Friday, 5 April 2013

Movie Review - The Croods

The extra scene is nothing to blow your nose at.

   The Croods is a new stone age family that’s about to be modernized.  The structure of having a family of inferior intellect set in the past is ripe for comedy but the Croods is anything but crude.  It reaches into the heart and delivers more than just simple laughter.

   Eep and her family live in constant fear, as they may fall prey to dangers in prehistoric times.  But a newcomer Guy brings news of a coming calamity that they cannot escape from by hiding in a cave.  This prompts the Croods to travel to safer pastures and better themselves in the process.

   The wonders of CGI continue to amaze.  The crude stick figures in the intro make way for kinetic action and fluid movements.  This is evident in the egg chase at the beginning of the day and Eep’s dynamic rock climbing when night falls.  The characters may be brutish but their inflections and gestures are as smooth as technology can make it.  The landscape is rich with color and life that is breathtaking in a way that is out to take your very breath (and life) away, haha.  The environment varies from rocky grounds, to grassy fields, to deep seascapes, to volcanic mountains, the various settings being necessary to the plot and, in addition, delivering a visual feast for the eyes.

   The story is initially presented to belong to Eep, the rebellious elder daughter of the Croods.  Her curious nature is complementary to the progressive Guy’s expansive view.  The two share scant times to interact and let their romance to blossom because the storyline shifts to focus on Grug, the patriarch.  His stubborn demeanor and dinosaur-like ability to resist change becomes the center of the film as the main conflict revolves on his needing to accept that he can't live in the past, despite being a caveman.  The shift in character perspective isn’t that jarring as, in the end, the emotional core is and always will be about family, but those expecting more of an ‘independent girl with romantic leanings’ type of story might be disappointed.

   There are laughs aplenty.  The Croods are a hilarious bunch.  The elder son might be the dimmest of the group, supposedly getting the most humor potential, but it is the grandmother who gets the most results with comedy with her contrary behaviour.  The mother and baby are paired up with the baby getting some good bits for her physical antics.  The mother is mostly in the sidelines.  Emma Stone's Eep is decidedly likeable and adventurous though is later overshadowed by her father.  Guy, surprisingly voiced by Ryan Reynolds, is portrayed as smart and worldly but is still quite built despite supposedly being weaker.  Belt is a character in his own right and should have been more of a partner instead of a pet.  The Crood who stands out the most is Grug.  He had the most to learn and the one who had to struggle the hardest.  Of course, he ended up being the funniest in the group.  He got the most attention and embodied the heart of the film over Eep. Nicolas Cage’s voice is distinct and, while he has roles that don’t properly compliment his talents, at least he has the passion to play the characters the he wants.

   The Croods is a fantastic film.  Top notch visuals and animation, a decent and worthy message about family, loads and loads of humor, it’s an enjoyable journey from start to finish.  Watch it!   

SPOILERS!!!  Don’t read unless you’ve seen the film or else piranha birds will eat you!
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    The film is not really set on our world.  We don’t have piranha birds swarming around or giant carnivorous plants with visual sensors.  If it was an alien planet or an alternate evolution, it could have been cause for more fantastic creatures roaming about.  They could have tried to have more down to earth flora and fauna but I suppose to doesn’t take away too much from the story.  

    If Guy was to be weaker, they should have given him the skinny, nerdy build.  It could have been a social message about ladies falling for men with brains and not their looks but Guy is still ripped and rather muscular despite being shown as weaker.  

    The savagery of the Croods was shown before and during the dinner scene, to the deterrent of Guy.  But before that, they didn’t seem so disgusting.  Their crudeness wasn’t as established initially, only their fear.

    Douglas the pet wasn’t named when Grug was present so he shouldn’t know his name.  Grug picking up the other pets was a good character moment but I’m not sure of his logic.

    The Croods are shown to be very fast on their feet in the beginning, even on an empty stomach.  So why were they so slow during their mountainous trek?

    The climactic moment where Grug throws his family into the unknown was a little frightening.  They were trying to make a point, yes, but in reality, what they agreed to do was very, very risky.  The floor might have been spiked, the distance might have been too great... when Guy revealed that he was going to the sun, as in maybe walking on the sun, he might have really been a delusional person.

    The ending had them settling on the beach or still chasing after the sun?

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