I had not even heard of The Croods until it showed up on Netflix streaming a couple of months ago. It came out in March, 2013.
What was I doing in March, 2013? Heck, I don’t know. Probably going crazy like I am now. I mean I found out the movie made $587,204.668 worldwide and I just recently heard about it.
Anyway, whatever the reason is I hadn’t heard of it, I was not that impressed with the trailer when I came across it a few weeks ago. The movie looked totally dumb!
However, the other night I was bored (how can someone be bored who has 500 movies saved in her My List at Netflix I can’t quite comprehend myself), but I was. It was late too. Like about 11:00 p.m or something. I saw that The Croods had gotten some good ratings, I like animated movies and, what the heck, I hadn’t seen a movie about cave folks in awhile. I told myself I would watch it for a few minutes, most likely it would bore me or I”d hate it and then I’d go to bed.
Next thing I know the credits are rolling and I’m sitting with this nice little warm glow in my chest, which usually happens after I’ve seen a movie that was not only well-done, but left me with something afterwards. Like the embers from a warm fire.
Directed by Kirk De Micco and written by De Micco and Chris Sanders, The Croods is the story of a family of cave dwellers in prehistoric times. Voiced by Nicholas Cage as Grug, the paterfamilias, Emma Stone as Eep, his adventurous daughter, and Ryan Reynolds as Guy, literally the new guy on the block, The Croods was a delight from beginning to end.
Most of the cave dwellers in the immediate area have been wiped out except for the Croods. You know, nature red in tooth and claw and all that. Grug has managed to keep his family safe because he is not only strong, but he’s cautious to the point where he forces the family to hole up in a cave and the only time they go outside is to get food, which features in a rather hilarious sequence where the Croods work together as a well-oiled survival team, from the dad on down to the toddler, to get their hands on a huge egg.
Eep, however, wants more and in true hero’s journey fashion sneaks away when she sees a strange light outside the cave. The light turns out to be a torch carried by Guy, a young man who is not only more advanced than the Croods (he knows how to make fire, for example) but warns Eep there’s soon to be a cataclysmic event that will wipe out the Croods if they don’t get their collective butts out of that cave. And thus begins the journey of the Croods as they must search for a new home.
The voice performances were great (even Nicholas Cage was good, and I’m not normally a fan of his), the animation is gorgeous (the landscapes are quite fantastical and obviously never truly existed but are astounding to look at), the storyline moves along quite briskly (hey, the movie kept me up past midnight), and there’s a message that doesn’t necessarily hit you over the head, but does remind you of what it means to be human.
I also liked how important story-telling was to the characters. Everyone eagerly gathers round when someone is about to tell a story. Grug basically uses his stories to warn his family about dangers. Guy, however, uses storytelling to inspire and to encourage.
Here’s a quote from a review I came across by Jeff Koons.
The imagination of The Croods lies both in the mastery of animation and the spirit of humanity found within the story. The film emulates our world as it deals with the human condition and a realization that it’s not just about survival but transcendence. After emerging from the darkness of the cave, the Croods learn to face their fears, and after initial reluctance, accept the guidance of an orphan boy. The guidance allows the family to draw upon his leadership and learn from their new experiences. It’s human nature to strive for and find a greater purpose in life. As the Croods begin to grasp the power of ideas and analyze their own existence, they move from contemplating the present to the universe and beyond. As their experiences become richer, they begin to understand that there is a human responsibility, not just to one’s self and family, but to one’s community. It’s a beautiful moment of enlightenment as the family experiences this growth and evolution. I walked out of the theater feeling that my family and I could feel a greater connection to what it means to be human and to face the challenges that we confront in being part of the ongoing story.
That pretty much sums up what I felt about The Croods, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. So I didn’t 🙂
So, yep, I was very pleasantly surprised by The Croods.
I give it (drum roll please) 5 Stellar Popcorn boxes!
Oh, yeah, and it’s also up for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature against “Despicable Me 2,” “Ernest & Celestine,” “Frozen” and “The Wind Rises. I’ve not seen any of these movies yet, although I do have “Despicable Me 2” sitting on my table for future viewing.