THE CROODS Brings Prehistoric Fun to DVD
As a child reared on Michael Eisner era Disney films, this writer has gradually come to the realization that the animated film genre has a number of easy to follow characteristics. The narrative begins with a plucky teenage heroine, typically a spunky tomboy, with aspirations beyond the life she knows: her undersea castle, her small provincial hometown, and even her life as a Scottish noble. Her restless nature (our main character is almost always female), often creates tension with her parental figures– typically dad, but mom isn’t a deal breaker, either. Throw in a cute, but often flat love interest, some cuddly second bananas, and you’ve got yourself a movie. The 2013 Dreamworks animated film The Croods fits easily into this format. The family film keeps pace, but does very little to distance itself from the competition.
The Croods follows a typical prehistoric family, lead by family patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage), loving matriarch Ugga (Catherine Keener), and their two point five children: Eep (Emma Stone), Thunk (Clark Duke) and Sandy (Randy Thorn). The family unit is completed by the aptly named Gran (voiced by Cloris Leachman in a way only she can). Their idilic lifestyle is complicated with the arrival of the unique and freethinking outcast, Guy (Ryan Reynolds). After the Croods cave is destroyed by a seemingly apocalypic event, Guy must lead the family on a journey “to ride the sun into tomorrow.” Along the way, the family learn important lessons of discovery, fulfillment, and love.
The Croods is dominated by very strong voice acting, starting with the work of A-listers Stone and Reynolds, going down to Chris Sanders, who is a stand-out in his portrayal of Belt, Guy’s pet monkey. The wide-eyed, expressive monkey leaps off the screen with his comedic “Da-Da-Dah,” well timed to coincide with moments of tension at points throughout the film. It is in secondary characters like Belt, and a particularly expressive sabertooth tiger, that provide the film with much of its light-hearted feel, thanks to the versatile and colorful voice acting of its’ performers.
The advances being made in computer animation are evident in the beautifully composed visuals throughout the film. While computer generated people have always looked a little off, the prehistoric universe of The Croods is breathtakingly beautiful, serving to bring the characters to life within the story.
Watching The Croods, it is stunning just how generic and formulaic the genre of the animated film has become. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Are you in the mood for an enjoyable family film? The Croods is a cute, fun family film that serves its’ purpose, to entertain audiences. It makes you laugh, tugs at your heart strings and may make you hug your parents a little tighter. The Croods isn’t ground breaking, but it doesn’t have to be.
The digital download of The Croods is available now on iTunes. The DVD and blu ray of The Croods will be available from retailers near you starting on October 1st.