unny thing about advertising is that it's a necessary evil. On one hand, you need it desperately to tell people you exist, especially in a movie season that pumps almost 100 films out in three months, and on the other hand, it can make people think your movie sucks. The Croods
is an animated movie about cavemen starring Nicolas Cage...what about that would possibly make anyone want to see it? Add in shotty advertising that made me think this was another forgetable family cartoon that should've gone strait-to-video and you've got a problem. Well, I'm here to tell you that there's lots of reasons to see this and the advertising doesn't do it justice.
This was a collaborative directing effort from two guys. One is named Kirk De Micco who has done nothing but crap like Space Chimps and Racing Stripes, but the other is Chris Sanders who is a former Disney guy who directed the amazing How to Train Your Dragon and worked on The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Cleary, you can see the difference in pedigree. What transpires in The Croods are stark contrasts between who did what and the parts that don't work really don't work and the parts that do are great!
If you can look past Nicolas Cage, who sucks even when you don't see him, you have a great and talented cast around him. Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, 87-year-old Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein, ABC's Dancing with the Stars) and Clarke Duke (NBC's The Office, Hot Tub Time Machine) all star and all shine as very gifted voice talents. The script is written well enough so that all characters are comedic and the only one that is purely scenery is Catherine Keener's (Where the Wild Things Are, 40-Year-Old Virgin), who sadly is the mother and plays no important role whatsoever.
Most animated films are 3D just because it's easy to make them that way and ticket prices are much higher becaues of it, but Sanders proves he knows how to really utlize it with How to Train Your Dragon and dazzles us again with The Croods. The depth perception used in the 3D makes the plentiful action sequences well executed to the best of their ability and hightens the excitement. Judging the animation is not really something I'm expierenced enough to talk about but some areas seem rough while others seem way advanced.
The story of a father's compulsive need to protect his family and deal with his daugter falling in love with a boy seems downright...well...Stone Age and that's the downside of The Croods; there's nothing original. But if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? It's for kids. It's effective. It's fun and shockingly emotional (but maybe that's just because I'm new to this whole fatherhood thing). I know 3D is pricey and bringing the family can add up to the downpayment of a car, but The Croods is worth it for a night that everyone can enjoy.
The Croods (Rated PG)
Gavin Grade: A-