Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Inspirational but Forgettable
The idea of bending a life of a prehistoric family to the tune of a kids program is not unheard of. The Flintstones have been doing it for over fifty years, and it has proven successful. Of course, The Flintstones is ironically quite a bit outdated, so what better way to reintroduce the idea of a prehistoric family making subtle jokes on modern-day than to create a magical world of incredible CGI with characters you can grow to love? The Croods does just that, but is it really enough for an audience to love for years, or will it be lost forever in a pile of movies that can maybe produce a, “Oh yeah, I think I remember that…”?
Meet Eep (Emma Stone), the girl with an eye for curiosity and exploration. Her father (Nicolas Cage) has forced Eep and their family to abide by one simple rule in order to survive: Never not be afraid. They live day in and day out in a cave, only going out to hunt for food once in a while, but Eep doesn’t see this as a way to live, so one day, she ventures out, and runs into Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who tells her that the world is ending, so she and her family must follow him on a journey to ride the sun into Tomorrow. On their journey, they run into amazing settings and unspeakable creatures. Eeps father watches closely in frustration as Eep begins to fall in love with Guy.
In a way, kids movies can always be seen as a multivitamin of good messages that help keep a child’s morals clean and strong. So it is without surprise that The Croods has good, solid messages as well. Among the long list of messages, you can find the importance of families sticking together, love, facing fears, moving forward, light is good and darkness is bad, and the transformation of fearing change to believing change is good. This isn’t the only thing that is positive about the movie either, it also has stunning visuals. There is really some great animation and graphics. You believe in the characters despite their caricaturistic appearance. There is beautiful imagery not unlike an other-worldly fantasy (even though this clearly takes place on Earth). The main negatives arrive at the story.
The main characters have a goal, and they certainly run into obstacles, but the goal itself is based in absurdity. At the same time, it promotes the idea of hope and faith as a positive notion. It is more along the lines of a coming-of-age flick. All of their characters have to learn that there is a world outside of their zone of safety. So, a majority of the film just follows the characters around amongst beautiful imagery, seemingly for no real reason other than to show off the visuals.
It does all come together in the end for a heartwarming and inspirational conclusion that can leave both parent and child satisfied. People just won’t find this film memorable in the long run. It’s nice to check out once, maybe twice years later, but it is by no means an overly-memorable film…it’s just…nice. Just try to remember that it is not abundantly bad, it successfully relays meaningful messages, and it really does look fabulous at times. For some people, that may be enough, and it certainly would be enough to the target audience, which is clearly children.
The Croods came to theater on Mar. 22. Check it out before it leaves!