Movie review: The Croods
1960 was a landmark year in the colourful world of animation as it saw an animated series broadcast for the very first time during prime-time in the US. The show? The Flintstones. Not only was it the first prime time animated show, it was also the first to portray an animated family in the shape of Fred, Wilma, Pebbles and Dino the pet dinosaur.
Since then we've had a whole heap of animated families on TV, including The Jetsons, The Simpsons, the Griffins and the Browns and Tubbs. There was even the sadly short-lived Father of the Pride that featured a family of lions that worked for Siegfried and Roy in Las Vegas.
The Croods then, takes it full circle, and although their world isn't quite Bedrock, it's still all about some stone age fun.
It's understandable that Grug (Nicolas Cage) is protective of his family; every one of their neighbours has met an untimely end so it's no wonder he wants to keep all those he loves in the safe confines of their bijou cave.
His daughter Eep (Emma Stone) however has reached that age where she just wants to go out and have some fun. Her enquiring mind gets her into a spot of bother however, when she sneeks out of the cave one night, when she is mesmerised by a light she has never seen. It leads her to Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a handsome young chap who happens to be passing through.
He tells her that the end of the world is coming and that he's heading for a place his parents told him that would be safe.
Although this initial meeting between the two youngsters doesn't go down well with Grug, when their home is destroyed, Grug has no choice but to have his family follow Guy into dangerous new lands before their world as they know it ends.
Since their first release in 1998 with Antz, Dreamworks has produced over twenty five animated features, including three ongoing franchises in the shape of Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. They may not quite have the finesse of Pixar, but they've been consistent in their ability to produce entertaining family fodder and their latest is no exception.
It takes a while to warm to the Crood clan, but as the film progresses, they all becoming a little more appealing. Eep is a surprising character though, if only for her rather short and revealing attire. She's almost an animated version of Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C mixed with a little Lara Croft. You know that it would only take her a drink or two before doing a slut drop with the Geordie Shore mob. Her provocative appearance is questionable then for such a supposedly kiddie friendly flick.
The story is also on the disappointing side. The concept is a tad weak and its execution is ever so slightly bland as it fails to surprise.
That said, the animation itself doesn't fail to impress, particular the brief scenes involving water that look startlingly realistic. It also has the kind of colour palette to make even a rainbow feel inadequate. The 3D version also doesn't over power (does it ever?), but the extra depth is more noticeable (which is usually the case with animated films), making it a far more pleasing experience with the extra dimension.
And although there's no denying the predictability of the story as a whole, the relationship between father and daughter still manages to surprise by tugging on the old heart strings.
Despite not being up there with anything the Pixar guys do, The Croods are a fun and pleasing addition to the animated family album.
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