Monday, April 8, 2013

The Croods

April 8, 2013

I honestly did not want to watch "The Croods." The ugly title and the crude way the characters were drawn did not really appeal to me. I kept trying to defer it when my kids were asking to watch it. Well, at the mall yesterday on a lazy Sunday afternoon with nothing specific to do, there was no more excuse or escape for this dad to delay the inevitable.

"The Croods" was about the last Neanderthal caveman family on Earth who were forced to get out of the cave that had kept them safe all these years when the mountains around them began to crumble down. With the help of a young inventive caveman named Guy, they follow the sun and venture into the big wide unknown, seeking to escape the destruction of the world they knew. On this journey, the Crood patriarch Grug faces his biggest dilemma as a father when his established way of keeping his family together and safe is challenged by his rebellious teenage daughter Eep, the "modern" ideas of Guy, as well as the shifting continental land masses.

It took time for me to get into the groove of the story. The superhuman abilities of the Croods as well as the incredibly strange flora and fauna around them were simply too unbelievable and weird. Once I got that initial resistance out of the way, I not only had a very good time laughing at their hilarious antics, I was also very personally touched by the situation experienced by Grug as head of his family, now facing the ultimate threat for their very existence, dealing with new untested concepts about fatherhood.  This film is very entertaining and heart-warming at the same time.

The technical excellence of this film is unquestionable. OK, I did not really like how the Croods looked, but hey they ARE cavemen anyhow. Why the baby daughter Sandy looks and acts so horribly, I wouldn't know.  However the artwork and cinematography of the world around them was breathtaking. The visual effects, grand or minute, dealing with rock, or water, or dust, or tar were so realistic. The voice work by Nicolas Cage for Grug is so good, gruff but so sincere. Emma Stone as  Eep, Ryan Reynolds as Guy and Ms. Cloris Leachman as the cranky grandmother also turn in remarkable vocal work. 

Like several Dreamworks animated films before this one, namely "Shrek", "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Megamind", I was initially turned off by the non-traditional, OK non-Disney, look of the artwork. But after hearing much positive word of mouth, I gave them a chance and watched them. Of course, I appreciate them as the excellent films that they are. I now add "The Croods" to that list. I should really learn my lesson and stop judging them by the way they look in the trailer.  

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