I never understood the perception that animated films are only for kids. You could even make an argument some animations are made more for adults. A good animations appeals to kids and adults. 2012 was a good year of animated films with standouts like Paranorman, Frankenweenie and my favorite Wreck It Ralph (which was far better than Brave!!!). The Croods kicks off 2013 but how much does it succeed?
The Croods is directed by Chris Sanders who directed How To Train Your Dragon which is one of the most underrated animated films (He also was the voice of Stitch). In The Croods we’re given a unorginal story that faces the task of being fresh. You have the typical overprotective dad Grug played perfect by Nicholas Cage, and of course the rebellious teenage daughter played very well by Emma Stone. Without these two actors voicing these characters I would’ve been far less interested in the story but they do a great job. The rest of the characters are the dumb brother, crazy younger sister who acts like a dog (that has some surprisingly funny moments), the mother who is a voice of reason at times, and the classic in-law grandmother that Grug has cleverly funny moments with. Grug is always telling his family stories that preach that anything new is bad and will kill you (original huh). Emma stone’s character Eep is of course curious so she ventures off one night and meets Guy(played Ryan Reynolds) who has plays his character very well. Guy tells Eep about the end of the world. Throughout the film Eep and Guy build a relationship but it doesn’t ever fully develop. The movie then takes a turn as the Croods begin a road trip along with Guy to escape the end of the world.
The movie develops its themes throughout this road trip and keeps your interest. There’s a fairly stretched out setup that I felt was used just to show off the great visuals which I can understand. It just takes a bit longer than I would have wanted to get to this point. Most of the character development is done during this trip. This is where I began to get involved in the story even though it’s fairly obvious what they are getting at. The family finds itself in constant situations of death but always finds a creative way to escape which I applaud the film for being fresh in that sense. Because they make you like these characters you do care if they survive. The banter between characters is really where this film thrives. Grug’s constant fighting with his mother in-law was the highlight for me. The movie completely understands the classic family dynamic which makes the road trip all the better. I never had to ask myself “Ok, when are they gonna get there?” because they made this basic trip so fresh and funny. It has that adventurous tone that I was hoping I would see.
Visually the film is honestly one of the better animations I’ve seen and it knows that because it shows of its visuals multiple times. They made great choices with the colors and movement of the characters which makes the long setup easier to get through. Dreamworks has been Pixars little brother for a while but visually this is great as any Pixar movie. I didn’t see it in 3D because it usually is just a cash grab but I think 3D does have a place in animation so you might wanna check it out in 3D to get the full effect of the visuals.
The Croods takes a story we’ve seen so many times before and with the help of good voice acting, visuals, and funny characters makes itself fresh. The film drills its message into your head which gets to be a bit much but it pays off in the end. The ending to films is what makes a film for me. If a film makes me care what happens to these characters and I feel real emotions then it has succeeded. I genuinely wanted things to work out right for this family and I wasn’t sure how it could work out but it does perfectly. I could feel the water works coming at the end and whenever a movie makes me care that much it has succeeded. Kids will find the slapstick humor funny and like the visuals while adults will enjoy the more intelligent humor and feel the emotion because it’s relatable. It’s a fun animated movie with a lot of heart that everyone will enjoy.