Unlike Rise of the Guardians, which I couldn't wait to see and bought on DVD the day it came out, I wasn't excited to see this movie when the previews appeared. I thought it was going to be a rework of the Land Before Time movie series from the 80s/90s. It looked as if they had traded in Little Foot and his make-shift family of dinosaur survivors for Cavemen. Their world was ending and they had to work together to survive ~ guess that's also the theme behind the Ice Age franchise. So why would I want to see yet another movie following the same formula?
Earlier this month while waiting for Jack the Giant Slayer a new preview for The Croods played and I was hooked. What was different you may wonder? Simply put ~ Belt. The preview introduced Guy's sidekick Belt and I was hooked. The preview also went into the characters a bit more and this now became a movie I'd go see. Not a must see but if nothing else was playing I'd see it.
The boys wound up going out of town to see the Yankees play which left Meg and I home. Now just to assure you I don't only watch kid movies Friday night we went Olympus Has Fallen which is phenomenal and you really really need to go see it. Having already gotten mani/pedis Thursday for Meg's birthday and the weather not allowing for any outdoor activities the movies were our choice. So Saturday with what seemed like everyone on the Island we went to see The Croods. (We got to see it in 3D at no extra charge as the 2D was filled)
The theatre was filled with families, teens on dates, and even older childless couples. As with any animated movie seeing it with children, small children is a must. I love when they laugh at the wrong moments or over the tiniest, silliest thing.
The Croods is another movie about surviving the changing of the earth. About different families coming together and relying on everyone's skills to survive. That is where the similarities end. What makes The Croods a stand out movie is three-fold.
1. No one will argue that animation, computer animation has continued to advance by leaps and bounds. More than once I had to remind myself that what I was looking at was created and not real forestry or other land images. Even the characters themselves look as if they are almost live dolls. If you don't want to take my word for it here's a review from The Geek regarding what DreamWorks did on this movie.
2. The characters. Unlike the other dinosaur based franchises the 6 characters in this movie feel developed as one would for a play. There's feeling of back story and genuineness that makes even the baby, Sandy, relatable. Of course much leeway has been taken with the character's caveman abilities and physique. With that in mind the creators remind us through subtle motions as in the way Grug hold items and Eep stands that these aren't fully developed humans.
3. The overall message: Families, the good, crazy and old are our center. Grug and Ugga are parents that not only support each other but that are strong (not just physically) with children that look to them for guidance and love, something that we don't often see coming from Hollywood.
This is a great family movie. There are no uncomfortable moments that you hope your 4 year old will forget or not repeat. Think of The Griswalds minus the language and crude humor. While there are a few evolution quirks such as whales on land and piranahs that fly which may irk some folks those are easily over looked.
If you have smaller children that could get upset know that despite a few moments where it looks like Grug may not make it he does. DW doesn't even allow those moments to linger without quickly cutting to him after each scene.
So that's The Croods. While we son't be singing their theme song 40 years from now, mainly because there isn't one, you may be hearing your kids mimicing Belt for weeks to come. I know I enjoyed hearing many kids singing on the way out:
DA DA DAAAAAHHHH