Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2013. DreamWorks Animation. Story by John Cleese, Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders, Screenplay by Chris Sanders, Kirk De Micco. Produced by Kristine Belson, Jane Hartwell. Music by Alan Silvestri. Production Design by Christophe Lautrette. Film Editing by Darren T. Holmes. Academy Awards 2013. Golden Globe Awards 2013. North Carolina Film Critics Awards 2013. Washington Film Critics Awards 2013.
They’re the not-so-modern stone age family, determined to survive by staying safe in their dark caves away from all predators. The Croods haven’t figured out fire or weapons, so the food they eat is usually pilfered eggs, which is not much to support a family of six. Eldest daughter Eep (Emma Stone) is sick of being hemmed in by her father’s (Nicolas Cage) paranoid ways; surely human beings are not meant to live in caves, there must be a better life out there, which wish is fulfilled when a more advanced human being (Ryan Reynolds) crosses her path and they begin a minor romance. Geological disaster follows not long afterwards, prompting the entire troupe to follow their new friend across the prehistoric landscape in search of a better world. The spine upon which this one rests has been done to death by this point (a conservative world that needs to get with the times), but the execution here is superior to most. The characters are fun, the gags are actually funny, and the opportunities for visual splendor are indulged with great relish. Gorgeous locales, smooth direction and clever writing are probably why even the attempts to be somewhat accurate about prehistoric life jive comfortably with the intentionally anachronistic humour (and if you have a problem with any of the scientific detail, you need to have your head examined). It’s still one that will keep the kids more enrapt than the adults, but you won’t mind being the chaperon.