Technical assessment: 4
Moral Assessment: 3.5
CINEMA rating: GP
MTRCB rating: GP
The Croods are a prehistoric cave-dwelling family composed of parents Grug (voice by Nicholas Cage) and Ugga (voice by Catherine Keener), teen daughter Eep (voice by Emma Stone), Eep’s little brother Thunk (voice by Clarke Duke), baby sister Sandy (voice by Randy Thom) grandmother Gran (voice by Cloris Leachman). Their only rule to live by is: Don’t try anything new. Anything new is bad—to be feared, and so dad Grug’s perennial word of caution is “Never not be afraid” because “fear keeps us alive.” When an earthquake occurs and their world of rock begins to crumble, the Croods are forced to desert their cave. They wander into a strange new world, and meet Guy (voice of Ryan Reynolds), a resourceful orphan of Eep’s age.
In vivid 3D, The Croods has been the most natural, wholesome, and memorable family film that has happened since Up, offering entertainment with a heart and an uplifting break from revenge themes, gory horror and terror in our cinemas as well as the news. It strikes a happy medium between outright fantasy (out-of-this-world creatures) and next-door reality (Neanderthal family management so like ours?). But of course, nothing is impossible with animation, and in The Croods it is put to very effective use in highlighting emotional responses supposedly of humans clad in animal skins but which might as well be our own in the 21st century.
Obviously caught up in the Croods’ adventure, viewers of all ages on the day CINEMA watched The Croods couldn’t stop reacting to it—cheering, laughing, shrieking, clucking with glee—which only goes to prove its tremendous appeal to a general audience. And why not? The Croods are like anyone’s family that has its share of fights (and even jabs at mothers-in-law) but is united in moments that challenge their survival. And there are no villains to speak of here; the only baddies to confront are those within oneself—inflexibility and resistance to change, unwillingness to accept new ideas, the habit of wanting to be always in control, etc. The Croods shows that even in animation, catharsis is possible, as each character evolves in the family’s journey into a new way of living.