The Croods

Summary:

The Croods displays some powerful animation but falls pretty flat in the story department. For a movie that tries to teach the importance of trying new things, it actually plays it pretty safe and predictable. Its message is blatantly beaten into the heads of the audience and becomes almost exhausting. The humor walks a fine line between falling flat and being so silly that it’s funny. The movie features some impressive voice work from Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and especially Nicholas Cage who all give a performance that will cover up some of the less than clever jokes. Stylistically The Croods is eye pleasing and shares a Looney Tunes/Flintstones spirit that shows both in their animation and humor. The Croods unfortunately has a lot of setbacks to overcome to please the harshest critics, but the more forgiving fans will be rewarded with a dazzling visual spectacle and a charming family film.

Animated movies are a personal favorite and I am always excited to see what batches of movies are coming down the pipeline each year. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had the chance to review an animated movie but luckily I got to change that today by checking out The Croods. When I first saw the trailers for this movie I was a little less than impressed but I was intrigued thanks to the movie’s visuals. Although my early impressions of the movie might not have been that far off, The Croods still has some merit to offer.

The Croods

 

The Croods tells the story of the last remaining group of cavemen living in a prehistoric era where danger is plentiful. The survival of the Croods is largely thanks to their father Grug (Nicholas Cage) whose strict rules and teachings against curiosity and adventure have kept the family safe for all these years. However, when his daughter Eep (Emma Stone) grows restless of their strict life style she begins to rebel against her father’s teaching and eventually sets the family on a path that will forever change their lives.

For a movie that sets out to teach the importance of adventure and trying new things The Croods actually plays it pretty safe and predictable. The movie almost sort of just wanders around from place to place with no real threat guiding the movie along. The world around them is supposedly ending but aside from a quick shot or two of the earth splitting and lava flowing every now and then, it doesn’t come across as such a big deal to the main characters. Instead the movie focuses on beating its message into the head of the viewers. You’re never more than ten minutes away from hearing Grug beat you over the head with how curiosity and newness is bad and the blunt nature of their teachings can be exhausting. Luckily for The Croods there is enough silly laughs and visual eye candy along the way to help guide through its less than subtle pitfalls.

Visually The Croods offer some pretty stunning sequences. The movie starts in a rocky wasteland while the family is still dwelling in their cave, but as the movie continues we are exposed to a luscious and incredibly colorful world that commands the attention of the audience. The screen is bursting with various different colors from the overgrowing flora to the crazy and interesting animal designs. The movie shies away from realistic prehistoric animals and focuses on some of their own designs, which gives it a really unique style of their own. Some of the facial expression can be a little distracting but overall the movie has an incredibly pleasing style that will reward its audiences. A personal favorite scene of mine takes place as the family gathers atop a tree during a starry night while they marvel at the midnight sky. It’s a stunning scene and really shows off the powerful animation The Croods brings to the table.

The Croods Family

The Croods features a goofy sense of humor that walks a fine line between falling flat and being so silly it’s funny. The movie relies on a lot of reoccurring jokes, such as the sloth sounding out, “dun dun dunnn”, or Grug making death jokes about his mother-in-law. It’s a very hit and miss style of humor but the wonderful voice acting of the characters help land some of the more less than clever jokes. The movie also captures a Looney Tunes/Flintstones spirit that shows in their animation and their jokes. From using complex puppetry to fool other animals, or smashing against a slab of stone to take a picture, The Croods definitely favors visual gag humor over real world physics and logic.

The movie becomes a little too predictable at times and treads the dangerous waters of becoming boring. It opens up with a fantastic hunting scene where we get to see the family dynamic explored and it really sets the tone for the movie. It was one of the best scenes in the movie and had me engaged for the entire sequence. It is a bit alarming though that the movie never manages to top that bar set so early in the movie.  The family dynamic is one of the stronger aspects of the movie, even though there’s not a lot of individual characterization for the family members. The movie treats them as a single unit for so long that when they eventually split up with their own subplots it just didn’t come off as strong as it could have.

The Croods Eep and Guy

Aside from the family, the main focus is on Eep, Grug, and Guy (Ryan Reynolds) as they do their best to get along. I didn’t like the dynamic shared between Eep and Guy though. Anytime Eep found herself around Guy she would devolve into a cliché female character that would act almost ditzy to win his affections. It watered down the wonderful and adventurous character that they established in the beginning of the movie in favor of a love plot and in turn put a screeching halt to any development Eep made. The movie also starts with the focus on Eep but eventually shifts its focus to Grug as he try to reclaims his status as protector. It makes it feel as though the movie is not sure in what direction it wants to go and gives it such an aimless sense of direction. However, switching over to Grug might have been one of the more redeeming factors of the movie and makes me wish it had happened earlier in the movie.

Watching Grug come to terms with the fact that he’s not as evolved as Guy or as protective as he thought really made me feel for the character. Part writing and part wonderful voice acting by Nicholas Cage, I went from disliking Grug to viewing him as the most relatable character of the movie. Grug easily brings the most emotional depth to the movie. He undergoes the most change which brings his story line to a satisfying conclusion.

The Croods displays some powerful animation but falls pretty flat in the story department. For a movie that tries to teach the importance of trying new things, it actually plays it pretty safe and predictable. Its message is blatantly beaten into the heads of the audience and becomes almost exhausting. The humor walks a fine line between falling flat and being so silly that it’s funny. The movie features some impressive voice work from Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and especially Nicholas Cage who all give a performance that will cover up some of the less than clever jokes. Stylistically The Croods is eye pleasing and shares a Looney Tunes/Flintstones spirit that shows both in their animation and humor. The Croods unfortunately has a lot of setbacks to overcome to please the harshest critics, but the more forgiving fans will be rewarded with a dazzling visual spectacle and a charming family film.

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Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
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Email: ThinkCinematicReviews@Gmail.com

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One response to “The Croods

  1. Pingback: Movie Monday Update Week of March 25th | Thinking Cinematic

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