'The Croods' Movie Review: 'The Croods' Explores Life One Lesson At A Time
An animated story about a stone age family undoubtedly makes the classic Flintstones pop up in your head. The question that arises is, of course, "Can this story by Dreamworks, with practically the same stone-age setting, challenge the old one?" Pixar has proven they can make a funny story out of just about anything from bugs to cars to even the retired, elderly grumpy men with walking aids. But Dreamworks usually turns to the slightly younger audience, making stories about animated animals. So what do we expect from this new "old" story?
The concept here is that everything – and I mean everything – is new. The characters in this film, the six members of a pre-historic family, are so unsophisticated they haven’t even felt raindrops on their skin or seen the stars at night. This is because they are piled up into a human heap at night, safe in their cave, with a big boulder guarding the entrance. They give ”inexperience” a new meaning. The story is basically about how this family of cave men/women/kids discovers what being human is all about.
The family is lead by the over-protective proud father Grug (Nicholas Cage). Due to some very unfortunate cirumstances involving a natural disaster, they are forced out of their cave and have to change their utterly simple way of life to survive. The young, curious daughter Eep (Emma Stone) is tired of how they "survive" from one day to the next instead of live, and when she sneaks out at night and meets a young, quite different looking man, Guy (Ryan Reynolds), the story starts snowballing. Guy becomes the family's guide to salvation as they are forced to find a new place to live. Guy also involuntarily takes the helm from Grug in leading and protecting the family, both geographically and symbolically, into the land of "Tomorrow."
This group of brutes has to endure many dangers and hardships along the way. For the first time they experience a completely new environment. The world they move around in is a pre-historic one, but it sure seems like a whole new planet because there are strange creatures like walking whales, crocodile dogs and giant cuddly cougars.
This movie is for the younger audience. They will laugh at every silly face and move throughout the movie. The more mature audience demand a little more in terms of storyline and visual impressions. Fortunately the visuals are sometimes stunning, and there is also a sub-story involving Grug’s struggle to keep his position as the head and protector of the family. This is also the funniest part of the story for those over eleven-years-old. There is a lot of action packed in the story from the very beginning, and we follow the group of cave men as they slide, stilt, swim, run and boulder their way towards the safe haven. A lot of inventing is done on the way, since they know practically nothing about anything. They invent belts, the hug and the Uggs. The evolution is exponential, and in just days they learn things that took humanity thousands of years to accomplish in real history. This is a perfect pace for a PG-picture.
The 3D is used a lot to show off the fabulous creations, making mother nature look more like something you would find in a fantasy world. Every plant and creature is gigantic and extremely aggressive, making this pre-historic world a lot more colorful than the history books have given us reason to think. There is bit too much focus on the display of fantastic landscapes and freaky beasts, but the world certainly provides some funny obstacles for the family to overcome. When father Grug tries to be new-thinking and inventive he looks more caveman than ever.
The result of Dreamworks's efforts is impressive, however not as emotionally involving as some previous productions. Important lessons to the audience are that ignorance is not the same as stupidity, and change isn't necessarily a bad thing. The message to the young audience and their parents is: Don't be a Dinosaur!
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