The Croods is the new Dreamworks animated feature and normally, for me, Dreamworks is basically a sign that I Will Like This Film. Shrek, How To Train Your Dragon and Megamind, were all great films that I love and have watched again and again. In general The Croods follows this and is a fantastically funny film including voice talents of Emma Stone (my biggest crush) and Ryan Reynolds. Hey, even Nicholas Cage isn’t that bad once you’re able to ignore his face and the fact that he’s, well, Nicholas Cage.
The Main Thrust
The main plot of the movie is pretty simple; they’re cave people trying to escape the end of the world (i.e. the breaking up of the big super continent), but in reality it’s more a family drama. It’s narrated by and, supposedly, revolves around the teenage daughter of the Crood family, Eep (Emma Stone). However, the characters it actually revolves around are the two main male characters, Grug (Nicholas Cage) and Guy (Ryan Reynolds). And this is where I get narky with The Croods.
The fact is that the main force in this film isn’t enormous movements of the earth’s crust but Grug having his Alpha male position threatened by Guy, a scrawny young man with new ideas, and being terrified of his daughter’s budding sexuality. This is a major turn off for me, which is a real shame because there are some fantastic moments, and not just of comedy.
The 3D’s Good
I’ve mentioned my dislike of 3D before, but The Croods actually puts it to great use. Unlike Wreck-It Ralph where you can pretty much ignore it, and unlike Step Up 3D which was just blatant pandering (OMGBUBBLESNEARMYFACE), Dreamworks has used 3D as part of the full cinematic experience. The uses of light and perspective are truly beautiful, especially when much of the tension in the film revolves around the ideas dark and light, security and new things. In the scenes when the tectonic issues are most evident it really gives you a sense of encroaching danger as the smoke and rubble billow past and obscure the view. Eep reaches towards the light, moving away from the safety of the darkness of the cave, that one pose shows how much she strives for freedom.
The animation is, of course, amazing. You’ve seen me rave about the animation in Wreck-It Ralph, I can’t help it, I just love watching how people move. In The Croods each character has their own unique way of movement. Grug shifts his weight and knuckles along like a gorilla whereas Eep stalks like a big cat and climbs and flips like a chimpanzee. There’s a brilliant sequence where Eep moves from running on all fours to running on two feet, it’s a subtle change but shows the progressive nature of her character. You really get a sense of the strength and power of these characters physically which is pretty rare in this cartoony, exaggerated style of film.Tags: dream works, emma stone, nic cage, ryan reynolds, the croods