Today is my daughter’s 11th birthday so after treating her to brunch at IHOP’s and doing a little shopping with her, we caught the animated movie, The Croods in 3D. I wasn’t really expecting much from the movie to be honest and thought it was just another entry in the regular crop of 3D films coming out this year. Frankly, I was just amazed by this film..
Every time there’s an animated film by either DreamWorks, Pixar or Disney, she usually wants to go see it and I’m the only candidate available that’s going to take her. Unlike most parents, I don’t take this as an opportunity to take a nap during the movie (that would be a rather expensive nap period). I actually enjoy these types of animated films, especially if they’re in 3D. Despite the flack most 3D films get, the animated ones usually fare better in my opinion and just work better with this medium.
The Croods is about a Cro-Magnon family who are forced to venture out into the world after their home is lost. They seem to be the last of their kind after surviving diseases, natural predators and environmental hazards because they were sheltered, protected and led by Grug, the father (unexpectedly voiced by Nicolas Cage – couldn’t place the voice until after the end credits). He continually warns his rebellious teen daughter Eep (voiced by Emma Stone), as well as the rest of the family (wife, son, infant daughter and mother-in-law) to NEVER go outside of their cave. His motto is “never be not afraid”.
When his daughter ventures outside the cave against his wishes, she discovers a non-cro-magnon human called Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) who is more advanced, intelligent and more resourceful than anyone in her family. He foretells that the world is coming to an end (how he came about this knowledge wasn’t really clear). After losing their home, they have no choice but to begin their journey to find “tomorrow” and a new home.
Let me say that right off the bat, I was highly impressed with the beginning action sequence of this movie. The animation was spectacular and I was very impressed with the whole color palette and textures of this movie. The 3D highly augmented the world the Croods inhabit. While my daughter sat and enjoyed the story, I sat in amazement at how far we’ve come with these animated movies. The rock avalanche in the film almost looked real! The dust, the debris, and the crashing rock faces and fragments were all realistically displayed. I just thought of the sheer processing power that took to render this sequence and wondered how long it must’ve taken. The attention to detail was definitely not lost on me.
As the Croods travelled ever forward toward their goal with Guy in the lead, they encounter many dangers along their path and face many internal conflicts (clashing views between Grug and Guy). The flora and fauna of this world is simply stunning and you can tell that the creators spent a lot of time researching and creating this gorgeous world. It was very bright, colorful and highly imaginative.
At the core of this movie is a heart-warming tale about a father who is willing to go through any lengths to protect his family, who is desperately clinging too hard not to let his daughter grow and take chances in the world. It’s a story about family and what it takes to stick together to overcome obstacles. It’s a story about hope and overcoming your fears.
The story is also filled with lots of humor, supplied by Cloris Leachman who plays Gran, the cantankerous mother-in-law who trades barbs against Grug, who can only dream that one day she’ll die. The vocal chemistry and humor between Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds also works very well. Various other quirky creatures in the movie provide surprisingly funny moments throughout.
I must comment that the music was really good in this movie, something which I typically don’t pay much attention to with animated films. However, something was vaguely familiar about it. The music definitely added to this movie during the action sequences but definitely went soft and poignant during emotional scenes. I stuck around to see who did the score and it was none other than one of my favorite movie composers, Alan Silvestri (Back to the Future trilogy, Predator, Forrest Gump, The Avengers, Captain America and most recently, Flight).
During the credit roll, I heard the familiar vocals of Owl City (with Yuna) singing their new song, Shine Your Way. This is the third animated movie (Wreck It Ralph and Legend of the Guardians previously) in which Owl City contributes to a soundtrack. I guess this is going to be a trend for them and yet it works. I like Owl City.
My daughter and I loved the movie and will look forward to adding this gem to our collection in a few months when it’s released on Blu-ray. If you’re on the fence with this movie, don’t be. Take your entire family and have a great time.