The Croods

The Croods photo starrating-3stars.jpgThe Croods are a family of Neanderthal cavemen. One day they are forced to leave the protective confines of their shelter when it’s destroyed.  Following an earthquake,  a falling stone is disrupted cleaving their cave in half. Now exposed out in the open they must contend with a strange unfamiliar world and its many inhabitants including a young nomadic cave boy.

Despite an opportunity to delve into some early primordial history given the ancient setting, the gags and attitudes are decidedly modern. The voice cast have conversations that would not be out of place for a family living in 2013. Father Grug (Nicolas Cage) and daughter Eep (Emma Stone) have district personalities, but the rest of the clan are nonentities. Grug hates his mother-in-law. Never saw that in a comedy. Even Guy, a Homo sapien, is like some teen dream out of a soap opera. Eep, the eldest daughter, is one of those stereotypical teens that butts heads with her overprotective father. She yearns to venture out and see the world. Get with the times, Dad! Or instead, why don’t you just, ya know, evolve! Indeed the tone of the script is that she is correct and that father Grug is reactionary and staid in his views. What the screenplay fails to acknowledge is that it’s those very ideals of his that have kept his family alive all these years while everyone else of their kind has been killed.

I couldn’t help but feel the moral of this comedy was a bit misguided. Surely it is ill-advised to encourage children to disregard their parent’s safety warnings, but that’s precisely this saga’s point of view. Your father is smothering you! Talk to strangers! Play in the street! I’m sure the script meant to inspire an adventurous spirit. Don’t be timid! Try new things! Seize the day! But that’s probably not what a 5 year old will understand. Especially when the father is a complete buffoon – an object of derision as he is consistently shown up by the more progressive and intelligent Guy. Ah but have no fear, parents. As expected, the father predictably redeems himself in the end. The Croods is acceptable. The animation is colorful, although the family is mildly grotesque. They are Neanderthals after all. There are some nice slapstick sequences that are enjoyable. There’s a variety of creatures that are nicely animated including a swarm of carnivorous birds that take only seconds to devour their prey, Guy’s pet sloth Belt is a really cute little creation given to singing “Da-da-daaaaaaaa!“ whenever he wants to stress impending doom. It’s funny every time he says it. Belt got the biggest laughs in the theater. While the jokes amuse, the story is primitive. The Croods is safe fun family entertainment with no surprises. It was pleasant. I guess for some that may be enough.

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19 Responses to “The Croods”

  1. I’ve read a couple of positive reviews from fellow bloggers so I might watch this now. Nice review.

  2. A sweet little movie that’s nice for the whole family, and doesn’t make you sad if you’re alone. Just an alright movie. Good review man.

  3. Wordschat Says:

    II’ll still pass as it looks more like a cross between Ice Age and my childhood Flintstones.

  4. Haven’t seen this one or had a strong desire to since I suspected it would be middling fare like your review suggests. I laughed at your comment about never seeing a man hate his mother-in-law in a comedy and at your joke about evolving. You’re right that caution is probably what has allowed these Neanderthals to survive so long and that the moral spits in the face of that idea. As you said this message probably won’t reach a 5-year-old who’s watching. I’d also like to add that I think Nicolas Cage is a buffoon regardless of whether he’s actually playing a character or not haha. Never been a big fan of him.

    • I guess that’s why they cast him as the father. He accomplishes what the filmmakers intended, but his voice is so recognizable I kept picturing the actor and not the character he was playing. Kids probably wont have that problem at least.

  5. I dont think the “Ignore your parents” theme is as dominant as youre thinking, Eep had some genuine reasons to struggle for independance, I wouldnt have wanted to be kept in a cave either. She’s more a teen, and not a child, and the wanting to break free of the overprotective parent plot isnt exactly new…

    • For a teen to act that way is totally expected. I get that. I just was a bit surprised that the story treated the Father like a complete idiot. He had some redeeming qualities that the script never acknowledged. Well not until the end that is, when Grug basically succumbed to his daughter’s way of thinking.

      It would’ve been totally subversive if she was eaten by a humongous tiger in The Croods: Part 2. Happy freedom! LOL

    • Your right that the rebellious attitude is nothing new. The idea of implying that this attitude is essential to society, however is dangerous. It undermines parental guidance to imply that parents are stupid, and it is the job of the teenager to lead their primitive parents to a new and better way of thinking. Only a children’s fairy tale could justify this way of thinking, in the real world it would have dangerous consequences. Especially during the time of cavemen.

      • The producers rely on parents to take their kids to see The Croods then insult their judgment/decisions in the narrative. Kind of ironic, no?

  6. Let’s be honest, I thought I was in the twilight zone when I started seeing positive reviews for this. The trailer looked so terribly stupid. Needless to say I won’t see it in theaters. But if I read enough reviews like yours then maybe I’ll put it on my DVD list.

    • Hmmm. What about the trailer looked stupid? Did the positive reviews for the original Ice Age and Brave surprise you too?

      • I was just thinking as I wrote the comment, Maybe I should verify with the Ice Age trailer from 2002. I love the movie, though. Brave, as I remember it, didn’t look all that stupid from the trailers.

  7. I have to say, I really enjoyed this movie. It was funny, creative and I laughed out loud, quite a bit. A special shout out to the USC trojans remix version of “Tusk”. Loved it! 3 1/2 stars

    • Interesting. I wouldn’t have noticed the Tusk melody in the background if you hadn’t pointed it out. Incidentally, Alan Silvestri composed the score, the rest of which was an original composition.

  8. I received a voucher for a free children’s ticked and found out this morning that my boy did not have preschool this week. So off we went to see the Croods. To be honest it was much better than I thought it was going to be and my four year-old had a good time. I am not saying it was good, just not terrible.

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