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Review

‘Croods’ offers fun for entire family

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April 11, 2013

Dreamwork’s latest feature film takes us back to the stone ages with “The Croods” and gives movie goers one heck of a rocky ride.

The world is a dangerous place that will kill you at any moment: no one knows or lives this better than the Croods, a family of cave people who have lived out most of their days in a cave. Fear of the new and abstract is what drives the family, pushed by the overbearing but caring father Grug (Nicholas Cage), but Eep (Emma Stone), the eldest daughter, wants to go beyond the darkness of the cave and reach for the sun that shines across the sky.

Movie poster for The Croods.
The Croods uses the voices of Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, among other actors.

She may get her chance when a cataclysmic event destroys the family cave and leaves them all to fend for themselves against the harsh wilds. But they won’t need to go it alone when a survival smart cave boy named Guy (Ryan Reynolds) tags along with the family to take them across the lands and teach them how to rough it in the jungles and wastes.

However, the lands outside the cave are dangerous and risky, and they will be the proving grounds for the Croods as they must learn to adjust and adapt to this brave new world if they are to live outside the dark and reach for the sun they all crave.

Though I thought nothing of the first trailer I saw, I slowly grew more and more anticipated for “The Croods,” believing that it could really deliver since it was from the same director of “Lilo and Stitch” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” two movies I really liked. Thankfully, “The Croods” delivers pretty well with its prehistoric premise and beautiful presentation.

The story is fairly basic with its structure and characters, but what it does right is in how the movie brings it all together. The Croods themselves feel like a well put family; they have their ups, their downs, their flaws and features.

The hopes and experiences of the family as well are ones that, though placed in a primeval environment, can still be felt by almost everyone: wanting to see tomorrow, not wanting to live in fear, protecting what you love the most, all are experienced by the family and all are easily understood.

The technical side of things fares equally as well as the plot. The prehistoric landscapes the Croods traverse are wonderfully rendered, taking time to let every mountain, jungle or desert strike you with how great they look.

The movie also takes great pleasure in throwing every kind of creative concept they can at us, like man eater birds, land whales, and killer plants. You can really see how much love was put into every element of the environment and it makes you want to see and explore more of this world.

While I can speak highly of the entertainment value of “The Croods,” a few problems do arise. While I did appreciate the humor and jokes of the movie, some jokes can feel a bit repetitive and can run stale. The idea of accepting new things into the family can also feel like a heavy handed concept the plot tries to drive home, making you think the theme of the movie is a bit hammered in. And finally, the whole of the plot seems to focus mainly on Eep and Grug, not giving much to the other family members in the ways of character development when shown this new world.

But I think “The Croods” still prevails across these things with its lush design and creative input, well deserving of my respect.

“The Croods” is at its base a story about not living in fear and ignorance and learning to accept new ideas and concepts.

It reinforces the idea that family is what matters in the end, no matter how each member thinks or lives, and that while changing the family dynamic can be tough, it always manages to prevail in the end.

Head out to see “The Croods,” see the first family in history, and be enjoyed and entertained along the way.

Ryan Funes is a lover of all things movie, TV, video games and stories and wants to become a television writer someday. In his spare time he enjoys hanging with friends, tapping into his imagination, and watching cartoons of all kinds.