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“The Croods” – Early Review (SO-SO POSITIVE)

March 9, 2013

Screen shot 2013-03-09 at 1.50.45 PMDreamWorks makes its first cinematic debut with their new partnering company, 20th Century Fox. They kick it all off with a film that is familiar territory for Fox; a prehistoric comedy! “The Croods”. Although, unlike the “Ice Age” movies, we get the perspective of the cave people of that world, and the world they live is far more exotic and alien-like than ever!

Meet the Croods, when their cave is destroyed, the Crood family must embark on a journey  into strange and spectacular territory in search of a new home. As if patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage) didn’t already have enough to handle, it goes from bad to worse when they encounter an imaginative nomad named Guy (Ryan Reynolds.) With Guy’s help the Croods conquer their fear of the outside world and discover that they have exactly what it takes to survive – each other.

The creators of “Madagascar” do their best to stretch their creative legs here, and it shows in some cases. When I first saw the preview for “The Croods” the animation style didn’t grab my attention, in fact it looked hokey to me. Having said that, seeing it on the big screen, in 3D no less, it looks different. There’s this strange hyperrealism to it’s style that I think plays in it’s favor. The characters are conceptualized quite well, the physical comedy is embraced to the max which does garner laughs.

The problem this movie faces is that’s just a run of the mill, generic, dysfunctional family comedy/road movie. The story isn’t really anything new, the daughter character, Eep (Emma Stone) doesn’t like to listen to her father and defies him every chance she gets, leading to all kinds of trouble. We’ve seen this before, many times, in better movies, movies done by Disney for crying out loud! The ending however, was taking a dark turn that I wasn’t expecting, and when it does happen I felt this sort of relief, ‘Wow, they’re doing something different. Something real, something dramatic, it’s refreshing.’ But, of course this is a family film and the bleak is not in their vocab.

It’s entertaining enough for kids, but I think this is one of those Dreamworks movies that the adults may find boring. It has it’s moments, but not enough to make it anything worth wild to see in regular cinemas. If I’m going to recommend this movie in any fashion, I will recommend you see it in 3D, the 3D is wonderful here, much like “Oz The Great and Poweful”. Oh, and Cage naturally embraces more of his crazy/goofy/wild/batshit crazy side, even in a cartoon.

GRADE: B-

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