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Movie Review: The Croods

March 22, 2013

The Croods PosterThe Croods – A 20th Century Fox Release

http://www.thecroodsmovie.com/

Release Date: March 22nd, 2013

Rated G for cartoon action

Running time: 98 minutes

Kirk De Micco (dir.)

Chris Sanders (dir.)

Kirk De Micco (screenplay)

Chris Sanders (screenplay)

Alan Silvestri (music)

Nicolas Cage as Grug (voice)

Emma Stone as Eep (voice)

Ryan Reynolds as Guy (voice)

Catherine Keener as Ugga (voice)

Cloris Leachman as Gran (voice)

Clark Duke as Thunk (voice)

Chris Sanders as Belt (voice)

Randy Thom as Sandy (voice)

The Croods

©20th Century Fox.  All Rights Reserved.

Belt, Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and Eep (Emma Stone) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods.

Our reviews below:

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The Croods Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Although the endearing clan at the heart of The Croods is a group of cavemen, they are just like any other family.  As they take a road trip together, there are ample opportunities to drive each other crazy, but this journey ultimately brings them all closer together.  This is the premise of the latest from DreamWorks Animation, an amusing cartoon adventure with a touching message about the importance of family.

Grug (Nicolas Cage) lives his life in fear of the unknown, desperately trying to protect his wife Ugga (Catherine Keener) and their children, the rebellious Eep (Emma Stone), the dimwitted Thunk (Clark Duke) and the biting baby Sandy (Randy Thom).  But when Eep leaves their cave and meets the charming Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who introduces her to a magical thing called fire, the whole family is sent on a journey to find a new home, with mother-in-law Gran (Cloris Leachman) along for the ride.  Together they must learn that a life lived through fear is merely surviving and not actually living.

Although The Croods is a little light in terms of plot and it never reaches the same heights of greatness as How To Train Your Dragon, which remains a highpoint for DreamWorks Animation, it’s still a lot of fun.  The animation is always impressive and the 3D is actually used to great effect.  The look of the characters is appealingly stylized, and the landscapes and backgrounds are often breathtaking, as they appear to stretch out in front of the glasses.  The voice work is also uniformly good, with Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds all delivering standout performances that bring the characters to life, while also managing to be recognizable as caricatures of the actors.

Those of all ages are also sure to enjoy the array of fantasy creatures on display, including an incredibly appealing monkey named Belt, who often resides around the top of Guy’s pants.  With good animation, charming characters and a surprising amount of heart in the last act, The Croods is sure to entertain modern families wanting to hang out with a relatable prehistoric brood.

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The Croods Review by Erin V.  

**3/4 (out of 4)

The Croods tells the story of a family of six cavemen (and women) who live by one rule – don’t do anything new.  So when the strong-minded teenage daughter of the family, Eep (Emma Stone), ventures out of the cave one night and meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), her father Grug (Nicolas Cage) freaks out.  Because change is bad and will only lead to bad things.

Sure enough, their cave is soon destroyed by a large falling boulder that calved from the cliff face.  With no more home and Guy telling them that the world as they know it is about to be destroyed in a mess of lava, they have no choice but to follow him across the country to new grounds.  It’s a cartoonish family road trip comedy and for that it works.

The 3D is quite well done, especially when used in scenes with embers from the newly discovered fire Guy shows them how to create, as well as scenes with volcanic ash, or brightly coloured flying creatures.  The design of the film is very stylized, with tons of fantasy and strange animals running around, but it is fun to watch on screen.

While the story is fairly simple, the voice cast does a good job bringing the material to life, and overall the film will be enjoyed by family audiences.  It is just lighthearted, colourful fun, with a nice touch of heart.

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The Croods Review by Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

The Croods is an entertaining kids movie about family.  The title family are the last remaining Neanderthals, a human subspecies that eventually blended in with modern humans.  The Crood family has survived by holing themselves up in a cave.  However, this is not living, so teenager Eep (Emma Stone) decides to leave the cave, much to the dismay of her father, Grug (Nicolas Cage).  Outside, Eep falls for a modern human, Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who knows how to make fire.  He also detects an upcoming earthquake, which forces the Crood family to leave the cave and discover the world.

One of the things that will appeal to both kids and the young at heart is the whimsical fantasy world that the Croods discover.  From sea creatures on land (flying sea turtles, walking hippowhales, land coral), to cuddly friends (Belt the monkey, Douglas the skunk-dragon, lizard-dogs and an adorably huge rainbow coloured sabretooth cat), to colourful flowers and tall trees, this fantasy world is fun.  In this day of of fear and inspired nature deficit disorder, the message of “get out of the cave” is quite relevant.

But what really makes The Croods a great family film is the value it puts on the family.  Some of the most touching moments come between Eep and Grug as they learn to reconcile their differences and work together.  The journey brings the entire Crood family, from the youngest to the oldest, together.

While The Croods won’t win any Oscars, it remains a harmless and pleasant movie that those of any age can enjoy.

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The Croods Review by Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Those of us who grew up enjoying The Flinstones know how amusing prehistoric folk can be.  The Croods centres around the last remaining Neanderthal family way back when told from the point of view of the teenage daughter Eep (Emma Stone).  Kept under protective watch by Dad, Grug (Nicolas Cage), Eep longs for the day when she can get out of the cave and explore the big bright world she knows is out there somewhere.

As Grug keeps telling his family – wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), teenage son Thunk (Clark Duke), mother-in-law Gran (Cloris Leachman) and non-verbal feral baby Sandy – “never not be afraid” and “curiosity is bad.”  Wanting to explore the world is just plain dangerous.  So being a rebellious teenager, Eep sneaks out at night and finds the light in the form of a more evolved human, a fire-toting male named Guy (Ryan Reynolds).  Sparks fly and Eep and her family are forced to move out of their comfort zone and into a brand new world.

The Crood family learn to work together facing earthquakes, scary creatures and opening up to something Guy teaches them – ideas.  Exploring and facing fears can be fun the family discovers.  The post earthquake world turns out to be bright and colourful and the creatures not as scary as imagined.  Kids are going to love creatures such as Guy’s waist-clinging monkey named Belt and Thunk’s new pet lizard-dog, Douglas.

There’s a definite sense of adventure and fun in The Croods.  A lot of the action borders on silly, so it never gets too scary for little ones.  With the solid message of family looking out for one another, The Croods is a nice choice for families to enjoy together.  This is amusing, light entertainment with a solid voice cast, and lots of brightly coloured creatures to keep the youngest viewers happy.

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The Croods Review by Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

The Croods is a cave family. The father Grug (Nicolas Cage), mother Ugga (Catherine Keener), son Thunk (Clark Duke) and Gran (Cloris Leachman) all believe that fearing the unknown is the only strategy for survival. Only the teenage daughter Eep (Emma Stone) challenges this, especially after meeting Guy (Ryan Reynolds), an orphan who introduces them to fire and helps them to evacuate their land before it is destroyed by tectonic disaster.

As a former science teacher, I hope I can be forgiven for my disappointment with this film. I realize that it is clearly aimed at kids, who will no doubt enjoy it. What bothers me is that it makes no effort to be realistic, not even as much as the Ice Age films for example, with wildlife that seems to pay homage to the Wild Things of Maurice Sendak rather than attempt to depict anything that ever really existed.

Admittedly The Croods is beautiful to look at, especially in 3D, and the small cast is all good, especially Cage and Stone, obviously typecast with characters that (in a Neanderthal way) resemble them. There are some memorable moments, including the opening hunting sequence that plays out like a football game, and the closing scenes. More often however it relies on cheap gags and much of it just didn’t ring true for me, even for a fantasy film, that with a bit more imagination could have been a lot better.

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Consensus: Although The Croods is a little light on actual plot, this is a fun family film with a good heart, that is carried by excellent animation, charmingly stylized characters and strong voice acting from Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone.  **3/4 (Out of 4)

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