Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
I tell you man, with each subsequent released animated film, the animation, the look, the textures all get better and better.  Dreamworks 'The Croods' is amazing to look at, and could very well be the best looking animated movie ever made, until the next one that is, because uneasy is the head that wears 'The Best Looking Animated Movie Crown' as this technology is one unstoppable force.  What doesn't seem to get better, and relies very little on technology, is storytelling.  Now we're not saying that 'The Croods' tells a poor story, not really, it's just that the visual technology looks to be more important than the storytelling in this movie, storytelling which, at best, was rudimentary.

Actress Emma Stone narrates for as the cave girl Eep.  Eep is a young cave woman who just wants to see what's out in the world, but alas her father Grug (Nicholas Cage) assures her and the rest of the family that the only thing out in the world, beyond the cave, is certain death.  Since the Croods look to be the only family left standing in this caveman neighborhood, we tend to think that Grug is correct in his assessment. 

One day however, during an unsanctioned exploratory journey outside the cave, Eep runs into the young man Guy (Ryan Reynolds), more hominid to Eep's borderline Neanderthal, and Guy in addition to having all kinds of cool gadgets like fire, also has a warning.  The Earth is ending.  He's seen it, and its coming fast.  As far as Neanderthal cave girls go, Eep is kind of hot so Guy does offer to take Eep along with him, but Eep has a family to tend to and lets the young man go on his merry way.

Sure enough, as Guy predicted, the continental drift is underway and the world as the Croods know it is ending.  It was touch and go getting out of that mess, but now the Croods are in a
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brand new world, the likes of which they have never seen before.  Grug thinks the family should find a cave and hide out.  It's worked in the past.  Guy, who has made his way back to the Croods to help out, insures them that the end is still encroaching and they need to keep moving. 

Poor Grug has a lot to deal with right now.  First there's his daughter who obviously likes Guy, and vice versa… we won't even begin to touch on the genetic dangers of this semi-cross species romance… but this what makes Grug very nervous. Then there's Guy and his developed brain which is trumping Grug and his superior strength at every turn, and then there is the rest of his family, which includes his wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), son Thunk (Clark Duke) and his mother-in-law Gran (Cloris Leachman) who are starting to see that his way isn't really the best way.  This all makes Grug sad. 

But there is no time for anger because danger, be it from the creatures or the Earth itself is just a step away, and eventually Grug and Guy are going to have to combine their respective gifts to save them all.  And I imagine saving the human race since I'm guessing Eep and Guy are Cro-Mag Adam and Eve. 

At the end of the day, 'The Croods' and its ilk are kids movies.  It is preferable, of course, that the adults who take the kids to these movies and the adults who like to watch animated films are enjoying themselves as well, but if the kids in the theater are having a good time with the movie, then I'm calling the movie a success.  'The Croods' with its reliance on action sequences, vibrant colors that pop off the screen… even in 2D which is how I saw it… flawlessly fluid motion capture animation and amazing character design… the kids in the theater where I saw 'The Croods' had a ball.  How could they not? 

Now this isn't to say that I sat there stone faced while watching this movie as it certainly had its moments, and it was entertaining for the most part, but pretty colors and fluid animation just don't have the same effect on me than say it would have on an eight year old.  So that being said, the story supporting these pretty colors and fancy images did leave a little to be desired.  Again, not to say that the story is poor, just uninspired.    The tale that we are being told follows a very familiar pattern, has very familiar characters, has a very familiar narrative arc leading to the expected conclusion.  On one hand we can understand why Dreamworks has no intention on reinventing the wheel, since this largely works and a boatload of money coming in is almost a lock, but it does make for a… familiar… and somewhat tired ninety minutes worth of movie watching.

But as we said earlier 'The Croods' is a kids a movie and I haven't seen a kid yet that hasn't really enjoyed their time spent with The Croods.  But then they also play in mud and have the tendency to pee on themselves.  Gotta factor that in too. 
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