Movie: The Croods

The Croods is a fairly fast paced action adventure story that is essentially the caveman version of a road trip movie.

It tells the story of a displaced family, the Croods, forced to leave the safety of their cave in order to survive a cataclysmic event upon the world they've come to know.

Their journey is guided by a young stranger who shows them that there's much more to life than staying safe.

If you like slap stick, cartoon humor and can suspend disbelief far beyond anything you may have seen in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull then this may be just your thing.

It's a film filled with interesting ideas at specific moments as well as quite a number of fantastical prehistoric animals and plants I don't recall seeing in a science journal anywhere, ever (though this may be due to the over the top design to make them more colorful and stylised).

Nicolas Cage does a great job voicing the Dad, Grug. Emma Stone is convincing as troublesome teen, Eep and Ryan Reynolds as Guy plays the knowledgeable stranger and ideas man just right. The rest of the cast have their moments but the story pretty much revolves around these three.

Dad, Grug is the 'one rule', straight laced protector of the family. Eep suspects there is so much more to life than what Grug has taught them. Guy comes along, on his own quest to out run impending doom, and shows Eep and her family a whole new way of thinking as they join forces to find somewhere safe to resettle.

I do have a few criticisms but if you haven't seen the film stop reading now as the rest of this post contains spoilers. None of my thoughts should stop you from seeing the film. It's fun, laugh out loud and you'll have a good time.

Spoilers (Thoughts about the film)...

From the moment Guy appears it's obvious he's different, more worldly, knowledgeable and further advanced with his technical skill and know how. It's not just that he knows about fire, its so many other things as well, like shoes, deception, trap making, pets etc.

The biggest question I had on my mind that the movie never really answers is where did Guy come from and how did he get so advanced? He does take a moment to tell a bit of his own back story but only how his family died, with no information on who they really were and why he knows so much.

I also kind of wondered why Guy thought the mountain they were headed to was likely to be safer than anywhere else given the whole landscape around the Crood's cave literally fell apart revealing a very colorful tropical landscape below them. Hence they were already on higher ground and apparently living next to paradise without knowing about it due to living in a deep valley.

Guy's whole logic was to follow the light, which they never really made it to, and I'm not sure why where they did end up wasn't subject to everything falling apart like the rest of the landscape either? Did they just get lucky about their choice of destination?

Dad, Grug, is depicted as a man with few ideas, except there's a whole sequence in the film where he comes up with some really creative inventions. Perhaps it took Guy to get him using that part of his brain but considering just how creative he is, you'd think he'd have a much better plan for hunting food than the one displayed at the start of the film.

Once the landscape changes into the more colorfull, tropical landscape with the more fantastical creatures all I could think about was Pandora from Avatar rather than prehistoric Earth. It seems like, for some of the creatures at least, the film makers took some inspiration from Pandora.

The film resolves its self reasonably well. You won't be wondering what happens next or if they will make a sequel. Though this is DreamWorks, with the success of The Croods at the box office so far, you can bet a sequel is already planned. They got four films out of Ice Age - which also resolved its self fairly well at the end.

My only other thought was from an animation point of view. 3D animation has come such a long way. You don't even really think about how all these characters are computer modeled and animated anymore. You just sit back and enjoy a good story.

There were a few moments towards the end of this film where the characters looked convincingly real and felt like they were in a real world environment rather than a computer generated one. Those moments really stood out to me because it didn't feel like I was looking at computer generated characters at all. I could almost believe that they actually existed as real cave people.

As I said though, it's a fun movie. Nothing really to complain about. Not even Grug suddenly becoming a cat person with a seemingly trained cat that wanted to eat his whole family earlier on in the film.

Enjoyable.

5 comments:

  1. I finally got to see The Croods last Thurs, as they had moved the time slots to evenings for some reason. Now with it being the second week of the school holidays it was back to daytime.

    I quite enjoyed the film - it kept my interest - I only caught myself dozing for a few seconds a couple of times, but that's not unusual for me. I think it was a bit like the Harrison Ford film Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, as no-one got any broken bones or even scratches considering the hard knocks and falls they had! Their stature seemed bigger and bulkier though, them being cave creatures/men etc so maybe they could take more!

    I don't know where that boy got his knowledge from either, as also they didn't seem to have seen a large body of water, but there must have been water for them to drink. They lived on very little too, mainy egg yolks and they did kill a bird I think.

    I forgot about it being in 3D, but is the differenc that they look more rounded rather than a flat cartoon image as in Disney? All in all quite a good film. I'd give it 4 out of 5.

    I was worried about there being a lot of school kids but I went to the 12pm session (there was one at 10-30am) and there was only a handful of people in at about 12-50pm, but more came in later, some just in time for the film which began about 12-15pm. It filled up then.

    I expected it to be rowdy with badly behaved children from slack, not-knowing-how-to-deal-with, parents, but even though they were coming in with three and four children carrying their drinks and popcorn etc, they were all very well-behaved, and reasonably quiet for the film. Nice to see.

    They showed all trailors of forth-coming animated films including Peter Pan. I enjoyed that film, and could see it again, infact all the Disney films. Did we take you all to see Peter Pan or maybe just the two of you before Carl?

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  2. I forgot to say, did you notice in the credits at the end near the beginning of them that John Cleese did the story with two others that I don't know?

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    1. I wouldn't have thought you'd head off to see a film that's really for kids (or families) but it's good that you did. We saw this film because the film we were originally going to see wasn't playing at the cinema we went to (must have read the session times online just before they were about to change them to the new week).

      Kathy likes Nicolas Cage and I like Ryan Reynolds so that's how we decided to see The Croods.

      It's funny that you started dozing off in a couple of places but still consider it a good film. I get what you mean though. I've been known to doze of even on films I really like if I'm feeling a bit tired.

      Anyway, I did notice John Cleese has a writing credit on the Croods, which was a little surprising. Didn't know he wrote for anything other than his own projects.

      I don't actually remember going to see Peter Pan, though I do remember other Disney films. We saw quite a few before Carl was born.

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  3. It said the film was for the whole family and in my Hoyts Newsletter when I looked at the movie info they have some comments where people have left a review. One said it was a film which could be enjoyed by children or adults alike, but I'd seen enough on a trailer to know whether I'd like it or not.

    I only dozed for a few seconds so didn't really miss anything. I thought you'd gone to see it for the animation side of it. I didn't know who was going to be doing the voices 'til I saw the credits. I only knew Nicholas Cage, but couldn't have said if that was his voice or not. Not familiar with it.

    I expect you know the story of Peter Pan? It's worth going to see whether you've got children with you or not. We went to see 'The Aristocats' and we bought the LP with the music. I know we saw 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' with Angela Lansbury but that wasn't animated, but I think there was a combination in that with an animated character.

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    1. They always say animated films are for the whole family so parents will take their kids ;-)

      Seriously though, the better animated films usually do have plenty in them that people of all ages can enjoy. Kathy and I enjoyed it.

      Ordinarily I wait for animated movies to be shown on TV. Especially since most animation is 3D animation these days... which is not a big area of interest for me on an artistic level.

      I do know the story of Peter Pan, just don't recall us going to see that one. Pretty sure we saw Snow white, Robin Hood, Cinderella and maybe even Pinocchio too (not too sure on the last one).

      Remember seeing Bedknobs and Broomsticks - which has whole sequences of live action mixed with animated scenes and characters - some of the characters (particularly the King)looked like they were reused in Robin Hood.

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