the family isn't featured to heavily, but work perfectly for the story. The mother doesn't do too much, other than being supportive to the group and have a few moments with Grug. But she is great. Thunk is the goofy and dim-witted boy who gets hurt a lot in comic fashion. A common gag, but it never becomes unwelcomed. The grandmother runs the gambit of "still alive" and I'm too old" jokes, but like Thunk, it has great pacing. She is also voiced by Cloris Leachman, which is a riot. The little daughter is just a rabid, adorable gag, but again, it works.
The animals in this movie are also wonderful. Belt is used as a belt at times, but he also gets a couple of funny jokes in, but he is never obnoxious. There are a couple of other little animals that become their pets, and it is precious. There is also a big, colorful sabertooth tiger that chases the family throughout the movie, I love that tiger. The rest of the animals used throughout the movie are very creative and colorful. The design choices are quite original, and are a delight to watch interact with the Croods.
This movie is gorgeous by animation standards. The colors pop out and the characters, main and all, are well designed. The backgrounds are vast and beautiful, yet they can be detailed and rugged in the canyon scenes. There is a scene involving water that is just so clear and pretty it is awe-inspiring. I seriously cannot rave enough about the animation. The only catch, is you go from the beautiful and lush landscapes, then you get scenes with just rocks and rock walls as the background. It is by no means ugly, but the contrast is noticeable.
The story is also great. Sure, it isn't that original, in fact you can probably guess the ending, but it is enjoyable the entire time. It's simple enough and funny enough to keep kids interested, and it is deep and emotional enough for older crowds to enjoy the movie. Now yes, if you hate animated kids movies and want nothing to do with them, this is not the movie to change your mind. That is no slight against The Croods, but it isn't momentous like The Lion King or Shrek or Despicable Me. The story is great on what it aimed for, and I wouldn't change much at all. There are so many warm and fuzzy feelings at the end, it just makes me happy every time.
Overall, I love The Croods. Which is so bizarre, because if you asked me earlier this year about this movie, I'd have told you to avoid it. But don't. If you have kids, definitely watch it with them. There is nothing scary or inappropriate in the movie they can't handle, and you can get a kick out of it. Even if you are older, and can appreciate animated movies as quality films, watch The Croods. You will not regret it.
I give The Croods a rockin' 4.5 out of 5