How entertaining? ★★☆☆☆
Thought provoking? ★☆☆☆☆
24 February 2013
This article is a review of THE CROODS.
“Eep, stay within the family kill circle,” Ugga (Catherine Keener)
The nuclear family has a rich heritage in cartoon form. Portraying a prehistoric unit has pretty massive shoes to fill… THE FLINTSTONES. Maybe the filmmakers are counting on short-term memories? THE CROODS does not come close to that benchmark; nor recent animated doozy, THE INCREDIBLES. Little mind appears to have been paid to story or character, instead AVATAR-esque visuals are the dominating force. Crazy animals (e.g. flying turtle things) and fauna, saturated in a hallucinogenic colour scheme, should sate the appetite of the youngest audience members. Anyone else will be along for a bland sub-ICE AGE, sub-BRAVE (no corker in itself) ride.
“Fear keeps us alive. Never not be afraid,” Grug
The titular Crood familia is the last in the neighbourhood. Everyone else has been killed by the plethora of dangers. Kept alive by the nagging and paranoid and loving patriarch, Grug (Nicolas Cage), who sees death in every shadow. His overbearing overprotectiveness is now starting to irk eldest child, Eep (Emma Stone). She is inquisitive and desiring of adventure. One night she leaves the safety of the cave, and comes across Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who is able to control fire. He is a new species: Cro-Magnon man, able to manipulate tools and reason logically. The Croods are the dying out Neanderthals. Guy warns Eep of a landscape shift, we know as tectonic movement, which will likely destroy their home. Grug is warned, though pig-headedness and apprehensiveness of the unknown cause him to dither until their dwelling is crushed in a rockfall. The family (made up in addition of mother, grandmother, son, and toddler) inevitably join Guy searching for a fabled place of safety, “Tomorrow”.
A big fat yawn. An ancient trek journey; haven’t the ICE AGES done those to death? See also THE LAND BEFORE TIME and DINOSAUR. Is this the best plot the team behind THE CROODS could have come up with? Add in the one-note characters: Stubborn father, peacemaker mother, mother-in-law jokes, and we have a vacuous candy coated sugar-rush ride. Reynolds is not given the script to deliver his usual insouciant charm, and excellent comedienne Stone is barely tested. The occasional 3D spectacle avoids the experience from being totally dire; but the cacophony of loudness and silliness is too ever-present for satisfying divertissement. Contrast say TANGLED for a thoughtfully made quest flick.