Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“I’m Guy, this is Belt. We need to leave immediately, the world is ending. Everything we’re standing on right here will be gone…I’m calling it the End,” says Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) to Eep Crood (voiced by Emma Stone) in the prehistoric animated/adventure film The Croods.
Her whole life cave girl Eep has lived by her father Grug’s (voiced by Nicolas Cage) rules which include ‘new is bad, never not be afraid, and get back into the cave’. Yearning for adventure and always curious, Eep ventures out of the cave one night and meets a nomad named Guy who tells her about the end of the world and gives her a horn to blow if she survives and wants to join him in his journey.
At first, Eep doesn’t really believe Guy. But later that morning when there is an earthquake and her family’s cave is destroyed with her family barely surviving, Eep realizes that Guy was right. With their shelter gone, Eep, Grug, and the rest of the family begin the very first family road trip. Things get even more complicated when Eep calls Guy with her horn and asks him to lead them to the high mountains to safety. Grug instantly dislikes Guy for two reasons. One, he’s new and remember ‘new is bad.’ And two, Eep is smitten with Guy. But if the Croods and Guy are going to have any kind of chance to survive the journey across the spectacular landscape and all its scary and dangerous animals, they are going to have to find a way to work together and trust each other.
The Croods is a very funny animated adventure that is sure to have families smiling and laughing as the credits roll. This is a bright, colorful film with wonderful use of 3D animation that truly enhances the movie-going experience. The falling rocks, stones, and dust seem to just be missing the Crood family as well as the audience.
The film has a strong cast of voices bringing the characters to life. Nicolas Cage is perfect as the burly, overprotective but loving father and leader of the family who’s truly terrified of the outside world but is determined to find a new safe home for his family. Ryan Reynolds is solid as the young outdoors adventurer who at first only wants to get away from Eep and her loud and annoying family but starts to find himself falling for her and caring for her family’s survival. Emma Stone brings just the right amount of spunk and brashness to Eep, the rogue member of the Crood family who yearns for excitement and a little danger.
The Croods also has a perfect blend of slapstick antics and smart humor in the writing and action to entertain both the children and adults. It’s reminiscent of the Ice Age films as well as the television cartoon The Flintstones.
The only drawback to the movie is in its lack of heart and emotional soul in the script. This becomes very clear when two of the characters are supposed to have a heartfelt and touching moment late in the film and it comes off feeling forced and fake.
Full of color and fun The Croods is so far the best animated film of the year and is sure to be a delight for kids of all ages.
The Croods opens in theaters on March 22, 2013 and is rated PG for some scary action.
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