Most people often look at Dreamworks Animation films as nothing but cheap gags, throwaway jokes, and stunt casting. Well, that may be the case for them in some of their movies (Shark Tale) but as of recent years, they have begun to make some heart-felt and genuinely great movies like Kung Fu Panda, Rise of the Guardians & How to Train Your Dragon. Besides, the stunt casting and all the other aforementioned traits of past Dreamworks movies usually are what Blue Sky Studios actually does that now (unless that Peanuts movie is genuinely good the next year)
Note that with The Croods is the first Dreamworks Animation movie to be distributed by 20th Century Fox after ending their run with Paramount Pictures on Rise of the Guardians, which was on a disappointing note (financially-wise, that is. The movie is still excellent by the way.)
The Neanderthal family the Croods lives in a cave, protected by the father Grug in accordance with the rules of survival that he has learned. His teenage daughter Eep is rebel and questions why the family lives in the dark. One night, Eep sees light and she finds the Homosapiens Guy that can control fire and is intelligent and tells that their world will end. When their cave collapses, Eep seeks out Guy to follow him to the new world. But the stubborn Grug does not accept the change of rules and wants to find another cave to protect his family.
First things first, the story’s setting in the prehistoric times are quite an interesting way to begin the story of this family who kept surviving in the dark, mostly by staying in the cave all the time; holed in with nothing to do but wonder about the world and what could be worth exploring beyond. There is the aspect of Eep, the character who wants to explore outside the cave, see what’s going on with the world but her dad, Grug, is the overprotecting father archetype always put these notions in the family’s head that if you discover something new, eventually you’ll die. The strongest strength of the storyline is the exploration of their surroundings as they travel to the new world with Guy, however, the most expected/predictable part of that is Grug being his overly protective self, not that’s the negative part of the story but it does seem more like “I can spot that a mile away”. The humor, for the most part, was actually pretty funny and it’s something that all families can enjoy without too much adult innuendo that kids won’t understand or anything too pandering to the young audiences (cough *Smurfs 1 and 2* cough) and I couldn’t find anything too crude in there, either that or it’s just not that noticeable.
For characters, there wasn’t anybody I hated although one character grew on me and it was the dad, Grug, whose attitude around Guy was starting to bug me a little but eventually as I said, he grew on to me and as for Guy, I actually like him as he’s the type of character that relies on his brain rather than brawns, a contrast to Grug but eventually combining them both later on really pays off. Eep is also another character that happen to like as she relates to most people wanting more out of life than just being in that one particular place. The rest of the family characters are also okay, too.
For animation, the artwork and animation movements were crafted for 3D and very fluid. However, I could say more about that but unfortunately, the time I got to see this movie in 2013, it was only in 2D showings but if you got a 3D TV (mainly anybody living off well, so basically no one), buy that on 3D Blu-ray.
The voice-acting work was pretty exceptional, too, as there isn’t many characters to voice so it doesn’t feel too crowded. Ryan Reynolds playing Guy might be the only character he plays to fit the part and is genuinely funny when he needs to be (although it didn’t help with that other Dreamworks movie he was in later that year – Turbo) and as for Nicolas Cage—yessir, that Nicolas Cage—the guy was actually great in this role because most of the time, I forgot Nicolas Cage in the movie and also Emma Stone, as lovely as she is, fits her voice into the character of Eep. Other notables (or the other three) are Catherine Keener as the mom, Clark Duke as the son and Cloris Leachman as the mother-in-law.
FINAL VERDICT: The Croods, to me, is an enjoyable Dreamworks flick. Maybe not up to par with Kung Fu Panda & Rise of the Guardians but more like Megamind or Monsters vs. Aliens it is something to watch with the family to have a good time with.
And with that said, The Croods get the grade of:
Low SOLID B.
The Croods is available to own on DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and Digital. It is also available on Netflix for Streaming.
And until then, this is MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.
THE CROODS – courtesy of Dreamworks Animation LLC. / 20th Century Fox