Dreamworks newest animated outing held a lot of promise in my mind, from a promising trailer showing some gorgeous landscapes, colourful creatures and good laughs. Yet while these are present, it didn’t play out as well as I’d hoped.
The Croods are a prehistoric caveman family and the father, Grug (Nicolas Cage) protects them by being overly paranoid about anything “new” or adventurous. His daughter Eep however (Emma Stone) is rebellious and curious, and after sneaking from the safety of their cave she uncovers a new world… just as their world begins to end. Literally.
This film has some gorgeous animation. I want to stress this first as there was one specific moment where I was slack jawed; where the Croods dive and swim in water. The water effects were so startling and realistically implemented that the cartoon characters looked real by proxy! Does this one moment carry the film? A little bit, yeah!
There are some good laugh out loud moments, my cinema’s audience were getting into it, especially the younger audience. The characters have disfunctional family traits that are rewarding as the film progresses (Gran is a particular favourite). The animation is dynamic and rapid-fire, almost like a Looney Toons cartoon at times, while the humour is often based around anachronisms and plays on modern living (but not unbearably so)
But, for all these good things… the story and plot just weren’t there for me. Dreamworks has stunned me in recent years with some awesome storytelling and compelling character development (How to Train Your Dragon, principly) and instead The Croods… just feels like a sequence of unfortunate events; a scene happens, it ends, a scene happens… it ends (including the aforementioned water sequence…)
The characters are either one dimensional and sadly a little soulless, or very predictable. The characters themselves simply aren’t interesting or unique to carry the film, and they are all we have, since this is effectively a road trip movie. There were really heavy emotional moments that simply died on me (and I’m a sucker for getting involved in movies normally!) The son and the mother, I barely know who they were except “the dumb one” and the… uhm… “supportive one?” respectively.
I don’t know, but The Croods was a little too primitive for my tastes, despite how gorgeous it can look and how fun some of the moments are. A fun day out for the family perhaps, but I wouldn’t be surprised if older audiences kinda shrug it off as yet another random cartoon venture.