The Croods

8 Overall Score
Visuals: 9/10
Story: 7/10
Appeal: 8/10

The Croods successfully creates a strong visual aesthetic, and is bolstered by excellent character development and all-ages humor.

The story, although displaying much depth, lacks originality or uniquity.

I never thought that I would ever fall in love with cavemen. They’re smelly, uneducated, and unevolved. Plus, as highly derivative and individualistic as a society we are today, these stick-to-their-guns, stick-together people are hard to relate to. But The Croods, Dreamworks Animation’s latest film offering, hits the right tunes as it rolls through its story of a prehistoric caveman family.

This film tells the story of the “Croods,” a family of cave people who – led by Grug (Nicolas Cage) – are taught to stay in their cave home, and they are quick to develop the idea that anything new or different is bad, and that if they are to venture out too far from the cave, they are assured absolute death. But Grug’s daughter, Eep (Emma Stone), has the exact opposite sentiment. One day, she escapes the cave as an attempt to separate herself from her father and her father’s overprotective, introverted feelings, and she runs into Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a matured, outdoorsy-type who thinks the world will soon come to an end. After the Croods’ cave collapses and his prophesy is seemingly coming true, Guy is able to convince the family to go on an adventure past their homeland – to a place called “tomorrow.”

The Croods - Promo 1Now, “tomorrow” is more of a symbolic representation than an actual place, but that’s where Dreamworks’ subtle thematic magic takes over. While the plot – despite being relatable – is a bit overused (rebellious teenager, over-concerned parents, characters with differing opinions), it’s able to keep the audience’s interest for its full 90 minutes. The film’s middle is a predictable family trip story, but that’s okay, because it then develops into a finale that is ruled by depth, enlightenment, and triumph, and it’s both exhilarating and heartwarming. Plus, it’s sure to satisfy both the younger and older audiences. The jokes are aimed towards all-ages, and although much of the film’s humor comes in slapstick fashion, most of it is fairly amusing. In addition, the film’s adventurous feel and swift pacing keeps from scenes feeling either overwhelming or underwhelming. Although much of the thematic unraveling comes in the ending, it doesn’t detract from the movie’s wild atmosphere and evolution into modern day society: we’re ambitious and idealistic, albeit lacking togetherness. Also, if it wasn’t for the Croods, we wouldn’t have hugs, so that’s an added bonus.

The Croods - Screenshot 1One of the biggest complaints with animated films, especially by Dreamworks, is that their use of acclaimed celebrity voices is just a gimmick, and that the characters these actors portray lack depth of development. However, with The Croods, Cage, Stone, and Reynolds fully become their characters, and the audience gets lost in their augmentation and struggles with each other. And Cage, whose character experiences the most change throughout the film, really steals the show. While the film’s producers obviously went for more fun, familial relatability rather than going for accuracy in depicting cave people, it’s this empathetic approach that makes The Croods great. In addition to the excellent cast and character development, The Croods wraps up all of the eccentricity, relatability, and confliction with outstanding visuals. The movie takes full advantages of modern technology. Even when watching it in 2-D, the landscapes pop, the profuse colors and textures flourish, and the wide array of angular displays pulls the viewer closer to the film. And considering the heart that this film has, the viewer is pulled much closer to its emotional core in addition to its visual core.

The Croods is a success because it is a completely enthralling film. The characters are likable, the visuals are dazzling, and the plot is thick and retains intrigue for most of its runtime. Not to mention that the cast of voice actors is arguably the best that Dreamworks has compiled in over a decade (well, maybe second to How To Train Your Dragon). Although it’s tough to pit The Croods up against some of Dreamworks’ best animated films, such as Kung Fu Panda and Shrek, it’s able to topple both Brave and Wreck-It Ralph in terms of lasting appeal and overall cinematic value. That goes to prove that the company is doing something right, and with that, they’re continually improving their reputation in the process.

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Author: Tim Dodderidge View all posts by
I'm a student at the University of Kansas hoping to major in journalism. I love Christopher Nolan films, eating at Taco Bell, and playing indoor soccer. I also like to watch How I Met Your Mother and enjoy writing poetry.

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