Life is tough, but prehistoric life is even tougher. Imagine climbing an impossible rockface, moving enormous boulders, and fighting off giant dangerous creatures–and that’s just preparing breakfast. The Croods’ lives are about to get a whole lot harder as the continents start to drift apart, forcing them out of their cave and into the great unknown. While they may have it rough, the audience does not; The Croods is simple, funny, and entirely family-friendly.
The Croods tells the story of the world’s first family road trip. When their cave is destroyed, the Crood family must embark on a comedy adventure into strange and spectacular territory in search of a new home. As if patriarch Grug (Cage) didn’t already have enough to handle, it goes from bad to worse when they encounter an imaginative nomad named Guy (Reynolds.) With Guy’s help the Croods conquer their fear of the outside world and discover that they have exactly what it takes to survive – each other.
— © Paramount
The plot themes in The Croods have been around since the beginning of humanity. There are conflicts between a father and teenage daughter, new ways versus old ways, and brains versus brawn. These are simple concepts that relate to audience members of all ages. However, Dreamworks never really goes outside of the box to beef up the plot. Basically, we are given a perpetual journey/chase movie, albeit a beautiful one. Coming from writer/director Chris Sanders who created the hits Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon, I was expecting a little more from the story.
I’m personally not a fan of low humor, like repetitive mother-in-law jokes and slapstick. The Croods has this kind of humor in spades, yet they manage to keep the comedy feeling fresh and a little shocking. Being cavemen they can withstand a great deal of physical abuse, allowing them to fall off cliffs, get crushed by boulders, and slammed in the face with ferocious intensity–but making it through with out a scratch. Having a quality cast really boosts the few moments of actual wit. Nicolas Cage has become a superb voice actor and really goes to town as the brutish father, Grug. Emma Stone sounds a little too old to still be playing a teenager, but pulls off Eep’s adventurous attitude. The character that surprised me the most was that of Gran. Cloris Leachman is a total crack-up playing a seemingly frail old gal that can take on prehistoric beasts just as well as she can take on lifestyle changes.
If you don’t mind spending the extra money to see The Croods in 3D, the experience is worth it. The animation is stunning, and while there are a few moments where 3D gags are pulled, they don’t feel overused or gimmicky. The environments are stunning, with ridiculous creatures and landscapes that teem with unusual life and dramatic colors. It’s like we’ve been dropped on an alien planet that has elements of the world we know sprinkled in. Really, the 3D creates a dimensionally diverse world for the Croods and insures that this will be one movie the audience won’t soon forget.
Even though the plot is lacking the depth we’ve seen from other PG animated films, the laughs never stop and the animation works to the humor’s benefit. The Croods is a comical adventure of behemoth proportions that the whole family will enjoy.