The Croods (2013): Meet the First Modern Family

Posted: February 4, 2014 in Adventure, Animated, Comedy
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11173370_800Fearing the dangers of the outside world, the Crood family lives in a cave where they can hide when needed. Eep, always trying to break her father’s wishes, climbs to the top of the canyon before getting called back down to the cave. While the rest of her family huddles in after story time, Eep witnesses a strange light peeking into the cave in the middle of the night. When she follows it, she meets a boy named Guy, who has the ability to create fire. While her nighttime adventure angers her father, it also saves the family from certain doom, when the canyon collapses in on itself and destroys their home in the process. Now out in the open without their cave to go back to, the Croods have to learn how to defend themselves in a harsh but vast new world. Convincing Guy to let them tag along, the family starts heading toward the tall mountains to find a new home.

Starring: Nicholas Cage (Grug), Emma Stone (Eep), Ryan Reynolds (Guy), Catherine Keener (Ugga), Cloris Leachman (Gran), Clark Duke (Thunk), Chris Sanders (Belt), Randy Thorn (Sandy)

This animated feature included a number of recognizable voices portraying the main characters. Cage put a little of himself into the patriarch of the film, as the hard-headed leader of the Croods had a somewhat smooth-talking element, particularly when he tried to impress the family. Stone has played several strong female roles and this one appeared right up her alley. Reynolds put his own confidence into the concept for Guy, while Keener adapted her calmer acting style for the level-headed mother.

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Under the direction of Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders, The Croods was created to be a colorful adventure of a family finally exploring the world around them. The risk-averse group had huddled in the canyon for nearly their entire lives. The destruction of their home served as a catalyst for Grug to lose control over the family and Eep to convince everyone to get charmed by Guy. The epic struggle became the battle between Guy’s creativity and Grug’s desire to hold onto his patriarch role. His sense of leadership quickly diminished as Guy was able to help them catch dinner, cross dangerous terrain and avoid getting eaten by dangerous creatures.

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The creativity of this film happened to be more in its concept than its characters though. The animators did a fantastic job with creating a lush and vibrant landscape, of course minus the beginning with them still in the cave. The wildlife was diverse and interesting combinations of real and mythic creatures. The problem actually falls more toward the makeup of the characters. There seems to be a stereotyping of what a cartoon family looks like. The father is headstrong and a bit of a brute. The eldest daughter is more of a free spirit and rebellious of her father. The mother is supportive and level-headed. The son is a chip off the old block, as far as being bumbling. The grandmother is quirky. The baby of the family is a wild beast. These are all been there-done that types of characterizations.

All of that said, this film is entertaining and is a solid effort by Dreamworks to continue to producing films that can capture the entire family.

Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5

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