Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
It’s safe to say that alongside Pixar, Dreamworks Animation is one of the greatest animation houses currently producing films today. If you look at the list of films they’ve released you’ll see; Shrek, Kung- fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Megamind and Chicken Run to name but a few. However, amongst all of these massive hits you’ll also see; Over The Hedge, Rise of the Guardians and Shark Tale. Dreamworks make a habit of producing very good films alongside rather average ones and The Croods falls into the latter category.
After their cave is destroyed cave man Grugg (Cage) and his family which consists of his wife Ugga (Keener), daughter Eep (Stone), Sons Thunk (Duke) and Belt (Sanders) and mother- in- law Gran (Leachman) must leave behind the life of solitude and safety they know and venture out into a changing pre- historic world populated by various monsters that seek to eat The Croods at any given turn. Along the way they bump into Guy (Reynolds) a fellow cave person who’s ingenuity and inventiveness will help Grugg and his family traverse the strange new world they find themselves in, although Grugg isn’t happy that Guy assumes leadership over his family and has attracted the affections of his rebellious daughter Eep who is always attempting to defy his commands. Grugg tries to keep his family in line whilst keeping them safe in a world he doesn’t fully understand but his stubbornness may be the ruin of them all.
Unfortunately for the makers of The Croods I’ve seen Shrek and Ice Age: Continental Drift, the latter of these two really informs the narrative behind The Croods. Sadly it feels like Dreamworks trying to cash in on the established Ice Age franchise that has met mass success globally. They’ve had to try and be a bit different though, they obviously couldn’t have mammoths and saber tooth tigers running about so they created their own creatures; flying tortoises, a tiger with a head much larger in proportion to its body and a cat type thing with an owls face. These all in all feel a bit strangely placed and their weirdness isn’t explained… we are just supposed to accept it.
Nicholas Cage voices Grugg who becomes the hero of the story part way through and is pretty much a bad version of Shrek. He is cautious of the world around him, bad at making new friends and bullish to change. Honestly the only remarkable difference between them is that he’s not green.
Emma Stone’s Eep is fronted in the trailer as being the main character in the story but she really takes a back seat in the films closing thirty minutes. She’s as one dimensional as the supporting characters and doesn’t influence the film’s course after the first twenty minutes or so.
Overall it will please younger audiences but for someone looking for something more from a kids movie you’ll be left wanting. The case is that these days children’s animated films are experiencing a renaissance with the films mentioned earlier we also have sequels to come including; Despicable Me 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Monsters Inc. University this year. The tag line for The Croods reads “the journey begins” yet it’s not much of a journey The Croods run away from danger and then inevitably survive… it’s done O.K. at the box office but honestly I don’t see where they can go with the plot or characters… safe to say this will probably be a one off. Dreamworks need to do better next time out… just give us Kung- fu Panda 3 already!!!