From the beginning of time, you can be assured that life was hard. Families have been fighting with each other forever, people have lost their homes and everybody’s been unsure of their future at some point in their life. And for the first family – and I don’t mean Barack and Michelle – those hardships are what gave the Croods the strength to go on.
The animated movie The Croods is now in theaters and it’s a prehistoric comedy adventure that follows the world’s first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures — and their outlook is changed forever.
The Croods, written and directed by Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch) features the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke.
Let me first say that this movie, like most animated movies is entertaining. I can sit and watch any animated film and it will have me smiling with a great sense of joy at some point. But for me the Croods movie wasn’t at the top of my belly-busting laughter list. For me it fell just a little flat. And my 9-year-old daughter said, “Well it wasn’t really amazing all up in your face, it was like you have to be an old person to see that movie. But I’m really sorry I’m being honest.”
For the record, that was TOTALLY Mikaela’s own words. I just typed them.
The film starts with Eep (Emma Stone), a girl in a family of cavemen living in pre-historic times, talking about how her family is one of the few to survive nearby, mainly due to the strict rules of her overprotective father, Grug (Nicolas Cage). When in their cave home, Grug tells a story to the rest of the family, which includes his wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), daughter Sandy (Randy Thom), son Thunk (Clark Duke), and his mother-in-law (Cloris Leachman), with a character that mirrors Eep’s curious nature. He uses this story to warn the family that exploration and ‘new things’ pose a threat to their survival. This irritates the bored and adventurous Eep, and when the family falls asleep after dark, she ignores her father’s advice, and leaves the cave.
While venturing off, she meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), an intelligent caveboy. She becomes fascinated with the fire he manages to create, and is eager to learn more. He tells her about his theory that the world is reaching its ‘end,’ before giving her a noise-making horn to call him if she feels the need for help. He then abandons Eep, who is then caught by Grug, who had been frantically searching for her. Much later, he brings her back home, only to find that their cave home has collapsed from an earthquake. All the family then climb over the wreckage to discover an other-worldly land, much different from their usual surroundings of rocky terrain.
From there, the movie’s adventure didn’t rise to the occasion. I just didn’t feel like it gave enough laughs. There were spurts of laughter with the “dun-dun-dunnnnns” (you’ll understand when you see the movie) and the grandma’s quick quips and I loved how the Croods responded to discovering new things like fire and pretty much burned everything up. But I felt the narrative, and story-telling element wasn’t very engaging. To best describe it, it was a bit boring. Basically it’s one of those movies I’d wait to buy on DVD instead of going to the theater to see.
For a little 4 year old or younger, the movie will be a big win. But for elementary, middle school and adults it may disappoint. Just consider that when deciding to take older kids to see it. But if you have younger ones, head out this weekend and let them be delightfully entertained by simplicity of the plot and let me know what you think!