It was definitely an unexpected weekend over here. All my plans got flipped and I wound up doing things I wasn’t planning on, starting with seeing The Croods. So, I beat last year (I didn’t see a film from 2012 until around May/June) and saw my first 2013 film Saturday afternoon. I’m not sure what I was expecting to get out of it, but here are my thoughts on the film itself:
‘The Croods’ tells a primitive story (in more than one sense) or a family of cavemen who are thrust from the normality of their lives (and by normal, I mean abnormal routine) into a world of the unknown when their cave is destroyed during ‘The End’. The family consists of a caring mother, a dopey son, a savage baby daughter, a gross grandmother, a curious teenage girl name Eep and an overprotective father, Grug. We are introduced to the family as they hunt for food (in the most comical of manners) and are rushed back into their cave, where they spend most of their days and nights, by the threat of anything new. When Eep ventures off one night and meets another human, the family’s life is forever changed and they begin to ‘live’.
As a whole, I rather enjoyed this. It was pretty funny from start to finish, which is a plus with child centered animated films. One thing that my daughter mentioned, and that I thought was pretty interesting, was that there is no villain here. I really enjoyed this aspect of the film. I’m so tired of these animated films with vicious enemies who fight against good until the death. Why are we teaching these kinds of things to our children? Breaking the mold, ‘The Croods’ has the elements (and some wildlife) as the only enemy and eventually uses those very things for good. Even Grug’s constant rambling about certain death is played up for laughs. The development of character is a tad formulaic and yet it really works as a whole.
I do take issue with some lazy aspects of the film. The stereotyping of the caveman himself was somewhat lazy, especially when you have this massive caveman who, as he points out, eats maybe a drip of egg a week. He should have been skrawney and malnurashed but he was unbelievably strong and quite fat. The treatment of days was also kind of bizarre. The family would wake up and find and egg and next thing you know it is nighttime and they are racing to hide from some kind of predator. The conceptualized prehistoric era was fun, if not a tad ‘Avatar’ like, and it certainly popped, so that was nice.
In the end I give it a B-. My family enjoyed this. I don’t see this being an Oscar contender this year though. It’s too early in the year, and the film isn’t substantial enough to last that long.
Oh, and this was easily Nicolas Cage’s finest performance in a decade or two.