Dreamworks has returned with another family comedy that predates the age of the Flintstones. Like Dreamworks fashion, they bring some stellar stars into their animated films in this case we get Nicholas Cage as the father, Grug, Emma Stone as the elder daughter, Eep, and Ryan Reynolds as Guy. Then we have other notable roles such as Catherine Keener as Ugga, Cloris Leachman as Gran, and Clark Duke as Thunk. You got to love these names since they’re the most caveman names you can think of. Also like Dreamworks fashion, they bring in great animation with comedy, and a story that fits for the kids and the adults. One of the directors, Chris Sanders, also directed How to Train Your Dragon and Lilo & Stitch, where he played Stitch, and voiced the sloth in this movie, Belt.
To sum up the movie short, the film is about the cave family, The Croods, where they must leave their cave after it’s destroyed, enlisting the help of Guy to survive the unknowns of the outside world. Watching this movie, I can’t help but notice all the basics of screenwriting, and how it is executed well in this movie. We see the family in the world they know of, which is staying in the cave, hunting for food, and never go to the outside world. Of course Eep, just like all teenage girls, does not want the lifestyle her father bestows upon her, and wishes to just travel outside the cave to be adventurous. She travels out of the cave, where she meets Guy, who is a human that evolved into less of a brute, and more of using his mind kind of guy, a more modern human if you will. He then showed Eep fire, a horn, and warning he world will end. Once the cave is destroyed, we get into the first act. We see how the world the family knows get turned upside down, and they’ll have to evolve from there.
Then we get some of the character interactions. My favorite is the relationship between Grug and Guy. Grug lived his whole life in fear, following the rules, despite how strong this man really is. Guy is the opposite, going out in finding about new things, and using his mind to develop ways to adapt to situations. The family likes Guy, listening to what he says, while ignoring Grug. Grug gets jealous and angry, so comedy ensues around the situations, such as putting Guy in a log, and Grug trying to act all cool coming up with ideas. Then, of course, Grug gets all fatherly defensive when Eep starts to fall in love with Guy. Eep shows the typical teenage girl characteristics when they see the cute guy. They get all jumble, and girl shy, trying to get the guy to notice her. She also always listens to Guy over Grug, since she likes the guy over her father. Typical teenagers, no respect for their elders. It took awhile since she’s a hundred times stronger than Guy, but they do fall in love with each other eventually. Then we get Gran and Grug, which is the whole mother-in-law, son-in-law relationship where they hate each other, and the running joke in this movie that Grug always gets his hope up when he think she’s dead, in which she replies, “still alive.”
Now, let’s get to some of the animals in the movie. This is a unique world that is created since all the animals are some sorts of mixed hybrid. We got som frilled lizard hyenas, giraffe elephants, a tiger owl, a dog gator, and a saber tooth parrot, which chased the family through a majority of the film. The only normal animal is Belt, which is a purple sloth, sidekick to Guy, keeps his pants up, and provides comedic relief with his high pitch sounds. Some of the animals provide a lot of the comedy in the movie, since their goofiness are made for the kids, but their deaths are also done in a comedic way for the grown ups to enjoy. One death involved a dog gator rolling over a cliff on top of the tree. It really made me laugh since it is a scene that came out of nowhere.
The animation is great. The action set pieces that are put in are always exciting to watch, along with the characters’ animation and face movement. It’s atypical 3D animated film where all the expressions are over exaggerated, but it’s still enjoyable to watch. Not many things that I can really critique about the movie other than the plot is quite predictable, but I enjoyed watching it so much that I didn’t even bother trying to predict what’s going to happen. The actors also gave a good performance in their separate roles. So this is definitely a great animation film to watch with some friends or family.