Hey everyone. This is definitely a delayed post, but my life has been a bit hectic the past week or so. Not that you care – you just want to hear about The Croods! I have to say, I went into this film expecting a great deal. Dreamworks has been shoving our faces in promos, billboards, and merchandise for half a year. Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, and Nicolas Cage are headlining. It’s a great premise – cavemen during the peak of human evolution. And for the cherry on top – it’s a family friendly, animated movie, packed with quips that kids will LOVE. A perfect recipe for a box office smash, right? Well, granted, it might still be a box-office smash, but it certainly won’t be a critical darling. Perhaps I should chalk it up to my inflated expectations, but The Croods left me flat.
Let me first address what I liked. The animation is beautiful. It really does take you to another world, or- well -our world circa one million years ago. I saw the film in 3D and although I’m not a huge proponent for this gimmick, the filmmakers incorporate it well. However, it’s no Life of Pi (if you haven’t seen Pi in 3D, DO IT), so I wouldn’t shell out the extra cash for it. But, to each his own.
The plotline is simple, but clever. During the dismantling of Pangaea, a family of cavemen runs into a modern man (Ryan Reynolds) – one who wears pants, eats daintily, and even “thinks”. The father (Nicolas Cage) feels threatened by the newcomer, who is particularly smitten with the daughter (Emma Stone), but must learn to co-exist as they make their way to safety. Imagine a Paleolithic blend of Father of the Bride and Road Trip, and you’ll have it. However, everything is a bit too much – the jokes, the schmaltz, even the cute animals (and I LOVE cute animals). The film screams “love me” but instead of heartwarming, I found it trite.
Chris Rock once joked that being a voice actor was the easiest job in Hollywood, but he clearly never counseled Nicolas Cage. Cage just doesn’t work. His voice is too soft for the rugged Grug, his acting too forced. Grug wasn’t sympathetic – more pathetic. Cage dropped the ball on this one. However, Emma Stone rocked it as Eep, the heroine with a refreshingly real body image (something Disney never managed). Girl’s biggest fan right here.
As I sat down in the theatre, I heard the guy behind me say “Dreamworks better succeed with this one. After the failure of Rise of the Guardians one more disaster could send them packing.” The Croods won’t save Dreamworks, but it will definitely keep them afloat as they pray for the next Madagascar.
For The Croods, I would pay $3 tops.