Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘The Croods’ Review: The Perfect Animated Family Film

Dreamworks’s newest animated feature has everything a family friendly film needs: interesting characters, lots of laughs, vibrant scenery and a lot of heart. The Croods is the animated 3D experience of the year and one that you don’t want to miss while in theatres.

As the film opens we are introduced to one of the world’s first caveman families, The Croods. Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage) keeps his family under a tight watch so that no one gets hurt or loses their way. The other caveman families have all died of unfortunate circumstances, so now Grug is extra careful of his wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), daughter Eep (Emma Stone), son Thunk (Clark Duke) and Gran (Cloris Leachman).

When nighttime falls, Grug gathers the family in their cave, away from the tigercats and other creatures that could potentially harm them. Every member of the family seems cool with the “stick together” plan except for Eep. Eep dreams of life beyond the cave and away from the close clutches of her father.

One night Eep is awakened by a flickering light she sees outside the cave and decides to sneak out in hopes to discover what this strange light is. While Eep is chasing the light she meets another human Guy (Ryan Reynolds). Guy warns her that her home will most likely be destroyed because of climate shifts and urges her to leave and come with him. Eep shrugs off the nomad’s predictions and decides to go back to her family in the cave.

The next day while the family is out hunting for food, the grounds shift, lots of rocks fall and their home that The Croods have known for so long has been destroyed. The family wanders to a safer place and eventually run into Guy, who helps them discover the outside world and that things outside their comfort zone can actually be quite fun.

The 3D animation in The Croods is some of the best I’ve seen in recent years. As you’re watching the film, it truly feels like you are looking into the colorful world that The Croods live in. The film is so beautiful and a stunning work of art.

Not only is the animation lovely, the story is genuine and heartfelt. The Croods is a coming of age story for teenager Eep and also for her tough, yet paranoid father Grug. Grug’s top priority is his family’s survival and anything outside his comfort zone scares him. We have a touching and realistic father-daughter story that demonstrates the importance of family. I highly recommend going to see The Croods with your family because the film is wonderful for all ages.

Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Cloris Leachman all give fantastic voice performances here. Cage certainly has an easily recognizable voice in Hollywood, but as the caveman Grug, he completely transforms his voice into the character. As the audience, you practically forget it’s the action star’s voice behind the goofy caveman.

Dreamworks Animation’s The Croods is so lovely and heartfelt, that Disney Pixar could take a lesson or two from it.

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