Review: The Croods (2013)

Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone lend their vocals to this animated adventure about a family of cavemen who must learn to trust their curiosity.

The Croods is the latest film to come from Dreamworks, the people behind such successes as Shrek and Madagascar, follows a family of fairly acrobatic (and distractingly distorted) cavemen as they battle between what is safe and their urge to survive.

Life has taught the Croods that change almost certainly equates death and, consequently, the family bed down in their homely cave each night at sun down to escape the dark. Daughter Eep (Emma Stone) has other ideas; bored of the monotony of her life she sneaks out one night following a strange light. This one act of defiance leads her into contact with the dashing Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and the source of her curiosity; fire. Soon the family home is destroyed by the beginning of “The End” and the group must learn to embrace new and challenging experiences in order to live.

Faced with the unknown and, more worryingly, “The End” lead Crood Grug (Nicolas Cage) has difficulty facing the fact that his family’s routine must change in order to survive. Instead of being scared of the danger posed by the ominous end Guy speaks of he’s wary of the curiosity Guy inspires in his family and the perils this poses.

For something that is, essentially, about the beginnings of man, it is a film that lacks any of the heart shown by its peers. That’s not to say you don’t get emotionally attached to the characters. Showing familiar tropes, the cavemen share similar trials to those we face today; Grug desperately tries to tame his teenage daughter whilst simultaneously trying to bump off his mother in law. None of the actors are necessarily pushed out of their comfort zones here but the familiar voices lend the film a polished feel.

It’ss in the visual department that The Croods really excels; whilst this is to be expected from Dreamworks, The Croods revels deliciously in its psychedelic dreamscape of a setting where turtle birds and giraffe elephants rule the land. The frenetic visuals give scope to an otherwise rather tame story.

As it’s primarily a kid’s movie, The Croods often opts for the obvious laughs; there’s nothing wrong with this of course and sometimes the onscreen gags can be genuinely funny. As a family film it’ll win the hearts of countless children but some adults may find more wonder in the visuals than the battle to survive.

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