The Croods (2013)

The Croods

The Croods Review

The Croods is a 2013 DreamWorks animated film directed by Chris Sanders and starring Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds. It is a pleasant adventure comedy and a respectable film in its own right.

It follows the family of cavemen in the prehistoric time period. They go in search of a new home after meeting a young nomad inventor. But the conflict lies in the father’s frustration and jealousy of the stranger. That is certainly the best aspect of the movie along with the animation of course, but more on that later. Although it does seem familiar, the conflict is really well depicted and complex as the father is not only jealous, but also is frustrated because of the romance between his daughter and Guy. However, the largest issue here is his inability to accept change and to adapt to the new environments and new lifestyles. I loved that complex theme here not only because it is fitting both in its time period and for any time actually, but also because it is so well explored and so moving.

I loved the character of Grug and he is one of the highlights for his troubles and is also extremely realistic in style. Eep is also very good, albeit typical. Guy is interesting and has his moments, but is unfortunately more of a plot device than an actual human being. Ugga us underdeveloped and Sandy is sweet, but also underused. However, Thunk is really funny and though definitely a clichéd DreamWorks comic relief, he is still funny. But Gran is just spectacular and such a terrific comic relief. She is just hilarious and the arguments between her and Grug are just hilarious and those are definitely the comedic highlights here. And all of the animals are well utilized as well.

The Croods has its problems. It is nothing new in terms of storytelling and a more dramatic instead of comedic approach would have made this movie better in my opinion. Another problem is the overreliance on impossible scenarios with some escape plans being just ridiculous (the puppetry instantly comes to mind). And the beginning is so inferior to the rest of the picture due to some annoying score choices and a dragged, slower pacing.

But it is overall really good and quite underrated actually as it is one of the company’s best films of the decade in my opinion. It has its moments with the cave painting scene being awe-inspiring and immensely beautiful and the ending being very satisfying. I liked how they managed fire exploration and the setting is wonderfully put to use. The movie has excellent world-building and just fantastic attention to detail with many animals and landscapes well explored.

The animation is gorgeous. It is one of the best animations ever for DreamWorks as it is just brilliant. The colors are bright and pleasant, but the imagery is mesmerizing and just so beautiful to watch. The whole movie is arresting in its visuals, but also grounded in reality. It even has a couple of poetic and very inspired moments with the use of color and music being incredible. It is crisp and polish and always looks so professional and amazing to behold. The details are great due to its meticulous approach and water, fire, sky and many landscapes are all very well realized. But the character design is incredibly good. I loved it! They thankfully made the characters look so real as they never made them look too pretty. They are rough and strong and also big in stature which are all the characteristics of the prehistoric people. But they still retain they human qualities and that is great.

The Croods has fine performances as well with Nicolas Cage being surprisingly good and fits the role perfectly. Ryan Reynolds isn’t as memorable, but Emma Stone is really good and she did such a good job with Eep. The tone is too comedic, but at least the humor is good for the most part. I really liked it as it made me laugh many times with some extremely hilarious parts. The family feud between Grug and Gran produced the most laughs out of me without a doubt. I liked the dialogue here and the message is good. The character development is quite solid and the conflict is mature and relatable. The action scenes are well done, but could have been more exciting nonetheless. The score is also one of the better from the studio with a couple of really inspired scenes. Although annoying in first act, it gets much better as it progresses. The running time is suitable and the movie is mostly well paced, although the structure is at times admittedly too episodic. It is imaginative and works wonderfully as an adventure movie. It isn’t original and is predictable, but it is still very entertaining, energetic and mostly charming and heartwarming. Its heart is most certainly in the right place. I found this movie to be one of DreamWorks Animation’s most pleasant, most entertaining and most underappreciated features. This was such a great time for them as it came after another underrated gem ‘Rise of the Guardians‘ and both movies are really good and interesting. But the problem with both of them is that they are not particularly memorable and don’t leave a lasting impression which is a shame and their biggest detractor.

The Croods is such an underappreciated and fun flick that is one of the most entertaining from the studio. It has an unoriginal and predictable plot, but the characters are well developed, the conflict is well realized, its heart is evident, the score is good and the animation is breathtaking and quite inspired. It is a charming, funny and quite moving film.

My Rating – 4

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      Interior & Exterior Stills from The Croods

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