Monday, June 10, 2013

Movie Review: The Croods

 The boy turned seven last Thursday, so I thought he and I could go to a movie, just the two of us, as a birthday treat. Unfortunately, there was very little playing appropriate for a seven-year-old.  (We need to keep it G-rated - not that he wouldn't love "Iron Man 3," but he's a little too prone to re-enacting the explosions and such.) The only first-run cartoon playing was "Epic," which, frankly, looked boring as hell. Luckily, "The Croods" was at the second-run theater.

  "The Croods," starring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone, is the story of a caveman family trying to survive their hostile environment. They meet Guy, a traveller who tells them the world is ending. After their cave is destroyed, they follow Guy on a quest for a new home, free of earthquakes, volcanoes and such.

 This is a beautifully animated movie. Their colorful world is full of surreal animals (land whales, carnivorous birds and plants, sabre tooth tigers, etc.) and visually stunning landscapes. The plot is familiar: teenage cave girl chafes at Dad's restrictive rules, falls for new guy, Dad dislikes new guy. Nick Cage as the Dad, Grug, is pretty funny in his attempts to keep his family safe by avoiding anything new. His mantra: Never not be afraid.

 The story is pretty much just Grug, teenage daughter Eep, and boyfriend Guy. The rest of the family have very little to do here. They reminded me of a caveman version of Family Guy: Not-too-bright Dad, Mom who tries to keep him in line, teenage girl, not-too-bright teenage brother, slightly vicious baby. And Cloris Leachman as Grug's mother-in-law, who was pretty funny and should have had more to do.

 This was a mildly entertaining movie, we both enjoyed it, but I'm glad we didn't have to pay full price. It's not a classic that's going to be watched over and over. But with little else kid-friendly until "Monsters U" opens in a couple of weeks, it was a decent way to spend an afternoon.

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