We. Are. Faaammmmiiilllyyy!!

The Croods (2013)
A Review by Ben Hunter
4½ Out Of 5 Stars
March 22, 2013

“Get to the Point Ben!” I absolutely LOVED the family dynamic and how it played in relation to the modern day relationships that we relate with today!  After following this family as they learn what a hug is, it makes you want to hug yours!

Lead by the father Grug (Nicolas Cage), meet a "colorfully" animated family known as "The Croods" as they experience "change" for the first time, and are forced to deal with it!

“No … … … … … no more darkness … … no more hiding … … no more caves … … …. What’s the point of all this?  … To follow the light! We’re going to jump on the sun and ride it to tomorrow!  I don’t have many ideas, but I have my strength … and it’s all we need!  Don’t hide, run!  You’ll make it to tomorrow!  I’ll take that chance … NEVER ... … be afraid!” 

Fear, regretfully a vital part of life; the glue that keeps the order in society, to avoid what’s different, it’s natural human behavior … to fear the unknown.  This dates back even to early human existence, it’s no different, only our surroundings have evolved.  So meet Grug (Nicolas Cage) an over protective father, Ugga (Catherine Keener) the supportive wife who's really keeping things in order, Eep (Emma Stone) the curious teenager trying to find herself and make sense of the world as she knows it, Thunk (Clark Duke) the big oaf younger brother to Eep who doesn’t know much about anything, Gran (Cloris Leachman) the annoying mother-in-law to Grug, and Sandy (Randy Thom) the energetic baby girl, a typical family, meet The Croods (“crued-s”).

Eep (Emma Stone) desperately eager to explore the world.
Oh yeah, and they’re all cavemen; a “modern day” Flintstones … so to speak.

Even during this time of Pangea, when the earth’s continents were separating and the world of The Croods changed around them, forcing them to step out into the unknown, facing exactly what they feared, the fear of the unknown was the same.  They feared anything that was new and different, for if The Croods accepted change in their world, they could die. 

Grug was a strong man.  All women from all eras of time sought out a strong man.  In the days of tribes, villages, and cave men, a woman’s survival was dependent on how strong her man was.  So this is how The Croods were able to out survive the other families.  He was able to ward off the dangerous creatures and the evil that lurked in the shadows, which could harm the family.  This forced the family to stick to the same routine to stay in the cave and only come out for food to quickly return to shelter, thus feeding Eep’s curiosity and eagerness to experience change and the diversity of life.  This is how The Croods meet Guy (Ryan Reynolds) who combined with the Pangea Earth changing events, takes them on a journey to follow the light, accept the changes that life brings us, to not just survive, but to LIVE, and to NEVER be afraid! 

I REALLY liked the relation of the family dynamic to current standards that we’re all familiar with in our own families and those we experience of today.  It’s probably safe to assume a lot of that dynamic was around back then: the curious teenaged girl, tired of the over protective father who’s keeping her separated from her new crush and how that perfectly transitioned into the alpha male dominance as leader of the family/group, the mother-in-law who annoys the living daylights out of the father, the supportive wife, etc.  I loved the concept of family here and how it played throughout the story.  It came through in all aspects.  For instance, they need to quickly get out of the cave to find food to quickly get back in and Grug is trying to keep everyone safe and on track with the plan, Thunk doesn’t know what’s going on, Gran is annoying Grug, etc.  They go on the journey with Guy or “a family trip” as we joyfully see it as and the roles/characters come out and everyone’s playing their part to the fullest, just like a modern day family of today would in the family mini-van on their way to the destination.  LOVED how this was the heat beat of the film and apart of the theme of this story!
Sandy, Ugga, Eep, Grug, Guy, Thunk, Belt, & Gran
The story unraveled in an unexpected way for me.  I loved it, but didn’t expect it to play out the way it did.  All the elements were there, just in different places and it was different, good, but different.  The easing in of the B story (Ryan Reynold’s character) and his charismatic “belt” (voiced by director Chris Sanders), all great elements to the story, it took me a little bit after the movie ended to discover that “Guy” was the B story and not what dramatically changes the story; so as I mentioned, different, but a good kind of different, yet still slightly jarring. 

Definitely will be a major force to help loosen Pixar’s grip of The Oscar that they’ve had a hold of for over a decade.  Recently they’ve had a weaker hold of the golden statue but have managed to hold onto it.  Dreamworks has been gunning for their own grip of it since Po & Kung Fu Panda, Grug and his strong caveman hands could help Dreamworks pull Pixar off the podium.  But we’ll see if the monsters in college have anything to say about that.  I don’t know, I definitely think it’s no longer a hands down, easy win for Pixar; especially since their last one Brave.  But The Croods definitely are an enjoyable experience, full of wonderful moments of laughter and fun.  Fun that's able to keep the ball rolling in the wonderful world of animation!

The Croods
Family, 98 Minutes, PG
Written & Directed by: Kirk De Micco & Chris Sanders
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Clark Duke, Chris Sanders, and Randy Thom

Popular Posts