I’ll be honest with you, when I saw the first trailer for The Croods, i asked myself “What the hell is this?”. As a fan of Dreamworks’ previous film, I was clearly disappointed. Never before have I been so wrong about a film by looking at its trailer.
After the destruction of their cave, a prehistoric family embarks on a remarkable journey despite their patriarch’s insistence on fear preserving their lives. At the front of the pack is the daughter, Eep, who encounters a strange young man that unlike his neanderthalic counterparts, can think of ideas.
The Croods is a universally appealing film that is great for families, couples, or even on your own. It shares similarities with the Ice Age series but unlike that one trick pony, The Croods is genuinely entertaining from start to finish. It’s also one of the few 3-D films that I have actually enjoyed and not walked out with a splitting headache.
The Bottom Line
First and foremost, I must say the The Croods is an absolutely gorgeous film – the visuals are crisp, authentic, and a little kooky at times too. Looking deeper, there’s a certain passion behind this film and it can be seen in the fathomless creativity in the design in the characters, the creatures, and the world itself…in fact, I would dare to say that The Croods is one of the most creative CG animated films to come out of Hollywood any many years.
But visuals aren’t the only thing going for The Croods; despite an uncertain first act, the film eventually finds its stride and what follows is a retro styled adventure that is fundamentally simple but emotionally complex – in other words, the perfect film for adults and children. The story and characters a lovable and I won’t deny that on several occasions I felt genuinely touched by the scenarios that had unfolded. Complementing the incredible visuals and story is another home run by composer Alan Silvestri who proves again that he can reinvent his style, and the score for The Croods is epic throughout but not without the more subtle cues that add emotive variety when called for.
My only gripe, and it is a minor gripe, is that I feel Nicolas Cage was somewhat miscast as Grug – he lacks that gruff caveman voice that an actor like John Goodman would have provided. Even so, he does a good enough job and thanks the animators, the voice always plays second fiddle to the expressive facial movement. The rest of the cast are well suited and pulled off the magic superbly. The film also takes a drastic tonal shift in the final act which may be a little jarring for some but I felt it really spiced up the film with something unexpected.
I was initially afraid that The Croods wouldn’t live up to the success that was How to Train Your Dragon, but not only does Dreamworks’ latest match the Viking themed epic, it simply blows it out of the water. If I had to describe The Croods, it would be one part The Land Before Time, and one part One Million BC with a little Flintstones thrown in for good measure – it has that old style of plot that is non-stop adventure in its purest form mixed in with just enough humour to keep it from getting too serious, all the while coated in a layer of creative flair that often isn’t attempted by the like of Hollywood. My only hope is that audiences make an effort to watch this gem as I have a feeling that the public aren’t all that certain of this film.