In Dreamwork’s latest animated feature The Croods, the titular family is the last surviving primordial clan. How have they survived while their neighbors were stabbed by giant mosquitoes, crushed by cave-ins, and undone by the common cold? They followed the rules, which basically meant locking themselves in their cave for as long as hunger would permit, never going out at night, and rejecting without hesitation anything new and unfamiliar.
Nicholas Cage portrays Grug, the highly protective and set-in-his-ways patriarch of the Crood family, while Emma Stone plays Eep, his thoroughly modern, angst-ridden teenage daughter. Unable to see it much while locked away in the cave, Eep is fascinated with sunlight, and sneaks out one night when she catches a glimpse of what appears to her to be a tiny sun.
Enter faux-jean clad, sloth toting, and entirely new and strange Guy (Ryan Reynolds). To Eep’s immense pleasure, Guy is the polar opposite of her family in almost all aspects: physical proportion, outlook, and intelligence among them.
Despite Grug’s best attempts to distance his family from Guy, he ends up being their guide and savior as the ground literally opens up beneath them and drives them to the edge of the earth in search of a safe haven.
During their journey the Croods enter an entirely unreal world. And when I say that, I not only mean that the landscape and creatures that inhabit it are amazingly imaginative, but also that they lack any biological or historical credibility. This isn’t necessarily a problem, seeing as the film is made primarily for children, but I’ll admit I found some of the more fantastical elements distracting. I mean come on, even in a kids movie there are only so many flying turtle hybrids, rainbow colored wildcats, and stubby legged yet super fast cavemen you can throw at me before I call bullshit.
That being said, The Croods is a fun, yet shallow movie that families will love. It follows a basic and predictable storyline but the wackiness of the universe and the familial conflict will easily keep you interested for an hour and a half. It’s no Pixar feature, lacking in depth and relevant cultural references, but it’s cute and fun to just look at. Though the 3D is more subtle than in your face (which I find preferable), the animation is beautiful. The first hunting scene in particular is exciting and well executed.
At its heart, The Croods is about evolution in its most basic form. In order to survive — the end of the world and your family — you have to adapt. To see if a little change helps the Croods survive the end of the world or tears them apart forever, you’ll have to check it out this Friday.