Crood But Effective – A review of the Croods
Summary: If you’re wondering about life on Ancient Earth, this take on caveman family interactions is as beautiful as it is exciting.
The wonderful thing about animated adventure movies is that they can take us to places we can only imagine and show us sights that we can never know first hand. From a designer’s imagination to the big screen, so this story goes.
The family we meet, The Croods, remind us of a typical extended modern family in many ways. Cro magnon patriarch Grug (Nicholas Cage) diligently tries to protect his wife Ugga (Catherine Keener) and his brood of children including Thunk, Eep and his rabid baby girl.
Together with Gran, Ugga’s mother who obviously lacks affection for her son-in-law (so what else is new?), the extended family hides in caves and forages for food in a hostile environment that diligently attempts to prevent this modern cave family from evolving.
Eep (Emma Stone) has an adventurous spirit, though, and ventures frequently from the cave in search of new and exciting things. She encounters a boy roughly her own age, Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who knows that the world is in the process of upheaval and he’s looking for safety on the other side of two towering peaks.
He encourages the Croods to join him and thus begins the rollicking adventure that will carry this family to incredible vistas and introduce them to more stunning creatures who would also love to turn the family into fast food.
What works well here is the family interactions. Early on, we are treated to a beautifully rendered football game as the family attempts to poach an egg from one of the myriad wildlife characters we meet along the way. The egg becomes the target of not only the family, but other creatures who are just as hungry. The sequence is as fun as it is exciting and shows the teamwork and spirit that we expect from this survivalist group of misfits.
Humor ensues as the family must cope with splitting earthquakes, thunder and lightning and an introduction to fire.
The voice acting is solid and filled with pathos. Even under his gruff exterior, Cage’s performance as Grug is rife with the sincerity one can expect from the Academy Award winning actor. Likewise, Stone conveys a sense of innocence and awe as the teen girl who just wants to be free to see the world.
Chris Sanders, who also co-directed the movie, steals a scene or two as monkey Belt who routinely punctuates the suspense with the interjection of dun-dun-dun audibles. Yet even with impending doom on the horizon, somehow we know this family will find their way to a new home. I give The Croods 4-1/2 out of 5 stars.