Written by / 3/22/2013 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , ,

THE CROODS

year: 2013 voices: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds rating: ***1/2
Grug is a caveman who successfully protects his family in a cave providing, when the sun goes down, shelter and bonafide safety from the dangerous elements outside. But he’s got a huge problem, and it’s not just the hungry wildcat lurking in the moonlit exterior. His curious teenage daughter wants to explore beyond the boundaries of “normal life.”

Thus begins our tale centering on a quirky clan of Neanderthals. The action begins as they strategically hunt for food, not an easy task. You’d think there would be a better (more natural) selection than a giant egg. That’s because the Croods exist in a barren landscape where opportunities haven’t opened up… but they’re about to. Boy are they ever.

After the teenage daughter Eep sees a strange glow outside the closed cave, she ventures into the night and meets a bitchin’ explorer dude named Guy, who’s discovered a thing called Fire. He also has a premonition, and anyone who saw ICE AGE 4: CONTINENTAL DRIFT will get major déjà vu: The land as they know it is about to break apart.

So when the initial destruction occurs, the Croods discover an inner-world so colorful and vibrant, Sam Raimi’s OZ seems like a plain paper sack in comparison. Within this creature-saturated jungle are even more dangerous elements, including a hovering flock of ravenous birds, man-eating plants, and a bigger, hungrier wildcat. But for Eep at least there’s cool stuff to discover. And we now have a destination: giant mountains in the distance where possible safety awaits.

Grug and family “capture” the progressively minded Guy, who knows how to hunt bigger game, make shoes and, unlike the cranky patriarch, always looks forward to something called Tomorrow. And eventually, as the gang treks toward their goal, encountering various bizarre hybrids that screech out of the woodwork, an impatient Guy asks The Croods if they know of any pace faster than “wander.” But for a movie that takes its time, allowing each obstacle to move the story along, “wandering” does this entertaining journey just fine.

The voices of Nicholas Cage and Ryan Reynolds, as Grug and Guy, eventually sound less like themselves; Cage even breaks from his breezy, shuffling tone to bring the Early Man grump-turned-hero to life. But it’s Emma Stone's Eep that really shines through, providing a flawed character with an important (and evolving) arc that will glue everything, and everyone, together.
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