Monday, April 22, 2013

Review 153: "The Croods"

Original is bad seems to have been the filmmaker's motto.

What's Old is Slightly New-ish

      Yeah, why not? I know this movie is a few weeks old, but it was either this or Scary MoVie, so this was the obvious victor. I mean who doesn't want to see a movie about a cave family in a prehistoric world that stars Nic Cage and Ryan Reynolds? YEah, we're probably lucky this movie was as good as it was. The latest outing from Dreamworks Animation, The Croods is directed by Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch) and written by them as well. The film follows Eep (Emma Stone, Drive), a rebellious teenage cavegirl who meets inventor and wander Guy (Ryan Reynolds, Safe House), who warns that the world is about to end. When it actually does seem to begin to end and destroys The Croods home, Guy agrees to take them to a safe place. Along the way Guy and Eep must deal with Eep's old rules loving father Grug (Nicolas Cage, The Ant Bully), her understanding mother Ugga (Catherine Keener, Where the Wild Things Are), her clumsy brother Thunk (Clark Duke, Greek) and her quirky grandmother Gran (Cloris Leachman, Raising Hope).

So that's what happened to Tak. 
Originally the Same

      The Croods is not by any means of the word a bad movie. But that said it is an awfully generic one. I went into this movie wanting to like it, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that I had seen everything before and I had seen it done better. Want a really good animated movie about a group of quirky people working together to cross a prehistoric landscape? Watch the first Ice Age. Want an good animated movie about a family that is forced to work through their problems to accomplish their goal? Watch The Incredibles. And that's just counting animated movies. Are there problems with trying to live a boring life? Yes. Does someone break the rules and do something they shouldn't? Yes. Does that cause a major tragedy? Ye... actually, no it doesn't. But do those problems end up getting solved in a heroic and heartwarming way? Yes. Basically the entire first hour of this movie is good, but nothing all that special.

Follow the Sun

      However, like a surprising number of animated films, the last act proves to be very strong. One thing I should mention is that the family are mostly made up of strong characters. While GRan and Thunk are the characters you'd expect to find in these kinds of movies (one is crazy, one is clumsy), the other characters are great. Grug is relatable and is never made to be outright wrong or bad. Eep is a female character that looks nothing like the animated ones we are use to seeing and sees never tries to hid her personality to impress Guy, making her a fun and likable character. Guy is kinda like the audience here and Reynolds is probably the most funny of the actors here. Even the mom is interesting and likable. And because of that, even though we all really know how the movie is going to end, it makes the action and drama that the characters go through in the last half-hour even stronger. You want to see these characters survive and you want them to have a happy ending. And if you like the characters that much, then it's hard not to recommend the movie.

It's Spider-Cavegirl!
The Verdict

      Is The Croods going to go down as one of the greatest animated movies of the year? No. Honestly, I probably won't think about this movie ever again. Well, except until the sequel comes out. But that doesn't mean it's not a movie worth skipping. The story might be generic and the first two act might be a little bit dull, but the last act is great, the animation is really nice and most of all, the characters are extremely strong. I liked the movie and I'm sure kids will like it to. And in comparison to the other kids movies out now, that's almost a miracle. The Croods gets 4 stars out of 6.

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