To escape the heat of the day, my aunt and I went to the mall. We hoped to catch a movie but found the selection wanting. We weren’t in the mood for Sarah and John Lloyd, so we turned to ‘The Croods’.
I didn’t see the trailer of this animated film; the poster suggested a reboot of ‘The Flintstones’ or a human version of ‘Ice Age’. My anticipation rose a few notches when I saw the director was one of the guys behind ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. So with little expectation (other than to enjoy some air conditioning), we entered the cinema. An hour and a half later, we emerged from the cinema with smiles on our faces. We were entertained.
Visually, there was really nothing to complain about. The scenery was lush–the jungle was an obvious nod to ‘Avatar’ while the hybrid fauna looked like plush toys in my mind already. The rendering of the many kinds of light (sun, moon, fire) against textures of hair and skin was fantastic.
However, in terms of story-telling, the film utilized quite a ‘primitive’ approach. The characters are stock and the narrative elements do not seem to meld together. Even the voices of the characters didn’t register as done by big film stars, except for Gran’s voice–I deduced it was Cloris Leachman after a few lines. (I mean I had to Google the voice talents of this film, and was quite surprised to learn that Nicholas Cage voiced the father. Wow, I thought, he hadn’t acted like that in a long time!) Fortunately, these shortcomings were easily upstaged by the brisk pacing, and the right combination of slapstick and pop culture-skewing humor. My favorite character: Belt.
Contrary to other’s opinions, I found the running gag of pesky mother-in-law very funny and entertaining. Maybe because I grew up watching ‘John & Marsha’, I’m not sure. Over-all, ‘The Croods’ is a funny and touching film that entertained me immensely, and for its young audience, it imparts a sweet message about the importance of family to one’s life, and the importance of embracing–not fearing change.