9.0 out of 10 | MOVIE, DVD
Rated: PG Some scary action.
Release Date: March 22, 2013
Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes
Director: Chris Sanders, Kirk De Micco
Writers: Chris Sanders, Kirk De Micco
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman
SYNOPSIS: The prehistoric Crood family is forced to leave the safety of their cave when the world starts to shift and crack apart. Meeting up with a young homosapien, they have to fight predators, natural forces, and each other in the search for a safer haven.
REVIEW: Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon, Lilo and Stitch) create the story, write the screenplay, and direct the new Dreamworks animated film involving the lives of one of the first prehistoric families and their fight for survival in a quickly changing world.
Grug (Nicolas Cage, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) keeps his caveman family safe by following the rules set forth on the cave paintings from ancestors past. 'Fear the dark and the unknown, and stay in the cave'. Every few days the family - with wife Ugga (Catherine Keener, A Late Quartet), son Thunk (Clark Duke, A Thousand Words), older daughter Eep (Emma Stone, Gangster Squad), younger daughter Sally, and Gran (Cloris Leachman, Raising Hope) - forage every few days for sustenance, stay in the cave protected by predators, and listen to stories of exploits, fear, and death by Grug. Eep, different from her father, has a curiosity for the outside world beyond the painted car walls. One night, Eep sees the flickering light of the sun and disobeys her father's standing order to stay in the cave by investigating its source. She stumbles upon a creature similar, but different from herself, a young homosapien named Guy (Ryan Reynolds, Safe House) and his furry animal companion named Belt. He urges her to come with him, telling a tale that the landscape he has traveled from has been overcome with earthquakes, lava, explosions, and death. When she can not leave her family behind, Eep soon learns the truth if Guy's words as the family cave and the surrounding valley are destroyed, forcing them to follow Guy to an unknown and new frontier they are reluctant to travel through.
Dreamworks Animation, known for top notch animated entertainment like Monsters vs. Aliens and Rise of the Guardians, returns for a prehistoric family tale for the whole family. In The Croods, curious Eep changes the whole dynamic of the Croods' way of life because of her free spirit and the unexpected meeting of the homosapien Guy. The world and characters that Dreamworks, Sanders, and De Micco create follows in the rich tradition of the studio and its storytelling.
From the onset, after Eep narrates the whys of her family's way of life, the dynamic and pace of the action, humor, heart, and style are fossilized into place. I am just a big kid at heart, by the way, and I laughed throughout the entire film. From Krug telling Ugga to 'release the baby' and watching the little scamp tear off after prey or her own family, to a human's furry utility belt Belt who seems to have more skills than just keeping Guy's pants up, the script is filled with clever verbal quips and visual gags for 'kids' of all ages. Aside from the great humor, The Croods has plenty of action. During the Croods family's first pursuit of food, they prove how closely they work together and how much strength and agility the cave people possess as they wrestle with oversized razor-toothed predators, tusked mammoths, and angry bird mothers, for a drop of scrambled egg. But at its heart,The Croods is a story of family, of growing up, and of surviving - together.
The character voices are perfect for the Croods. Nicolas Cage's Grug is a lumbering Neanderthal and a brute, but still a fierce protector of his brood. He can 'ugh' and 'ooh' with the best caveman, even though he and his may be the last of their kind. Emma Stone, fresh off her recent more adult roles, fits right in as the younger adolescent Eeg - ready to take on the wide unknown world. Clark Duke's Thunk is as funny as he is idiotic, Catherine Keener's Ugga is soft and capable, and Cloris Leachman's Gran is feisty and wise (when she needs to be). The Homosapien Guy, voiced by Ryan Reynolds, is nearly unrecognizable as the young new breed of human trying to survive in the changing, disruptive world.
There are no villains. per say, just the continued threat of predatory animals, the increasing and more violent tectonic shift of the earth's surfaces, the worry of a caveman for his family, and the worry of a father for the safety of his daughter against the unknown quaking world, and the unpredictable quaking of a young girl's heart in love.
The Croods is a great film to be enjoyed by the entire family - young and old. Filled with dangerous action, hilarious situations and gags that would give The Flintstones a run for their money, and a heart bigger than the entire Jurassic era, The Croods is the first great animated film of 2013.