The Croods Review
By Bret Dorman
I love watching movies. Even movies I have no interest in seeing, have no business seeing, or could easily be cynical about, like a kids movie, I still enjoy watching. Not for any particular reason other than movies are fun. The Croods is fun and even though I can’t imagine this movie leaving any lasting mark on a kid (not imagining a lot of The Croods lunchboxes, action figures, or birthday party theme sets) I do admire its optimism and positive message.The Story: Eep (Emma Stone) is a feisty young lady who lives with her family, most begrudgingly though her dad Grug (Nicolas Cage) who hates anything new like exploration. But one fateful chance encounter Eep has with Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and The Croods’ surroundings start to crumble as Earth reforms, forcing everyone to journey into the unknown… together! Many dangers await and along their journey many characters get hit with heavy objects. Also, the movie has some weird animal-combining ideas about ‘evolution’.
The Croods starts off with its characters coming out of the cave on by one. How each character exits their realm of complete safety mirrors their relationship with Grug, the paternal leader of the family. After they are all done goofing off they all work together to find some food. In an exiting second opening act we see them use their super human lightning speed and athletic reflexes to combat the animals of the day over the most treasured of treasures, food. The action of the sequence is well inspired and thoughtfully choreographed. As the characters race of over the terrain either to or away from something the camera smoothly follows along and focuses on the excitement and danger with crisp clarity. However, after this opening the movie sticks more to the mission or “fun” detours instead of the action and teamwork.The middle hour of the movie devolves into weird fantasy land explorations, swimming around, learning how to learn, dangerous animals being minor nuisances, and Grug and Guy constantly showing how different they are. Although colorful and fun spirited I found myself somewhat bored and ready to move on, but the most frustrating part was the character Eep. Like with most stubborn “main characters” she completely fails to see anyone else’s point of view and complains or pouts anytime she doesn’t get her way. Relatable or realistic? Perhaps. But still annoying. Yes she wants to leave the cave but her idea of fun puts her family in danger many times. Yes her dad is stifling everyone by keeping them in a cave most the time but he does so to keep them safe. Ultimately they need to ditch the cave to stay safe and instead of trying to convince her dad of what’s best she just yells at him. Everything is about her and even after he changes she doesn’t. This is something that happens in a lot of movies and its just a minor gripe. I do like how they don’t make a huge thing about the gender thing, not really bringing up gender roles in any way unless it for a little joke here or there on Grandma’s behalf. She doesn’t rebel because of ‘political’ beliefs, but rather that’s just how she is.
By the end of the movie though we hit full on emotional heart string pulling mode as Grug learns his lesson and has to save his family and bring all of the stories and lose ends together. Even though the characters are in danger (aka fun!), they truly do learn that learning how to overcome obstacles is more important that shying away from them all together. And instead of just a happy ending where everyone gets what they want there is the sense that growth has been achieved for the future (of mankind).
In Conclusion, The Croods looks just as good as other CG movies, follows the template as every other Hollywood movie, features the silly jokes and adorable animal-types as every other kids movie, and is voice acted by a random selection of celebrities. It is a basic movie. Not memorable in any inspiring way and not a chore to sit through or waste of time, which I guess counts as a compliment coming from someone who has no business seeing this movie.
Final Grade: C
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