Nothing is more important to me then sticking by my family. As an adult, I have an even greater appreciation for the choices my parents made when it came to creating what they thought would be a perfect child (along with my older brother). Yes, there were times when I thought they were being cruel by denying me something I wanted like more candy, bigger toys or more time stay up late. Every child goes through that phase of thinking your parents are the worst for not giving you everything. I also understand that this is a major headache for the parents as well. But by working though it, I realized that I never needed those and have gone on to appreciate what my parents had for me.
What’s interesting about the child-parent relationship is that it has stayed the same since the beginning of time. I could picture a cowboy being told by his son that he would rather do something then become a farmer or a daughter to her American revolution mother that she want’s to become involved in politics. The parents and children in each era grow to learn from the old and new rules to spread better ideas. The story of the family in The Croods goes all the way back to the Stone Age.
Meet the cave family. Grug (played by Nicolas Cage) has always sought to protect his loved ones by telling them to stay in the caves and that anything new is dangerous and will kill you. About once a week or two, he’ll take everyone out to gather food. The gang includes Grug’s wife, Ugga, nine year old son Thunk, baby daughter Sandy, and his mother in law granny (played by Cloris Leachman). The black sheep here is the oldest daughter, Eep (played by Emma Stone) who is curious about the outside world.
One night, Eep sneaks out of the cave when she notices a glow coming from the outside. She discovers fire and another caveman named Guy (played by Ryan Reynolds). Unlike her family, Eep sees that Guy prefers to use his brain to come up with new ideas that make him more evolved. An earthquake destroys the Croods cave forcing them to find a new home. Guy tells them to follow the sun and they agree (except for Grug) to follow. So you could say that The Croods is about the world first family road trip.
The Croods are the only other family friendly cave people I know besides the Flintstones. The biggest difference is that this family is not as evolved and more animalistic with their nature. Thankfully, this leads to some of the best physical comedy I’ve seen in a while. Rocks are thrown, animals are eaten, people are crushed in an almost Tex Avery style that really brought me back to my days as a kid. But unlike the Tex Avery animation that was crude and cheap, The Croods animation is fantastic. A caveman story is usually constricted to the same desert-like setting, but this story takes its audience on a vacation though environments that never look the same. This is a gorgeous looking film.
So how does the story hold up? The movie starts out well with each character showing their strengths as they are trying to get their breakfast. It’s up until Guy shows up that the movie looses it’s originality. It goes in the cliché format of the new guy receiving more attention then the older guy, making him jealous. I hate this kind of story, as it’s very predictable with where it’s going to lead up to. I’m sure kids won’t mind and really eat this story up, but parents will probably discover something a little too familiar.
I’ll give this three cave drawings out of five. The Croods do manage to discover fire among the stunning animation and 3D, but could have used a better story around it family sticking together morale.