HOLLYWOOD—DreamWorks latest animation, “The Croods” goes to show that even in the prehistoric times, mischief and dysfunction was present in every family-at least the few that were still around.
The plot centers around a Nethandral caveman family that is the few packs to survive. The leader of the pack and father of the family Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage) is super protective of his family which includes wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), daughter Eep (Emma Stone), daughter Sandy (Randy Thom) and son Thunk (Clark Duke). But the real comic relief of the family, includes Grug’s hilarious and somewhat annoying mother-in-law Gran (voiced by Cloris Leachman).
Tired of the same hidden lifestyle secluded of the outside world and the adventures it holds, Eep explores outside her father’s boundaries. While exploring, Eep meets a homosapien cave boy named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who wows her with his ability to make fire. The two bond, but the sudden news of the effects of an earthquake force Eep and her family to lose their home and relocate.
It is the destruction of their home that forces the family to explore life outside, and become equally fascinated and terrified when encountering new creatures and forces that they never knew could possibly exist. The mysteriousness of the family’s adventures bring hilarity and some amazing special effects of what prehistoric times could've been like.
The underlying theme of the film is one that is no stranger in the animation department: family. Like previous films throughout the years such as “Finding Nemo,” “Tangled” and more recently- “Hotel Transylvania,” the concept includes a curious, and often times rebellious child that undermines a parent’s authority and want to find their own way.
This theme is a good lesson for kids to learn to obey their parents, but for the average moviegoer, it may seem very formulaic and somewhat predictable. It seems that the story is nothing new, and this is where the movie lacks memorability and originality. Yet the same formula is still enough to produce a great family film that brings in laughs to keep one entertained. Plus, an amazing line-up of different personalities in a voice ensemble, make the characters unique in their own way.
Predictable and all, the film is a marvelous adventure to take the kids to and a hilarious ride that even adults may like. The mother-in-law jokes should be enough to keep the average parent buckled in until the end.
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