Movie Review: The Croods (2013)
It's hard to find an animated movie that is able to bring together a great story, a wonderful script, and superb technical animation that pleases both children and adults. The Croods is one of those movies. The movie brings the viewer to a point in time when man was forced to deal with the uncertainties of the world outside and learned that he could live in it with some certain enjoyment. You meet a cave family full of strong characters. The one you hear from the most is Eep, the older daughter. Naturally inquisitive and fearless she wants to know the world outside her cave. Those adventuresome tendencies are tenaciously reined in by her father, Grug. He takes his role as protector of the family very seriously and is overly cautious but caring. His motto is "New is always bad; never not be afraid." The balm to these two powerful personalities is Grug's wife and Eep's mother,Ugga, who keeps the family together. Comic relief is provided by Gran, Ugga's feisty mother who quarrels often with Grug, Thunk, the kindhearted, bumbling brother, and baby of the family, Sandy. Sandy, as a good, little, Neanderthal girl should, bites and chases everything.
Grug wants everyone in his family to stick to the familial cave because they are one of the last surviving Neanderthal families. The land is going through geological changes (imagine global warming was true and 2000 times worse) and is unstable. Eep is bored and ventures out of the safety of the cave when she notices something odd. That odd thing was fire. Produced by a cool, Cro-magnon dude, Guy. Guy meets the family and tells them that it's the end of the world. Grug doesn't believe it but a massive earthquake destroys the family cave. They have no choice but to go out and find a new home. They keep Guy with them because he can make fire, and has all these new ideas. During the journey, the family and Guy learn to adapt in their new world and have to think outside of the box. Adapting to the new landscape and its challenges is especially hard for Grug; his old way of doing things doesn't work and the family does not want to go back to the way things were. Guy seems to have all the answers and is way cooler. In addition, Grug does not approve of the attraction that is growing between Eep and Guy. Can Grug make it in this new world and keep the family safe? This movie is truly heartwarming. It is one of the few movies where the male protagonist, Grug, is a brave, endearing, alpha male. It's so wonderful.
This movie is from Dreamworks Animation so of course the animation and technical aspects of the movie are excellent. The movie is chock full of witticisms and comic situations that adults will enjoy while the children can enjoy the characters and can follow the main storyline easily enough. I saw it over Father's Day weekend and the movie is a great tribute to fathers everywhere. This animation should be part of your movie collection.
The Croods is chock full of talent doing the voiceovers. Nicholas Cage's familiar voice is great for Grug; it is earnest, haunting, and full of pathos. Emma Stone's voice for Eep is wonderful as she gives the Neanderthal girl the full range of qualities from the teenager who is in love with her new shoes to the vulnerability of young love. Catherine Keener gives Ugga a mature voice that is patient, wise, yet sexy! Cloris Leachman gives Gran her feistiness and Ryan Reynolds' Cro-magnon Guy is friendly but sensible surfer dude. The two most minor characters, Thunk and Sandy, each have their own situations in the movie that flesh out their personalities and complement the cast of characters.
While watching the movie there were times when I could visualize how the changing landscape challenged the Neanderthals and made me wonder if they ever envied the Cro-magnon man for being more adaptive. Were they conscious that the world was passing them by or were they too engaged in trying to adapt and survive that they couldn't think outside of what's in front of them? Could a marriage between a Cro-magnon male and Neanderthal female be happy?
Run Time: 1 hr. 38 minutes
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