Dealing with your crazy family and learning how to take risks is a big part of life. However, as DreamWorks’ ‘The Croods’ shows, it’s nothing new. The animated comedy takes the audience way- 4 million years- to follow the dysfunctional cave-family on a wild adventure through the exotic prehistoric landscape.
The Croods are the last family around, thanks to their patriarch’s, Grug’s (voiced by Nicolas Cage), insistence that the family stick to the rules. The crowd into a dark cave every night to evade predators, and only venture out onto the dry, desolate plain (think southwestern Kansas in the middle of a drought summer) when they cannot go any longer without eating. The teenage daughter, Eep (voiced by Emma Stone) is frustrated with this lifestyle, and rebels against her father’s rules.
On a nightly escapade, she meets Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who tells her about the coming disaster. Then, when the Croods’ cave and livelihood is destroyed, the family joins (well, I say joins, but takes prisoner would be more accurate) Guy on his quest through the colorful and fantastical land beyond their canyon to find a land where they can call home.
I really enjoyed the animation in this movie; it is wildly imaginative and bursting with colorful details. While the Croods themselves are very homely and strangely proportioned, they are immediately lovable and fun to watch. Along with Grug and Eep, there is the mother Ugga, teenage son Thunk, Gran, the grandmother who refuses to die, and the baby Sandy. Overall, this is probably one of the quirkiest families ever to trample onto the silver screen. The animals are also worth mentioning because they are so strange and creative, which was not something I saw coming at all.
While aimed for a younger audience, I found myself laughing at a lot of the jokes. There really isn’t any potty humor or cheap jokes, but there is plenty slapstick humor and modernisms. Still, it never got too repetitive or tiresome.
I went ahead and watched this movie in 3-D, and I thought it was well done, but not completely necessary for viewing enjoyment. Basically, the movie itself is not dependent on the 3-D effects, but the effects do add to the experience. Cinders, dust and birds seem to fly right at your face, and it really sucks you into the action.
The storyline was interesting and engaging, but the plot hiccoughed a bit at a few points. The points of the film where there was no ‘chunky death cat’ antics or other conundrums facing the family were definitely choking points. However, those dialogue-heavy parts helped the audience see the Croods’ growth as a family and changes in Grug’s attitude towards new ideas. Also, the ending was not at all what I was expecting.
Overall, the movie is beautifully animated and written so that audiences of all ages can enjoy it. While ‘The Croods’ is not quite on the same level of excellence as other DreamWorks favorites like ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ and ‘Shrek’, it is a fun, unique adventure that people of all ages can enjoy.
Taylor Finke is a freshman. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.