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Movie: The Croods

The Croods is a fairly fast paced action adventure story that is essentially the caveman version of a road trip movie.

It tells the story of a displaced family, the Croods, forced to leave the safety of their cave in order to survive a cataclysmic event upon the world they've come to know.

Their journey is guided by a young stranger who shows them that there's much more to life than staying safe.

If you like slap stick, cartoon humor and can suspend disbelief far beyond anything you may have seen in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull then this may be just your thing.

It's a film filled with interesting ideas at specific moments as well as quite a number of fantastical prehistoric animals and plants I don't recall seeing in a science journal anywhere, ever (though this may be due to the over the top design to make them more colorful and stylised).

Nicolas Cage does a great job voicing the Dad, Grug. Emma Stone is convincing as troublesome teen, Eep and Ryan Reynolds as Guy plays the knowledgeable stranger and ideas man just right. The rest of the cast have their moments but the story pretty much revolves around these three.

Dad, Grug is the 'one rule', straight laced protector of the family. Eep suspects there is so much more to life than what Grug has taught them. Guy comes along, on his own quest to out run impending doom, and shows Eep and her family a whole new way of thinking as they join forces to find somewhere safe to resettle.

I do have a few criticisms but if you haven't seen the film stop reading now as the rest of this post contains spoilers. None of my thoughts should stop you from seeing the film. It's fun, laugh out loud and you'll have a good time.

Spoilers (Thoughts about the film)...

From the moment Guy appears it's obvious he's different, more worldly, knowledgeable and further advanced with his technical skill and know how. It's not just that he knows about fire, its so many other things as well, like shoes, deception, trap making, pets etc.

The biggest question I had on my mind that the movie never really answers is where did Guy come from and how did he get so advanced? He does take a moment to tell a bit of his own back story but only how his family died, with no information on who they really were and why he knows so much.

I also kind of wondered why Guy thought the mountain they were headed to was likely to be safer than anywhere else given the whole landscape around the Crood's cave literally fell apart revealing a very colorful tropical landscape below them. Hence they were already on higher ground and apparently living next to paradise without knowing about it due to living in a deep valley.

Guy's whole logic was to follow the light, which they never really made it to, and I'm not sure why where they did end up wasn't subject to everything falling apart like the rest of the landscape either? Did they just get lucky about their choice of destination?

Dad, Grug, is depicted as a man with few ideas, except there's a whole sequence in the film where he comes up with some really creative inventions. Perhaps it took Guy to get him using that part of his brain but considering just how creative he is, you'd think he'd have a much better plan for hunting food than the one displayed at the start of the film.

Once the landscape changes into the more colorfull, tropical landscape with the more fantastical creatures all I could think about was Pandora from Avatar rather than prehistoric Earth. It seems like, for some of the creatures at least, the film makers took some inspiration from Pandora.

The film resolves its self reasonably well. You won't be wondering what happens next or if they will make a sequel. Though this is DreamWorks, with the success of The Croods at the box office so far, you can bet a sequel is already planned. They got four films out of Ice Age - which also resolved its self fairly well at the end.

My only other thought was from an animation point of view. 3D animation has come such a long way. You don't even really think about how all these characters are computer modeled and animated anymore. You just sit back and enjoy a good story.

There were a few moments towards the end of this film where the characters looked convincingly real and felt like they were in a real world environment rather than a computer generated one. Those moments really stood out to me because it didn't feel like I was looking at computer generated characters at all. I could almost believe that they actually existed as real cave people.

As I said though, it's a fun movie. Nothing really to complain about. Not even Grug suddenly becoming a cat person with a seemingly trained cat that wanted to eat his whole family earlier on in the film.

Enjoyable.

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