The Croods 3D

Directed by: Chris Sanders, Kirk De Micco

Starring:  Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, and Cloris Leachman

TGIF moviegoers!  We are starting the weekend off with a little family fun.  The Croods is the latest animated movie to present the nuclear family in a unique setting (i.e The Incredibles).  Although The Croods is not as strong as some of its predecessors, it is fun and clever in its own way.

In The Croods, Grug (Nicolas Cage) is the head of a family of cavemen.  Grug, his wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), his mother-in law Gran (Cloris Leachman) and their three kids are the last known cavemen.  All of the others have been eaten by monsters or killed off by the common cold.  Grug has been able to keep his family alive with one simple motto – “Never not be afraid.”  In this harsh world, the Croods live by this motto, spending most of their time barricading themselves in a cave and only coming out briefly in the daylight to try and hunt for food.

Eep (Emma Stone), Grug’s teenage daughter, is frustrated and angry about their way of life.  She wants to be free of the cave so she can explore the world.  To her, merely surviving is not enough, and she is constantly rebelling against her overprotective father.  One night, when she sneaks out of the cave after seeing a strange light, she encounters Guy (Ryan Reynolds).  Guy is more civilized than the Croods—he has discovered fire, shoes, and primitive silverware.  Guy warns Eep that the world is ending.  The ground is literally splitting apart and they must get to higher ground to avoid destruction. 

Eep tries to convince her family to leave the cave, but her father refuses to venture out, citing the danger and his family’s fear of change.  The Croods are forced out of their cave, however, when an earthquake destroys their home and propels them to venture out into a whole new world.  Much to Grug’s chagrin, Guy takes the lead in guiding the Croods to safety and Grug and his family must struggle to survive in unfamiliar territory.

The Croods is a delightful little movie.  The theme is familiar.  Parents cannot protect their children from all of the harms of the world.  Trying to shield children from everything only ends up stifling them and keeps them from truly living.  Real life comes with the good, the bad and the ugly and to live your life in fear is not living at all.  I will note, however, that in dangerous prehistoric times, parental caution seems essential for self-preservation.  Papa Crood isn’t keeping his daughter from going to the movies at night with her friends—he does not want her outside of the cave because vicious man-eating animals are circling to eat the remaining cavemen.  This seems like common sense to me.  But I guess rebellious teens are rebellious teens, even if they are dwelling in caves instead of modern day suburbia.

The Croods’ animation and characters also deliver. The animated prehistoric world is vibrant and colorful.  The directors have created a stunningly beautiful, playful and unique vision of an untamed natural world.  In addition, the characters and slapstick comedy are actually “laugh out loud” funny in some spots, which is rare these days.

While The Croods does not break any new ground, it is a pleasing way to spend an hour and a half.  Suspend your disbelief, ignore the historical inaccuracies of the film and kick back for a little fun with a revamped FlintstonesThe Croods earns a 0.06% rating.